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78 Holland America Australia & New Zealand Cruise Reviews

This itinerary has been a bucket list cruise for a number of years. By the time we were finally able to book it, it had become an EXC cruise. I am so pleased with the lectures given by the EXC naturalists. What an amazing group! ... Read More
This itinerary has been a bucket list cruise for a number of years. By the time we were finally able to book it, it had become an EXC cruise. I am so pleased with the lectures given by the EXC naturalists. What an amazing group! Chris Cook, the leader, is not only knowledgeable but entertaining. Erin, the crocodile specialist, is absolutely amazing! I was impressed with every one of them. Dr. Anita Heiss joined the cruise in its final days to add her expertise as well. I chose Holland America over other lines who do the circumnavigation for the itinerary which included Komodo Island and Tasmania. These two were the highlights for me. We saw the dragons and went to Gunns Plain Cave in Tasmania to see the elusive glowworms that I have wanted to see for so long. Other highlights were the ship's excursions to Billabong Sanctuary out of Townsville, trike ride in Broome, Wildlife (at marvelous Healesville) and Wineries out of Melbourne and private excursions to Litchfield, Yanchep and Pinnacles National Parks. I highly recommend any excursion which includes Healesville. It is a division of the Victoria Zoo which Chris Cook is affiliated with. We saw so much there. It is not to be missed as the Victoria Zoo does things the right way. We enjoyed trivia where we met wonderful partners from around the world. Food exceeded expectations and service was excellent. Our steward was exemplary. Our cabin was spacious with lots of storage. Only disappointments were missing Exmouth and Kangaroo Island, both tender ports. Seas were extremely rough and Captain Ryan Whittaker made the right decision not to attempt tendering. I regret not booking one of the zodiac tours. Those I heard from really enjoyed them. By the time I had an opening in our schedule and slots available, the weather had turned rough and we had colds which made us not game for it. The Maasdam is one of Holland America's older ships along with its sister ship the Veendam. I love both of them. The Maasdam is clean and well maintained. I would not hesitate to sail again on either of these. Their size and design is just what I like in a ship. The entertainment was better than expected. Initially EXE cruises did not have traditional entertainment. We enjoyed the shows most nights. Our favorites were IDA (very talented sopranos from the West End), the Jersey Tenors, and the OZ Boys. All three performed multiple shows which we enjoyed. I highly recommend joining your roll call group for any cruise. We enjoyed our three tours arranged through our active roll call. I arranged one to Litchfield National Park out of Darwin and enjoyed trips to Yanchep/Pinnacles National Parks out of Freemantle and a wine tour to to the Borossa Valley out of Adelaide planned by others. We enjoyed meeting others from roll call and the meet and greets (formal and informal) were well done by leaders from our roll call. We were even able to arrange shared cabs from airport to hotel and hotel to ship on roll call. We made our own hotel reservation at a reasonably priced hotel I found through others' recommendations here on CC. Had our ship embarked at the Quay where we disembarked, we could have walked to the ship. Overall I am glad we took this cruise and would consider EXE itineraries to other locations. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I have just returned from a Vanuatu, New Caledonia 14 day cruise from Sydney returning back to Sydney cruise, and it was fabulous. What fantastic service, what wonderful delicious food served every day! I could not find a thing to complain ... Read More
I have just returned from a Vanuatu, New Caledonia 14 day cruise from Sydney returning back to Sydney cruise, and it was fabulous. What fantastic service, what wonderful delicious food served every day! I could not find a thing to complain about, sure the ship is a little worse for wear, and it can definitely do with a renovation, which I believe is going to happen at the end of 2019, or so I was told, but it is kept spotlessly clean at all times. And nothing is too much trouble for any crew.I loved the Dine-In free of charge cabin service to all cabins, 24 hours a day. I had the best mushroom vegetable omelette with goats cheese on top every morning, it came out hot and delicious. The toast often wasn't but that didn't worry me! Every meal I had, except for one, where the turkey schnitzel was a little dry, but it was replaced immediately. The ship does seem to cater for a more mature clientele, but once again that didn't bother me. I could choose from at least a thousand movies for my cabin DVD player free of charge, you order, a steward delivers and picks it up again, fantastic! Fresh fruit for my basket supplied daily without being asked. Beautiful great quality toiletries suppled as well. As I am not as mobile as I used to be, I cannot say what the actual Islands were like, as I did not get off, but fellow passengers were all impressed on their return. The only complaint I have are the 'compulsory gratuities' that are charged at US$14.50 every day, but in the long run they did deserve this tip and I am accepting of it! It used to be that you could remove it on going to the Service Desk, but I was told that now you must fill in a form to give the reason why you don't wish to pay it! But that is not the ship's fault but HAL! All in all I just loved the ship and can't wait to rebook another one with them Thank you Noordam! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise mainly due to the Australian itinerary & to see Kangaroo Island. We had low expectations of the condition of the Noordam given the reviews I had read were not very complimentary about the condition of the ship. ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly due to the Australian itinerary & to see Kangaroo Island. We had low expectations of the condition of the Noordam given the reviews I had read were not very complimentary about the condition of the ship. We were pleasantly surprised that it really wasn’t as bad as some of the reviews I had read had indicated. Yes the ship is due for refurbishment but the staff seem to go to enormous lengths to try and keep everything as pristine as possible. Our embarkation time was 1pm at White Bay Terminal. We had to wait in the queue for about 1.5 hours as it seemed a lot of other people decided to ignore their dedicated time and come earlier. We went to the mandatory safety muster but for some odd reason our passes didn’t register as having attended and we kept on receiving letters in our cabin telling us we had to do it until we went to reception to get it sorted out. Leaving Sydney harbour on a sunny afternoon is nothing short of spectacular even though we live in Sydney it is an amazing experience. We had an aft facing balcony cabin 8145 which was just under the Lido deck. Walking to and from the back of the ship was never an issue for us. The room was reasonably spacious with plenty of cupboard space. The only issue was the chair scraping noise coming from the Lido deck about 5:30am every morning. The noise lasted about 20 minutes. We would definitely book an aft cabin again as it’s wonderful watching the wake while sitting on the balcony. I would make sure it’s not under the Lido in future. We found the main dining room food ok. We went to Canaletto three times as the food is amazing along with the service and for an extra USD15 it is definitely worth it. We also went to the Pinnacle Grill twice although we preferred Canaletto. We loved the refined style of service on the ship. It was really good to not have pushy photographers like some other cruise lines and while there are lovely art works to view there were no dodgy art auctions either. Kangaroo Island is very beautiful. We did the day tour through the ship which went to Admirals Arch, Remarkable rocks and Hansen Bay Koala Park. While we thought the tour was extremely expensive through the ship we wanted the piece of mind as there is quite a lot of road travel involved. Lunch was included in the tour and there was loads of sandwiches available so no one would have gone hungry as there were many spare after lunch. There is no iPhone reception on the island and I was relieved we didn’t do our own tour as we would have had no way of contacting anyone if something went wrong. This was our first time on a HAL ship and I would definitely go on one again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Spent a few days in Auckland before boarding the Noordam. Embarkation takes awhile to get so many people onboard. Spent about an hour waiting in line. Once you get through the line, it is a quick process for getting your cruise card ... Read More
Spent a few days in Auckland before boarding the Noordam. Embarkation takes awhile to get so many people onboard. Spent about an hour waiting in line. Once you get through the line, it is a quick process for getting your cruise card and going through security. The ship is remarkably clean, and well maintained. Not a large ship, so it does not take long to walk from one end of the ship to the other. The crew is amazingly friendly and helpful. Incredible how so many crew can remember your name just after a few days. Really enjoyed the food and service in the Main Dining Room. Never felt rushed. Waiters were wonderful. Lido buffet for breakfast and lunch were always very crowded. Takes awhile to find a seat, but the food and service was also good. The cabin stewards kept the cabin clean and refreshed multiple times during the day. The production singers and dancers get and A for effort. Not the glitzy and highly produced productions you find on larger ships, but still fun entertainment. Comedians, vocalist, and instrumentalists filled the other nights shows, and were all very good. Piano bar entertainer was quite talented, and was fun to pop into at anytime in the evening. Great ports with beautiful scenery. A couple of tender ports that took some time waiting in line, but were handled quite efficiently. All in all a great cruise with a wonderful crew. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
This 14 day cruise with 4 days pre-cruise and 3 days post cruise was amazing. We were a little inimidated with the long, long flight(20 hrs) but we survived and everything went well with connections etc. The ship, the entertainment, ... Read More
This 14 day cruise with 4 days pre-cruise and 3 days post cruise was amazing. We were a little inimidated with the long, long flight(20 hrs) but we survived and everything went well with connections etc. The ship, the entertainment, crew, cabin, food, service excellent. Embarkation and Disembarkation very smooth. This is the longest cruise we've done, previously did 12 days and 3 days at sea was just the right amount of time to relax as we were quite busy touring the 9 ports. We previously did 7 cruises,not all on the same cruise line, as we tend to choose the itinerary that suits us and not the cruise line. So far we have been very happy with every one. Through experience, we have found that tours taken off ship(from the port) are more affordable. As we travel with friends, it's easy for 4 people to share a cab or hire a tour guide. The only complaint I would have is the internet on the ship. I find it very expensive and very sporadic. I also liked being able to purchase wine for our cabin when in port visiting wineries, and not being charged corkage. Also, we were never pressured into purchasing drinks while sitting by the pool or in any of the lounges. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This was the third HAL cruise for me and second for my wife so we knew what to expect. We were travelling with our three young children (1,4 and 6) plus my parents and 11 year old niece so spread across verandah cabins 10004, 10008 and ... Read More
This was the third HAL cruise for me and second for my wife so we knew what to expect. We were travelling with our three young children (1,4 and 6) plus my parents and 11 year old niece so spread across verandah cabins 10004, 10008 and 10010 on the Observation Deck tucked behind the Crows Nest. Embarkation was smooth however the obliging staff who allowed our baby to sleep through the ID photo was offset by the security staff who insisted she be removed from her baby carrier to go through security which resulted in screaming child. We only started cruising with HAL as they were the only line that would allow a baby under 12 months to cruise to New Zealand. Despite their reputation for focussing on senior travellers we found the staff literally fawned on our children and assisted with emergency nappies and nappy bags etc. We had ordered the bubbly package to our cabin and nibbles and these were waiting for us. Our cabins had an incredible view although the only surprise was that the balcony dividers could not be opened as on other cruises we have taken which meant we couldn't connect as planned. But this was a minor inconvenience. Overall we had a fantastic cruise. I've seen a few reviews saying that this ship is old and run-down but nothing could be further from the truth. With three young children running riot we got to see a lot of the ship and despite looking for signs of wear and tear we saw none. Dined in main dinging room several times but generally stuck to LIDO as more relaxing with the family. Dined in the Pinnacle 3 times (4 if you include the special Le Cirque evening) and the staff were only too willing to assist with time and table requests. Ronald the wine waiter was our pick of the Pinnacle staff. We did every single wine tasting offered as well as the whisky , port and champagne tastings. All were excellent although with a few only a handful turned up which was a shame as they were well worth the extra charge. Free Room Service was great and having breakfast in your room felt very indulgent. For entertainment we stuck mostly to the Piano bar. The best of the main shows were the fantastic Éver After show which was a take on fairy tales and Glenn Starr who did a Michael Buble show and a 50s and 60s song night. Highlight for us was that we paid for the Renewal of Vows package online prior to embarking as our 15th Anniversary fell whilst onboard. It was around $160 but worth every sent. Donna from the event team was exceptional and planned everything and there were personal invites for our family members. The package included a cake, nibbles, certificate presented by the captain and dinner in the Pinnacle plus photos. Great value for anyone considering it. We expected a token appearance by Captain Peter Bos but he stayed for an hour chatting to us after the ceremony. There were rose petals on the floor and a towel swan surprise in our room later. The staff in Club HAL (kids club) were great and looked after the three that could attend. Our kids were honestly looking forward to it each time and couldn't wait to go. Talking to another parent of an under 3 year old it is annoying that they can't use the swimming pool (we received a formal written warning in our room on embarkation). I can understand why for the health reasons but try explaining that to a young child who can't join their siblings in the pool). We had a bad experience in the LIDO twice but the way in which floor supervisor AR handled it was impressive. HAL advertises that Pizza and Pasta is open till midnight. So after a great night out early in the cruise we turned up at 1150 one night and 1140 the next hoping for a late snack. Everything was closed both times. The second time it happened we passed AR as we were leaving and told him. He insisted we must be wrong and ran back to check. He went white and was aghast when he realised that they were closed. We told him it was fine and we would get room service. The next day he separately tracked down myself and my wife and apologised with two glasses of complimentary wine. He explained it was due to a new staff member on their first shifts. We did the Chou Chou train in Noumea with HAL (well worth it) and a snorkelling trip in a glass bottomed boat at Port Vila. Both were around $60 each and well worth it. We loved Dravuni Island and Isle of Pines as the beaches were good. WIFI still expensive ($100 for 250mins) but I loved being able to check your account and the days program on your phone/ipad regardless of whether you had internet. However, we didn't get an account under our door like they used to which was strange. Also, for those that have heard rumours that HAL no longer does afternoon tea I can advise that the Noordam did it every day in the Ocean Bar (sometimes hard to get a table). There was however no Royal Dutch High tea. Overall HAL did not disappoint and we'll certainly cruise with them again Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We have always wanted to go to Australia/ New Zealand. It did not disappoint. The New Zealand part was very busy with many different stops, all interesting. One of my favourites was Tauranga, where we rented a car and went to Hell's ... Read More
We have always wanted to go to Australia/ New Zealand. It did not disappoint. The New Zealand part was very busy with many different stops, all interesting. One of my favourites was Tauranga, where we rented a car and went to Hell's Gate Mud and hot spring pools. I was just getting over a cold and loved the soak in the warm mud and then the hot springs. The Dunedin Awesome Tours Royal Albatross and Otago Penninsula was really fun. Seeing the baby seals and the nesting sites of the Albatross was awesome. We rode a 8 wheel drive vehicle which we enjoyed. Also the best beach was at Ile des Pinsin New Caledonia. The waiters on board were so great. They always looked so happy to see you and always welcomed you. They learned our names and likes early on and found out where we lived and what it was like in our country and told us abou their life. Sue and Diti in the Lido. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
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
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
We are avid cruisers averaging 2-3 cruises per year -- we especially like long repositioning cruises, and have cruised NCL, Celebrity and Carnival. This was our first Holland America cruise and in all categories HAL and the Maasdam ... Read More
We are avid cruisers averaging 2-3 cruises per year -- we especially like long repositioning cruises, and have cruised NCL, Celebrity and Carnival. This was our first Holland America cruise and in all categories HAL and the Maasdam outrank all other cruise lines and ships we've sailed so far. Our inside stateroom was configured in such a way that the two of us could be comfortable without stumbling over each other. The storage was the best we've every had -- we could put away 52 days of clothing, snorkeling equipment, and supplies without having clutter every where. The service provided by the staff was AMAZING. Not only were they highly competent, but they were all so, so friendly -- it was difficult saying good-bye at the end of the cruise. The food was excellent. Usually after a couple of weeks we get tired of "cruise food", but we enjoyed every meal on the Maasdam right up to that last breakfast on disembarkation day. The Maasdam also had nice "little touches" like a Blu Ray player in every room and an extensive DVD borrowing library. We also liked the many comfortable places to sit and read or enjoy a quiet conversation. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We booked a 14-day Australia and New Zealand cruise on the Noordam about 6 weeks before departure because of the incredible deal being offered. We had never sailed with Holland America before, and we were not disappointed. The Cruise ... Read More
We booked a 14-day Australia and New Zealand cruise on the Noordam about 6 weeks before departure because of the incredible deal being offered. We had never sailed with Holland America before, and we were not disappointed. The Cruise Critic overview of this line is pretty accurate. It is a different experience from Carnival, NCL or RCL, as the entertainment options are more limited and the ship is quieter overall (don't expect a live band at the pool). We felt the service and food were better than what we experienced on or last RCL cruise. Since we prefer a quieter ship their education offerings, we would definitely cruise with them again. We are 'value' cruisers and normally take an inside cabin. The one we were assigned was a bit odd (larger side-to-side than deep) which was not typical for this ship. It was a bit harder to navigate than other cabins we have had, but was comfortable, had adequate storage, and was better maintained than some we have had. We enjoyed every port-of-call in both New Zealand and Australia, especially Tauranga/Rotorua, in NZ. We booked one excursion through Holland (Eden, Australia because of limited alternatives), but all others on our own. No significant issues with any of them Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
NOORDAM was a beautiful ship and we enjoyed our cruise tremendously! It was our second venture onto Holland America Line and as we did with our transpacific cruise in 2014 we would highly recommend HAL. This trip was to New Zealand one ... Read More
NOORDAM was a beautiful ship and we enjoyed our cruise tremendously! It was our second venture onto Holland America Line and as we did with our transpacific cruise in 2014 we would highly recommend HAL. This trip was to New Zealand one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The people are friendly and the scenery spectacular. The service aboard could not be faulted, the cabin stewards were attentive and had a special treat each night with a towel animal creation which must have taken extra time and effort. The food and wine selections were amazing and we never dined anywhere except in the main dining room. We decided on an Admiral's selection of wines from all over the world something that we would not normally do (never drink much) so this was a real treat. It was a little too cold for swimming for us but some hardy soles braved the elements and looked to be enjoying themselves in the heated pool. I think there was something for everyone on board and as a senior person it was pleasant to be without too many youngsters on board. Thanks Holland America for keeping up the traditions of the sea we will definitely be back!! My partner and I are keen birders and we were not disappointed in New Zealand, we choose HAL short excursions that reflected our interest and we had the opportunity to add to our lifelist. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
At our friends' urging for us to try cruising, and not wanting a daily docking, we went all out with this 25 day, 10 port cruise. It took two days to get the gist of the routine, but by day three, we were hooked. HAL definitely met ... Read More
At our friends' urging for us to try cruising, and not wanting a daily docking, we went all out with this 25 day, 10 port cruise. It took two days to get the gist of the routine, but by day three, we were hooked. HAL definitely met our expectations and pleasantly so. We knew the average age would be senior and often less mobile, but that was ok. This was our first retirement getaway and we were under no time pressure. The cabin was prefect #6047. Midway between the main decks of #3 (dining and entertainment) and #9 (cafe, spa/gym, sun decks and pools). Not only did we get into the routine of using the gym and spa everyday, but we rarely used the elevators (only 6x's I remember). Cabin was as per our expectations. Lots of storage, a nice balcony, and a very comfortable bed as were the pillows. The cabin stewards, Rudi & Lee, were excellent and accommodating. The TV screen was small (14"+/-) and could have been larger as the 4 movies shown each day were well selected. Not that you couldn't choose from a large selections from the CD catalogue (free!). This is not to say we watched a lot of TV, but for what we did watch, the TV could have been larger. Food offerings were very good. The Lido cafeteria has nearly everything you would want for breakfast lunch and dinner. The more formal (mostly Smart Casual and once weekly Formal) Vista dining room was very good for dinner. Portions were smartly presented and were small in size, but a simple request for a larger portion when ordering was always pleasantly accepted. And second helpings are not an issue. Basically I saw this as a way to keep food waste to a minimum. We didn't try either of the "specialty" restaurants. We couldn't justify the added surcharge. But I did hear from many others that they very much like those offerings. We did take advantage of room service breakfast nearly everyday. Very effective way of starting each day. Overall we were very happy with this first cruise. Entertainment was very entertaining, and different every night over 25 nights. A very professionally run theatre program. We took full advance of the health club facilities and paid the surcharge for use of the hydro-thermal pool, steam rooms and thermal-beds (Love these!!!). For the 25 day cruise, these were well worth the surcharge. The administration and execution of activities, events and embarkation/disembarkation at the start, end and each port was well organized. If we have any criticism of the cruise, it was the background music and the age of the musical entertainment offerings. Yes, the average age of the guests were closer to 70+/-, but even a 70yr old was listening and concerting to Rock and Roll in the 60's and 70's. I am sure some entertainment playing music from the early Rolling Stone's, the Beatle's, CSNY I am confident would have been appreciated. I am only 55, but if I am on a ship when I'm 70, they better be playing music from "the Lost 80's". Hope this helps the next passenger. Ahoy!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This is our 6th cruise with HAL and as always a wonderful experience. The quality of service on this cruise line is next to none. Stateroom attendants are in a class all by themselves always smiling, service oriented, quick and efficient. ... Read More
This is our 6th cruise with HAL and as always a wonderful experience. The quality of service on this cruise line is next to none. Stateroom attendants are in a class all by themselves always smiling, service oriented, quick and efficient. Many thanks to our attendants Suni and Kumar. Neptune lounge concierges Roxy and Kristin were a pleasure to travel with. Always helpful, efficient and professional. Stateroom big with tons of storage space, all areas of the ship clean and in good condition. I had read previous reviews that made it sound as though the ship was in need of upgrading but we did not find this. Yes it's true that some other cruise lines may have bigger and more outlandish decor but we like the style of HAL as you always feel you're on a ship rather than on a floating resort. Food was excellent as always but occasionally we found the breakfast fare in the dining rooms to be warm rather than hot (Pinnacle and MDR) - never ate at the Lido). The Cellar Master evening was OUTSTANDING and I would highly recommend this event even more than the Cirque night. No opinion on entertainment as we attended few but went to Karaoke once only as the equipment failed and this was therefore cancelled for the rest of the cruise. We did however have a better option which was to sing with the Halcats one evening and that was wonderful, even better than Karaoke. Hopefully they could do this activity on more sailings. All ports of call were excellent although we skipped Hobart and Milford Sound due to bad sea conditions. As a compensation we had 2 days in Melbourne instead of one. Many thanks to Captain Draper for making difficult decisions but keeping passengers safe and comfortable. Embarkation: somewhat painful in Auckland due to inadequate terminal. We were kept waiting in an u heated hangar on a somewhat chilly morning. Disembarkation: fast and efficient but would have appreciated if HAL had warned us that the Sydney terminal was under construction and we could not remain inside. We were immediately forced outside to wait for transport. Thankfully it was a hot sunny day. Excursion organization: my one irritant was that on this ship if you were on a ship excursion, you got your excursion sticker given as your excursion was called and as you exited the show lounge. In our 5 previous cruises, stickers were given as you entered so you had the option to disembark and wait outside. If you were unlucky enough to have a departure at 8:45 am and the ship was docked at 7:30 am you had to wait onboard the whole time. Passengers doing non-ship excursions had a better deal than those paying the premium price. Passengers with priority disembarkation were equally penalized.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
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