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267 Holland America Australia & New Zealand Cruise Reviews

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
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
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
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
Sail Date January 2017
Xmas and New Year at sea. What more could you want. You want to take that special bottle along with you, and if you are flying in from interstate then don't share your baggage. Your baggage is going to be confiscated because ... Read More
Xmas and New Year at sea. What more could you want. You want to take that special bottle along with you, and if you are flying in from interstate then don't share your baggage. Your baggage is going to be confiscated because you have bought more than your allocated share of alcohol on board and you are not going to get your bags until you go and get them. The lines of people waiting for customer service are horrendous so be prepared. We finally got our bags at 11PM. The ship is probably in need of an upgrade, however the cabins are very comfortable and you could not ask for better service from the cabin stewards, but once again things fall apart. If you want room service the wait could be 45 minutes for a coffee There is no where to get one close to your room. Breakfast room service was on time whenever you wanted it and great if you wanted to just sit out on the balcony without having to try and hustle to get a table at the Lido Buffet This did not deter the positives. Dining In the Main dining area was exceptional so if you want a good memory then book this in when you first book. The service in this area was also incredible so I am not being over critical Entertainment. B.B.King.Bar. WOW. What a great show. New Years Eve. Truly a night to remember. It could not have been bettered. Well maybe the fireworks at the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The night was something that Holland America can be proud of. Ports. I think everyone tells you about the Shore excursions. We along with everyone else took our obligatory photos. Fiji and the environs are known for their people and the pristine waters. They lived up to both. The people are wonderful. I am glad we have them as neighbors. The waters abound with beauty and you can't not like it Then all of a sudden you are on your way home and it sinks in that the holiday is almost over. Yes it has been good. It could have been great . What can I compare it to?. I can only compare it to some of the hotels of Asia or Europe, after all this is a big floating hotel. Did it live up to some of them?. I have stayed in some places that Holland America could take some lessons from in customer service. The service desk on board was abysmal. The Hanoi Elegance Group and even the Bich Duyen in Ho Chi Minh are pillars of high standards of service that this ship could learn from. I am home now. I open my bag of duty free alcohol. Only to find. No it could not happen. Yep they have given me the wrong one. Several emails over the next few weeks have gone unanswered by Holland America. Did that make me feel like a small fish in a big pond?, Do they even care? Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Had a great time and met some great people on the boat, unfortunately one band for the whole entire 28 day cruise, they were an excellent band and they rocked new years like you wouldn't believe, but for the whole cruise, come on!! ... Read More
Had a great time and met some great people on the boat, unfortunately one band for the whole entire 28 day cruise, they were an excellent band and they rocked new years like you wouldn't believe, but for the whole cruise, come on!! and only two comedian shows for the 28 day cruise. I was expecting a lot more as I had been on other cruise ships before. Spoke to one of the staff and they said that it was hard to get entertainers at that time of the year, I think that it was lack of planning. Food was outstanding and I am now five kilos heavier. Trying to get a drink up on the back deck was a bit hard sometimes, staff was run off their feet. Italian restaurant was outstanding and Pinnacles was good also. The main restaurant got busy at times and there was a bit of a wait, the food was excellent and the staff were friendly Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Christmas Cruise. Loved the ambiance of the ship - it was warm and cozy. The cabin was very clean, the steward excellent. The food was great! We had dinner in the dinning room every night and I thoroughly enjoyed it every night. The ... Read More
Christmas Cruise. Loved the ambiance of the ship - it was warm and cozy. The cabin was very clean, the steward excellent. The food was great! We had dinner in the dinning room every night and I thoroughly enjoyed it every night. The staff was wonderful. The Captain was a very compassionate man. He spoke on Christmas Eve and their was not a dry eye in the audience. Very considerate of his guests and his staff. We always feel comfortable on HAL as the pace is peaceful and the guests are much like ourselves - looking for a beautiful, relaxing cruise with excellent food and service. We were treated very well and HAL is our favorite cruise line. Our favorite things to do are when they have piano players and acoustic guitar player. Watch for the Sip & Savor - you can mingle with others and enjoy a $4.00 glass of wine with a tasty snack usually from the Pinnacle Grill. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
The reason we choose this cruise, well just to be away from the family for a change over the Christmas & New Year and we were not disappointed The ship & crew were fantastic, the food again was really, really great with plenty ... Read More
The reason we choose this cruise, well just to be away from the family for a change over the Christmas & New Year and we were not disappointed The ship & crew were fantastic, the food again was really, really great with plenty to choose from The ship was decked out in Christmas decorations & New years eve was a blast, with great entertainment on the Lido pool deck Fiji was not to our liking due to the locals being a little over the top. Mystery Island was a blessing however. Maybe we should have done some shore excursions as some of the other passengers did and were very pleased with their decision. Also met up with some great passengers and had a very good time. We had a great choice of food with goose for Christmas eve & the Pinnacle grill was fantastic with great food & service. To sum it up, we loved the cruise, the staff, the service and the people. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
My wife had never been to Australia or New Zealand, so we chose the Maasdam for our 8th cruise so we could catch some of the highlights of both countries easily. Embarkation was quick and smooth. The ship is showing it's age, ... Read More
My wife had never been to Australia or New Zealand, so we chose the Maasdam for our 8th cruise so we could catch some of the highlights of both countries easily. Embarkation was quick and smooth. The ship is showing it's age, but it seemed to be kept in good condition. The staff in the Club Hal kids club kept my 4 year old daughter well entertained. The various excursion we went on were pretty good, not the best value for money, and sometimes a bit disorganised. We used the free shuttle buses a number of times and found the service very good. Our dining experience was going well until day 10 of the cruise when my wife found a cockroach type insect cooked with her vegetables in her salmon dinner (This was in the main dining room, deck 8, table 19, 5:30 sitting). We called the waiter over, he was just as horrified as us. We then complained to the manager and the head chef, but most of their "apology" consisted of an explanation of how many insects there are in Austrailia and New Zealand at this time of year. My wife told them that she wanted to have a look at the kitchens herself so that could regain her confidence in Holland Americas food preparation standards, they scoffed at the notion, but assured us though that our complaint would go all the way to head office. Head office didn't seem to care as we heard nothing back. We then took our complaint to the front-desk (it was the first they heard about the cockroach find), explaining that we had lost all confidence in the food, the front desk said they would look into the issue further and get back to us. They did not get back to us. Feeling ignored, we cancelled out daily gratuities, citing the cockroach, still nobody cared. Next we cancelled our next cruise with Holland America, and stopped making ship-board purchases. Overall, the "foreign object in food" find, as they called it was disturbing and disappointing, but it was Holland Americas handling of the incident that ruined the cruise for us. We were fobbed off at every turn and no effort was made to restore our confidence in their food preparation standards. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Convienent at the time of booking. Very scruffy ship in some parts and and the tenders were and their handling was not up to,standard. There is no way they could handle 150 pax in an emergency. (I have handled similar or bigger sized ... Read More
Convienent at the time of booking. Very scruffy ship in some parts and and the tenders were and their handling was not up to,standard. There is no way they could handle 150 pax in an emergency. (I have handled similar or bigger sized vessels for many years.) On the positive side the staff were great and food plentiful but lacked quality and some dishes, like fish and meat was over cooked or under cooked. The ports visited were good but stays too short. Six hours in Wellington a very short time. It would be best to leave out some ports to give more time in others. The fish was terrible, best left off the menu. Embarkation and disembarkation was a breeze, as was customs procedures. Bar prices were,too high and payment for coffee etc with meals charged for was over the top, best included in the price. This is our fifth cruise, first with H/A and probably the last with them. Rod P. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose this cruize because of the amazing locations packed into the Christmas Holiday. The service and food were exactly what we have come to expect on Holland America and we were not disappointed. Through the ports and shore ... Read More
We chose this cruize because of the amazing locations packed into the Christmas Holiday. The service and food were exactly what we have come to expect on Holland America and we were not disappointed. Through the ports and shore excursions, plus watching from the ship, I saw over 120 new species of birds. (I am a hard core birdwatcher and we chose wildlife tours that would enable me to identify the new birds). The wildlife opportunities plus natural beauty made this itinerary feel like getting Alaska and Hawaii plus marsupials all in one. Really astounding nature that should be on everyone's bucket list. A few aspects of the itinerary made this stand out against other similar itineraries--one was the scenic cruising of Fijordland National Park. Another was a day of scenic cruising before the final port of Auckland. This allowed the ship to circle spectacular White Island twice (once for the port side and once for the starboard side. The day we visited there were dramatic plumes of smoke and sulfurous gasses coming out. The sun shown on the yellow-sulfur deposits. The power of geology was in full force. Later that day, while we sat at dinner we notice a large number of giant petrels feeding in a group. My teen, well trained from so much wildlife watching said "there must be something feeding below." Just then a pod of about 7 orcas started breaching. On a medium-sized ship, it was still our own private moment with the sea. The only negative we had was the "Loft" teen program on this ship. There were about 15 teens onboard during Christmas holidays, as we had predicted. Unfortunately, there were enough younger children that all the club HAL space was used for them. My daughter really missed having a hangout where she could reliably find her friends. Instead, there was a daily schedule that they had to follow being shuttled around to different locations--Hudson Room, Lido, etc. The teens were not impressed with being told to follow a schedule. So we would be leary of booking the Maasdam again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose this cruise as we had sailed on Holland America before and wanted to be away at Christmas. We were not disappointed. Embarkation was trouble free with quick access to the ship. We sailed this time in a forward cabin 704 which ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had sailed on Holland America before and wanted to be away at Christmas. We were not disappointed. Embarkation was trouble free with quick access to the ship. We sailed this time in a forward cabin 704 which is an accessible cabin. Cabin was spacious but found being forward was noisier that being mid ship or stern with the sound of the ropes and anchor noises. During rough weather the waves tended to go up into the anchor area and caused this to bang against the boat. This did only happen on two occasions during the trip. We ate most of our meals in the Rotterdam room and out attendants, Hendra and Juli could not be faulted, they were friendly, professional and helpful. They did everything they possibly could to please. Noel, our sommelier was friendly, knowledgeable and was always at the ready to supply our drinks. The staff in the Crows Nest and Mix Bar were exceptional. Overall the crew seemed happy and engaging. Although the entertainment is more low key than in some of the more family orientated ships like RCA, Princess or Celebrity, we found the entertainment more than enough, after all this is a place to relax as well as enjoy oneself. The trivia times were great fun, with A/Cruise Director Joep being a great compere. There was plenty to do on board if you wanted to, I had great intentions of checking out the cooking demonstrations in the culinary arts centre, but never got there. There is a well stocked library which has many board, card games and relaxing cafe and lounge in which to play them as well as trivia, movies, shows, art auctions, a casino, dance classes. I enjoyed the size of the ship, it was the friendliest ship I have ever been on, this goes for fellow passengers and crew. One of the reasons for choosing Holland America was because there was no flow rider, ice skating rink, no needless bells and whistles and therefore not too many children. Those that were on board enjoyed the Hal's Kids Club and were on the whole well behaved and well mannered. The ports were great and most of them had shuttle buses (including accessible ones) to take you to information centres in the city centres. Also many volunteers were on hand to assist. Only port I had a problem with was Tauranga due to my mobility but local port authority kindly drove us to the port entrance. Overall, I think more should be done about facilities at ports but this is not a Holland America issue. Having travelled on RCA earlier in the year and being on board with a large amount of people having to wait in line was a problem. There is also a lack of room in the public areas due to adding in paying restaurants and making these areas smaller. This is not the case on Holland America, no waiting for lifts, plenty of room in the public areas if there was an activity happening. Smaller ships have their advantages. Debarkation went smoothly. Overall we had a wonderful relaxing and enjoyable holiday and would step back on board in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I cruised on the Prinsendam last year which is a similar class as the Maasdam. The Maasdam was in New Zealand and Australia. The same entertainers were on board this ship. Wish I'd known. There was a difference though. The good ... Read More
I cruised on the Prinsendam last year which is a similar class as the Maasdam. The Maasdam was in New Zealand and Australia. The same entertainers were on board this ship. Wish I'd known. There was a difference though. The good performers were gone and only the mediocre ones remained. Like the Prinsendam, we stopped at a lot of ports. Some were unusual in that I didn't understand the draw. Could be something about stopping often that was saleable, maybe they were cheaper docking charges. The food was very good and so was the service. The inside room was very nice. ---------- Please note: I flew Air Canada and China Eastern to Auckland New Zealand. The price for the tickets were a total of $1050. A very good price. Only problem was I was denied boarding on Air Canada because I was transiting through China following the 24 hour visa free transit rule. Air Canada sells tickets but doesn't train staff to honor these. You are just told you lost all your money at the gate and you have to scramble to get last minute tickets. So... leave some extra time before your cruise or you'll have to catch up with it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This cruise was our 6th overall and third with Holland. We did our first 3 cruises with Princess but they were full of noisy and unruly children whose parents did not even try to control them. The staff and crew of our Princess cruises did ... Read More
This cruise was our 6th overall and third with Holland. We did our first 3 cruises with Princess but they were full of noisy and unruly children whose parents did not even try to control them. The staff and crew of our Princess cruises did not seem to care that many of the children were running amuck with no parental supervision. We found that Holland caters to a more mature clientele and that suits us just fine. I believe that there were only 5 or 6 children on the Maasdam out of 1138 passengers. The service was outstanding and the port stops were more than satisfying. I particularly want to give a shout out to the management and crew of the Lido dining room as well as the people who ran room service. We like to hike and found several very nice trails at Mauganui, Picton and Akaroa. These trails were all within walking distance of the port. I have seen some not so good reviews of the Maasdam but all I can say is that these folks would probably complain if their heads were in a vise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
First time with HAL and the last. What a boring, tired ship. The lighting is so dim everywhere and there is just no atmosphere at all! I travel mostly with Royal and Celebrity and there is no comparison. I found the ship cold, and it ... Read More
First time with HAL and the last. What a boring, tired ship. The lighting is so dim everywhere and there is just no atmosphere at all! I travel mostly with Royal and Celebrity and there is no comparison. I found the ship cold, and it didn't help that the weather wasn't good and that I wasn't well throughout the whole cruise. I also found the staff very aloof, like nothing I've experienced before. The whole ship needs to be revamped. Its just shabby and lack luster. I couldn't find a central point such as a main deck area or promenade - the ship is so disjointed and really odd. I've been on 22 cruises so I am not a newbie, to tell you the truth, I couldn't wait to get off the ship. It was the worst cruise experience I've ever had, and it was expensive as I pay double being a solo traveler. Perhaps their newer ships have more going for them. There were some nice touches. I liked the bathtub in the room, and I liked the PG tips. Just thinking back to this cruise makes me feel depressed so I really didn't want to write a review, but after about 15 email requests I decided to go ahead. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Travelling with Qantas from ATL, I flew to LAX then on to SYD for arrival same day as sailing. This was a 29 day collector's voyage travelling to Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, other So Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand. I ... Read More
Travelling with Qantas from ATL, I flew to LAX then on to SYD for arrival same day as sailing. This was a 29 day collector's voyage travelling to Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, other So Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand. I was a solo cruiser taking my longest voyage to date and the furthest from home. I had booked the transfer to the ship. Upon arrival, I did not find the HAL representative and after travelling for 22 hours, just decided that I wasn't going to sweat it and took a taxi. I had exchanged money prior to leaving and had AUD on hand to pay the $60 taxi ride. Upon arrival at the pier, I was checked in and at my cabin within 15 minutes. Having sailed with HAL before, I knew there would be a pleasant staff, but this group far exceeded my expectations for helpfulness and willingness to assist a passenger. I was in a Neptune Suite and experienced nothing but pleasure to help from the Concierge JR and Saldi. The room stewards, Made and Yuba were aware of what I needed before I even knew. I've sailed extensively and this has been the best staff to date. The ship was nice. I chose this sailing for the itinerary and was more interested in where we were going than how I was getting there. My Neptune suite was very roomy, especially for one person with plenty of space for 29 days of "girl stuff", after all there were 6 gala nights. The main dining room was for the most part had great service. There were a few nights that the service was on the slow side, but having good dining companions made the time seem less. If I wanted to make a show, I just went earlier. Room service needs improvement - no attention to detail paid when setting up the trays. Wrong items, items omitted, wrong quantities, etc. It happened more times than should have. There are only so many times one can speak with the maître d and see no improvement. When calling in room dining to pick up the trays, there was never a response after being told they would send someone. I called the concierge desk to call housekeeping. They happily came to pick up. Food overall was good. Being there for basically two sailings did cause some overlap with menus, but it was a chance to try something different. Entertainment was really good. The singers and dancers were great. They had a Q and A period and were also found to be very passionate about what they do and willingness to help out outside of the stage. The Piano Man Mike was good. He was entertaining and had a way to pull the audience together for good laughs and not so good singing from the groupies. The BB King band was really good. I just felt kind of bad that on several occasions I witnessed they had opened up with only a handful of people in the lounge. They still performed like it was a packed house. I heard from many other passengers that they felt the music was just too loud to go back a second time. The mentalist was fun to watch. I still don't know how they do that! I was reluctant to go to a destination speech, as I thought it would be a shopping guide. No, it was very informative on the history, culture etc. I'm actually glad I went and went to several. I gambled and lost my allotted $20. Never went after that and walking through, it appeared to be used by a handful of people each night. Activities were limited with not a lot to do on sea days. It was a nice relaxing time. Disembarkation was smooth. It was well organized and most all guests went when and where they should have which made for an easy departure from the ship. Overall, it was a great cruise. The ports were fantastic. I am glad that I experienced the So Sea Islands, but not sure if I would recommend them to others. Australia/New Zealand I would tell anyone one that can go, should! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
we wanted to see Australia and New Zealand and also have some cruise days. We read a review The Noordam is a germ machine. It is true. My wife got a cold the firs day of the cruise and the last day. I got a flu right in the middle of ... Read More
we wanted to see Australia and New Zealand and also have some cruise days. We read a review The Noordam is a germ machine. It is true. My wife got a cold the firs day of the cruise and the last day. I got a flu right in the middle of the trip. I think that the Noordam tries to minimize this and warns folks to use the hand sanitizer, etc. But there were a number of ill guests. The staff was very nice and helpful. Very friendly with a sincere desire to made our trip pleasant. We saw some lovely beaches. New Zealand was extremely cold and had a hard time going to see it. My wife had a cold and the weather was cold and rainy so we stayed on the ship and let her rest. We liked the entertainment, except for the magician. We made some friends on board. A couple in their late 80's. Husband had a slight hearing problem He really wanted to see the magic show and sit up front. The magician asked me to stand up and pick a card out of his deck. i pointed to elderly husband and said choose him. He really loved magic. Magician addressed husband (I dont want to share his name without his consent) and told him to stand up and pick a card out of the magician's deck. he stood up. But said "What did you say, I didnt hear you" Magician snidely said "I dont like you. You can't hear. Please sit down". I thought that this was rude and uncalled for. There was another guest, a lady who was an english as a second language speaker. He asked her to stand and asked a question and she didnt understand him at first and he rudely told her to sit down. How do I report this to HAL? One of his "tricks" was to pound a bottle with a hammer. He pounded it with a hammer and said" I hate you dad, I hate you dad, i dont want to be a lawyer. I want to be an entertainer" I think he should think about entering the practice of law. His personality is suited for it. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This was our sixth cruise and the 4th line we've been on. We liked the ability to visit Australia and New Zealand in one trip. Most of the ports were very interesting, with the exception of Picton, New Zealand. The ship is older ... Read More
This was our sixth cruise and the 4th line we've been on. We liked the ability to visit Australia and New Zealand in one trip. Most of the ports were very interesting, with the exception of Picton, New Zealand. The ship is older and has low ceilings with often dark carpet, ceilings or walls which makes public spaces seem small. We were usually back at the ship for dinner and ate in the dining room. The food was mixed, sometimes very good and sometimes not good at all. This is the only line we've been on with fixed seating. When they issue your ID card it includes your table. If we had chosen anytime dining I'm sure this wouldn't be an issue, but we like having the same wait staff who know our preferences. We were on our anniversary so not having a table with some quiet and privacy was a big negative. All the staff on the ship were very friendly and the room stewards and wait staff were excellent. The only frustration was taking eight days to properly fix our toilet. The in room entertainment is from the dark ages. We had a balcony room and the TV was small and in a corner so not convenient to watch, the remote didn't have numbers so you had to scroll slowly to get from one channel to the next, there had few non-news stations to choose from, reception was good to poor and the TV guide can't be advanced so if it 10 pm when you turn on the TV and the guide is at 6 am you have to wait a couple of minutes before it gets to 10 pm. There is a DVD player so you can go to the front desk a get a DVD but I don't think any are movies released within the past 10 years. We typically do shore excursions because the cruise line excursions tend to be less organized, slower getting started and are over priced. We used Zealander and Canterbury Leisure Tours and we very pleased with both. We did an excursion with the ship in Napier, Hawke's Bay Express which was fine. Melbourne is probably the most confusing port. Go to the terminal at Pier Station and by Tram or Bus tickets. The Tram is a bit faster but you have to walk a block to get to the stop, so if the weather is bad, take the bus. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This is my review of the Holland America MS Noordam cruise from Auckland New Zealand to Sydney Australia departing on November 8, 2016. My review is intended to be honest and give some advice to future cruise passengers, I will try and ... Read More
This is my review of the Holland America MS Noordam cruise from Auckland New Zealand to Sydney Australia departing on November 8, 2016. My review is intended to be honest and give some advice to future cruise passengers, I will try and keep realistic in my comments. Firstly if you Google details about the Noordam like we did there are internet posts saying the Noordam was refitted in 2015, this is not true the refit was postponed until 2018 so Noordam is showing it’s age in relation to 2016 styles, fashion and technology. We bought this cruise for two reasons, first it is a bucket list worthy cruise if we had a bucket list. My Wife and I have never been to Australia and New Zealand and it’s about time we did, secondly this was a Holland America Top 10 offer, the price was a steal for a 14 day cruise in a Verandah state room, we paid Canadian $1600 each, just too good to pass up. A tip here Verandah state rooms on Noordam do not get the little extra touches that they do on a Vista class Holland America ship, so no slippers, flowers, binoculars and bigger balcony (six feet). The price of our Verandah stateroom was a guarantee room from the top 10 sale, so we were pleasantly surprised to be allocated a cabin in the midships on deck 5, the balconies on deck 5 are shorter around four feet deep but with a glass railing instead of the solid metal we had technically bought, still adequate but a little snug. Our stateroom was tired, I was disappointed to see the opening door to the balcony had been scratched extensively into “artwork”, the scratches were into the window film they use. That’s the worst, everything else was OK, no thread bare furniture just old tired like an older style Days Inn Motel on a popular Interstate. The room Stewards make it great, they try incredibly hard to give you a special vacation, I had pre ordered a bottle of Scotch so everyday day and evening my ice bucket was full of fresh ice without asking. Everything was cleaned as well as could be expected, we tried to help our Stewards by putting the room service card in the door as we left and if we saw them saying good morning and that we were out to breakfast, so we always came back to a freshly made up room. This is our third cruise this year with Holland America, we have been on the Veendam, Volendam and now the Noordam, when lining up at the port if you are a one or two star mariner, make sure you ask for mariner preference for boarding. If you expect to attend the Mariners lunch you need to be lining up at 11.00 to 11.30 am on the dockside. Sailing out of Auckland, New Zealand was great the city skyline is nice to see, there were local beer and wine from New Zealand available to buy on the rear deck and the weather was great, a good start to the cruise. My suitcase was held up for a long time as I had a bottle of wine in it, you are meant to have the wine you carry on in your carry on luggage. Another learning point, each cruise this year we have been on has had a different set of rules for boarding. The items we purchased before boarding the ship were in our room when we arrived, some scotch and beer. We found out as were cruising around New Zealand and Australia that liquor is heavily taxed in the local stores so buying the liquor from Holland America before hand turned out to be the cheapest option. We found the Lido restaurant to be overcrowded and the wait staff to be indifferent to us, we did notice if you were Asian or had pretty young women in your party then the service to those clients was excellent. The Lido was good for quick casual food service and they had 90% of the items in the main restaurant. What we really enjoyed this trip and had not used before was the Dive In fast food counter at the pool area, the burgers and fries were the best and the choices very good, we had them for lunches and were never disappointed and the service from ordering was quick, they use a beeper pager to let you know when your order is ready. We mostly booked day trips privately as we found the HAL prices at the top end and the day trip itineraries short in comparison. For instance at Picton the HAL wine tour went to two maybe three wineries and was priced in U.S. dollars, whereas our private tour went in a 12 seater mini bus to 5 smaller wineries that were not busy and had a wine tour host extremely knowledgeable about the area and wineries and priced in NZ$ so we won on the exchange rate also. We found this tour through the Cruise Critic Role Call for our cruise in their forums from other passengers. The entertainment on the ship was good, we went to the evening show mostly to the Noordam dancers and put on a very good show with singing and dancing and it lasted just long enough, a nice finish to the day after dinner. We never made it to the BB King show as it was too late. We don’t expect a Vegas quality show on a cruise ship. Most of the presentations for the ports of call we went to made by David the Port guide did an excellent presentation in the show lounge and primer for what we could see ashore and refreshingly he was not trying to sell us tours but just educated us about the town or area we would visit. He used a lot of his own photographs to show us major landmarks. I didn’t go to the Windows 10 seminars but did pass by the room before and during the classes and they were standing room only and very popular, we saw people lining up at least thirty minutes before the room opened to get a seat with a computer. I use Mac computers so had no interest in the Windows 10 or surface products and software. We did buy some coffee at the Explorers cafe mostly Latte or Cappuccino and got a few cakes from there, the coffee was good and not that expensive compared to buying ashore in both New Zealand and Australia. Cruising through the sounds, the crew opened the forward deck area that is normally off limits to passengers, so we could get a unobstructed forward view, they also on this day laid on the Dutch pea soup which was thick and hot on a very chilly overcast day on this forward open air deck. If you buy the Navigators wine package and see that they have a Sauvignon Blanc as a choice for white wine and bearing in mind that we are cruising in New Zealand where the best SB comes from and the name of this wine is a New Zealand award wining winery, you are not getting this wine instead you get a Californian Sauvignon Blanc of the same name! That was our only big argument of the trip and a disappointment but the Cellar Manager did substitute another New Zealand SB for us in the end for which we were grateful. This is what we did find on the Noordam that the staff were prepared to try and make things right if they could. The main dining room experience for us was faultless, our theory especially on a ship with 1900 passengers is to go for the first sitting when the crew are still fresh and keen, our ticket was for open dining and we went at 5.30 pm and requested a table for two, we got one just where we wanted, the waiter and his assistant were extremely attentive also our wine waiter fussed over us each night. So after the first night on the way out of the dining room we always stop by the Maitre D who records your attendance at the front of the restaurant and ask very nicely if we could have the same table, same time the next night they nearly always agree and then that becomes our table for the cruise at dinner time and the servers get to know us well and things go extremely smoothly. Room service, every morning we had either breakfast or coffee juice and pastries delivered around 6.30 to 7.00 am. We would have breakfast if we would be arriving in port for the morning or going on a shore excursion and a full fry up breakfast is the same in your room as the main dining room. A tip if you like coffee - the menu has a tick for coffee if you tick it you get a smaller carafe, so tick the box and write next to it “large carafe please”, then the coffee you get is twice as big, if just one of you takes cream, order two creams as the cream container is quite small. I used to joke to my wife when we were ordering breakfast on the room service menu at night to hang outside our room, “have you ordered the large Giraffe”. We highly recommend a balcony on this cruise as there is a lot to see from your room, especially as we were entering some ports very early, nothing like standing on your balcony in your dressing gown drinking hot coffee watching the arrival. We also stayed on our balcony for the third sound we cruised in, Milford and didn’t have to fight for space to photograph from. The increase in some prices isn’t very nice especially on an older ship, happy hour now is $2.00 for the second drink instead of $1.00, the beer, wine and liquor prices went up in July this year. All speciality restaurants went up in price, but we still went to Le Cirque at the Pinnacle Grill and to be honest it was worth the price. So for the price we paid the cruise was well worth it, we met some great fellow passengers had fun and saw a destination we might never had got to, was it perfect , no but close to it. The ship needs a refit it is outdated the stateroom TV’s are antiques, the picture and sound bad but it was value for the money we paid. The staff worked hard for all passengers and made your requests possible if they could. A shout out to our stateroom stewards Han and Yogi, our main dining room steward Arnest C. and assistant steward Temy, Cellar Manager Miguel and our wine waiter Eric. At the last Gala dinner we did get surf and turf (lobster), I asked Arnest if my wife could keep a copy of the menu and he said yes but took it away and later returned it with a very nice personal message to us, that typified the level of service we received. I could complain at the Tasman sea for being rough as we crossed from New Zealand to Tasmania or for being disembarked in Sydney at an out of the way port but it was no big deal really. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We have previously cruised 4 times with P&O from Southampton,though we would prefer a Departure port in the North, but we had wanted to cruise New Zealand in particular to celebrate a number of personal landmarks and the itinerary for ... Read More
We have previously cruised 4 times with P&O from Southampton,though we would prefer a Departure port in the North, but we had wanted to cruise New Zealand in particular to celebrate a number of personal landmarks and the itinerary for our cruise met our wishes. Our cabin which was a signature suite on deck 6 was very good and whilst our stewards,there were 2 of them working as a team,maintained the room well we did feel at times they were keen to get us out of the room so they could finish their work especially in the evening when we didn't go to dinner until after 8 but not much after. We ate downstairs in the main restaurant, partly because our first encounter with the lido deck restaurant was chaotic and even more so at breakfast,when you couldn't necessarily get your full cooked breakfast from one station, but mainly because the service in the formal restaurant was very good. The restaurant reception staff and waiters were very friendly and most welcoming.The food was good rather than excellent though if you like your vegetables especially greens then don't hold your breath and nor would I recommend bothering with the afternoon tea which compared to P&O was a big disappointment. Our ports of call were interesting throughout our trip though the weather was not always so kind.We had prebooked two exercusions,both related to our like of the Hobbitt and Lord of the Rings but the price,over £700 for just two of us seemed very expensive,the fall in sterling to the dollar didn't help ,but even so it was still costly and put us off booking others though we did really enjoy both trips.The fact the sun shone both days helped.We made our own way at the other ports but bad weather at Wellington and Picton and to a lesser degree Dunedin meant we were restricted in what we managed to see outdoors though in Wellington we did spend an excellent few hours at the Te Papa Museum We didn't make full use of the evening entertainment partly because our itinerary was for port after port for the first 6 days and we didn't want to stay up late but also because we weren't particularly excited by what was on offer.What we did see was OK but no more tthan that except where we treated to a one off performance of the didgeridoo which was fun as well as entertaining. Whilst the initial cruise costs was reasonable the add ons of the gratuities 27US dollars per day and the 15% service charge on drinks seemed excessive when the latter was not cheap to start with. One gripe was that we were scheduled to go to Burnie then Melbourne but this was changed.Although we were informed a few days before leaving the Uk we had ,and we know of others it affected ,arranged to meet people,in our case relatives in Melbourne on the Saturday.Due to the change we were only able to meet up with our cousin but not her husband.Whilst the reason given though only after we had been on board a few days was that there were insufficient immigration personnel at a Burnie to process all passengers into Australia I would have thought this would have been known much earlier and to be honest at the time the cruise details were first put together.The irony was there were not that many in Melbourne to be honest! Did we enjoy our cruise.Yes.would we use HAL and the Noordam again.Yes but only in the right circumstances as overall we would still prefer P&O if in a Europe especially a boat like the Arcadia which is similar in design and layout to the Noordam but we feel has more character. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I chose this cruise due to pricing, but after getting the feeling of being nickel and dimed at every turn, is it all worth it. The potable water was so distasteful from the tap you had to buy water. At 4.25 US a bottle -you have to be ... Read More
I chose this cruise due to pricing, but after getting the feeling of being nickel and dimed at every turn, is it all worth it. The potable water was so distasteful from the tap you had to buy water. At 4.25 US a bottle -you have to be kidding. These small things that in the big picture would be of minimal cost would make all the difference Even soft drinks were charged for. Coffee was stewed no matter what time you went for a meal, Main dining room was nice, but the buffet became boring after a few days Staff levels are low and the buffet is really SELF SERVICE all you would need was the passengers to take the plate to the waiter station and HAL could reduce staffing levels more. Entertainment: what happened to a production show, all we had was solo comedians and a singer or two. Wonderful to see Patrick McMahon from Western Australian get a gig. BUT no production numbers or show. Where is the Razzmatazz ?? Happy Hour: 4pm you have to be joking Alcohol pricing: DONT buy online it was cheaper on board and when purchasing a wine package check the bottle price against the package price. Buying a three package was more expensive than individually. WHY ??? Gym and Spa: As a health professional, I had to walk out of a lecture due to a lack of evidence based practice that was being offered in the talk. What was being said was scientifically non factual and the personal opinion of the facility. BEWARE Finally I made a letter of complaint to management BUT they failed to respond before my disembarkation, I suppose that is "you're gone here comes another mug ", but this mug is like a dog with a bone. Holland America I am not going away.! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We chose this particular cruise because of the itinerary in Australia and New Zealand. This was my second trip on Holland America, the first being to Bermuda and I was hoping for a better experience. First for the positives: the cabin ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise because of the itinerary in Australia and New Zealand. This was my second trip on Holland America, the first being to Bermuda and I was hoping for a better experience. First for the positives: the cabin stewards and dinning staff, inclusive of the restaurants and Lido deck, were all very accommodating and attentive to our needs. The cabin, a suite, was very comfortable and well maintained. The ports visited were interesting and a fairly good variety of excursions were offered. Now for the Negatives: There was a definite lack of organization for the excursions and the information provided for the ports of call was not properly vetted. In Melbourne we chose to go ashore on our own. We were told there was a tram that does a city loop and we would be able to get off at different points of interest. We specifically asked if the trams were accessible to a motorized scooter and we were assured that they were. Well......not all are and specifically those that loop the city are not. Unfortunately because of this misinformation our trip to Melbourne consisted of waiting at tram stops to get back to the ship and not being able to see any of the sights (so much for my dream vacation) In Akaroa we chose the Nature Cruise. We took the tender assure and according to the tickets the meeting place for the cruise was the "tender pier". Well we were sent back and forth from one end of the pier to the other before we were finally told that the meeting place was in the middle of the pier. My husband, as well as a number of other guest with disabilities, found it very difficult to get around. The entertainment left a lot to be desired. There were not enough activities during sea days and port days, especially since this was not a warm weather cruise and spend hours at the pool was not optimal. Many of the activities were bunched closed together making it necessary to opt out of some. We originally had a set diner time (asked for a table of 6) but we switched to open seating because we were put at tables that were often empty....... Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
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