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36 Holland America Australia & New Zealand Cruise Reviews

I am a 5 star Mariner and have more than 20 cruises on Holland America This cruise was the pits and our last on Hal.There were Minimal activities or lectures on board .The standard of the food was dismal compare to the cruise I did on the ... Read More
I am a 5 star Mariner and have more than 20 cruises on Holland America This cruise was the pits and our last on Hal.There were Minimal activities or lectures on board .The standard of the food was dismal compare to the cruise I did on the Noordam three years ago which I rated 10 -this Cruise I would rate a 1.The standard of the entertainment was dismal except for the on-board Singers and dancers. Our room stewards were fantastic as was our dining steward but in the dining room instead 2 we only had one waiter and the wait time between courses as result was our hour and a half .As a result we ate mailing in the lido .The overall experience was terrible We hardly ever saw the cruise director,there were no competitions organised. There were no barbecues on board New Year’s Eve was dismal.The new photographic policy whereby one pays $19.90 purely to get a photographic image on one’s phone money grabbing.The laundry policy has suddenly changed for the Neptune suites with no laundry allowed on the last day.I will never again cruise on Holland America. I was lied to at the on-board shopping watch store where I was quoted $256 for so-called 70% reduced price on the watch which was advertised at Macy’s at $202 .For the price for Neptune suite I would much rather travel on crystal line or Cunard. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We we chose this trip because the dates fit perfectly. the price seemed justfiedbut then on bord, the cheapest wine 9 $ the cocktail 10$ always +15% Service. The The wine in the glas was manageable and the alcohol in the Cocktails barely ... Read More
We we chose this trip because the dates fit perfectly. the price seemed justfiedbut then on bord, the cheapest wine 9 $ the cocktail 10$ always +15% Service. The The wine in the glas was manageable and the alcohol in the Cocktails barely noticeable. None of the tours offered by HAL was acceptable. For a Train ride in Port Chambers charges HAL 390 $, when booking direktly in the station, the same trip was 130 NZD. The dinner in the main restaurant was boring and the portions were manageable. After a short time, we found, that the quality in the buffet restaurant was excellent, and we had the chance to create our dinner by ourselves. Compared to Azamara Cruises the main restaurant was a disappointment. Excellent was the Pinnacle Grill. Really,really good on board of the noordam are the staffs. Everyone was friendly and nice. always trying to make the trip as pleasant as possible. The size of the cabin was ok, the balcony furniture old and histotic. The bathroom was ok, but it is impossible to have a bathtube there. Passengers with an average age of over 60 years and many mit over 100 kilos weight, are not able to take a shower due to the high entry. My wife and I will not have again a cruise with HAL. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We received an email that boarding would be delayed at the start due to illnesses on the previous cruise. Only a couple of hours so no big deal and we wanted a clean ship. For the first 48 hours the LIDO market food service was limited ... Read More
We received an email that boarding would be delayed at the start due to illnesses on the previous cruise. Only a couple of hours so no big deal and we wanted a clean ship. For the first 48 hours the LIDO market food service was limited to being served by crew and no self service. We have been through this on other cruises so we know the drill. The lines were incredible and everything was locked down. No Salt/Pepper. To get your meal you stand in line for tea or coffee. Stand in another long line for a salad. Stand in another long line for dessert. By the time you stand in all the lines the table are full. We thought for 48 hours we could survive. NOPE. After about 2-3 days the captain said the illnesses were getting better but would continue the lock down on meals for another 24-36 hours. NOPE. It lasted for all 14 days. No apology or updates. As with previous Holland America cruises we look forward to the taco bar at the end of the day of tours. NOPE.. Closed on all 14 days due the lock down. For Breakfast I like eggs benedict. Stand in line for that. Would like a sticky bun. Stand in another line for that. Would like a glass of cranberry juice. Stand in another line for that. Would like a cup of coffee. Stand in another line for that. Don't dare ask for salt or pepper for your eggs. NOPE. Every meal was a chore. We did eat at the dining room a few times and it was a little better there. But we prefer the flexible dining. I am a 3 star..almost 4 star with Holland America but I was so turned off by this cruise we will take a year or two off from them. We understand safety and the need for controlling diseases. But this was handled poorly. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Cabin is smaller than any we have occupied on 18 prior HAL cruises (with the possibe exception of when we sailed on the MS Prinsendam) Pros: Centrallylocated amid ship. Easy access to Dining Room and Atrium area. Obstruction of view ... Read More
Cabin is smaller than any we have occupied on 18 prior HAL cruises (with the possibe exception of when we sailed on the MS Prinsendam) Pros: Centrallylocated amid ship. Easy access to Dining Room and Atrium area. Obstruction of view only about 35%. Friendly, efficient cabin stweards Yusuf & Nicko. Cons: Immediately below main gallery--constant noise (thudding, scraping of heavy objects, banging, etc. most of the night well into the wee hours of the morning). Minimal options for "mini-bar"--just sodas & water--no refrigerator. (Disadvantage for 4 & 5 star Mariners) Air condtioning inadequate to comfortably cool the cabin. Corridor outside the cabin is also noticebly warmer than most other interior public spaces on the vessel. Only a single electrical outlet in the area of the small desk. Outletr in bathroomis not capable of receiving polarized (let alone grounded) plugs. No USB receivers. Fortunately, cabin stewards will provide a power strip if you request one. Your mileage may vary, Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I used to sail HAL all the time.... I will not anymore Many long term cruisers defend her to the hilt despite reality. Dont listen to them.....its not good Went on this cruise to see WW2 history....it was an Exec-Cruise , meaning ... Read More
I used to sail HAL all the time.... I will not anymore Many long term cruisers defend her to the hilt despite reality. Dont listen to them.....its not good Went on this cruise to see WW2 history....it was an Exec-Cruise , meaning that there would be lots of enrichment.... A lot of veterans both Australian and US signed on. We were 2/3rds of the 1200 passengers about 800. Well here is what happened. 1. about 10 days into the 30 day cruise HAL either fired the lecturer or he quit leaving us with no history. 2. Some passengers volunteered to substitute for free.... but were severely restricted by HAL on what they could say or do....... everything had to be 'Political correct based on Seattle very left wing anti military/us personal attitude. 3. This political correct attitude prevailed... several times we stopped at major sites and Vets wanted to hold a small memorial on the ships aft, We were told no way we dont want to offend anyone.... It was disgusting Final on the last day they did a pathetic mini memorial in the the theater...... too little too late Many times we Vets had to gather in secrecy to say a prayer and honor the fallen... I was enraged and disgusted.... 4 with the departure of the historian... hal brought on some lame natural history guy and a touch-e-feely sociologist...giving a limp wristed take on the countries....Pathetic That amigos...is the EXEC cruise your likely to get.... a canned, waterdown, political correct bunch of crud. The ship boarding: Pick up from airport was outstanding.... and boarding swift and easy...excellent Cabin :deck 5 was a ocean view..... great bed, great bathroom, great stewards The ship: wonderful condition, decor and layout nothing wrong Cruise Director: a joke was more interested in getting off in Sydney than being there. Captain: a political correct jerk who wanted Seattle to tell him what to do every day... Entertainment: Bring some CD's its pretty sad Food: Lido..... golden corral at sea... Good Chinese, Breakfasts good Powdered eggs unless you get the omlet guy to give you real ones. Super wait staff... Breakfast the only reasonable chance to get anything nice. Main dining room: Once was enough....like a being in the Jewish Catskill resorts Pinnacle: was not dumb enough to try Poor quality, presentation, service, atmosphere..sad place Dive in: Not that bad.... best make a taco salad Burgers very very greasy Bars: waterdown drinks marginal happy hour Summary: several days I did not even eat at all...... a first of a cruise. menus were torture After 28 days I was Glad to get off... In truth this ship was the only one that could take me to the special spots like Iwo Jima, Saipan, Guadelcanal, Iron Bottom sound They had me...no other option.... Thats about it.... a boat ride and your on your own.. Worst of all HAL did not care that they rooked hundreds of vets into thinking this would be special history tour.... it was special alright... special disappointing....I wanted so much to like it... but HAL would not let me. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Because of the ports of call around the Pacific and previous cruises with HAL had been quite good. Embarkation at Brisbane was fine. Our Neptune suite felt like the same as previous on the other HAL cruise, very comfortable and ... Read More
Because of the ports of call around the Pacific and previous cruises with HAL had been quite good. Embarkation at Brisbane was fine. Our Neptune suite felt like the same as previous on the other HAL cruise, very comfortable and immaculately clean. How ever, the joy seemed to stop there! It appeared that the staffing levels had been reduced and things just took that little longer for serviceand attention. Prices have certainly increased and being in US$ for an Australian NZ Pacific cruise was a bit of a pocket hit when the service charge was then added. As we're the tours. This resulted in many of the passengers taking local tours upon going ashore. Including several US passengers. I will blame ourselves for not realising that it was an exploratory cruise with lectures mainly for entertainment. The result was a very dull and boring onboard cruise. At least during the day there could have been some life around the pool area. Nothing! People sat around bored looking at each other, looking at each other. If it wasn't so sad, it could have been funny. Then there's the food!! Oh dear!! The food was the worst I've had on the past 23 years of cruising. I am sure they constitute left overs in an attempt to make a curry. The curries were so bad, twice I attempted and had to bring to the attention of the food manager. The lunchtime pizza's were so heavy with grease, they were stuck to the pizza pan! I think the cheese was not pizza cheeses? Dining room food was OK, but the standard certainly has dropped. OXTAILS! My Lord, my mother served that on tight money days and it is now served as cruise cuisine. No more veggies served on the side, all piled under the meat selection and often not hot as the over run servers can't get it to you in an acceptable time. I do not fault the servers, they are marvellous, just not enough of them. As for the food quality and selection, again no fault of the kitchen hands, this come from above them. Being mainly Indonesian or Indian in the kitchen, they know how to make a good curry or Indonesian food, but cook what they are told to. The evening entertainment in the bars mostly were over before evening dinner was finished and the crows nest entertainment was a recording DJ when there was some passengers to try and entertain. The passengers were an older interesting mix but they were still alive and they were also disappointed in the lack of entertainment Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
When we booked last year we didn't know it would be an EXC cruise. We thought we'd give the new product a go but it seems to be a cost cutting venture. We went to the major ports of Noumea, Port Vila and Auckland on sundays when ... Read More
When we booked last year we didn't know it would be an EXC cruise. We thought we'd give the new product a go but it seems to be a cost cutting venture. We went to the major ports of Noumea, Port Vila and Auckland on sundays when everything is closed and the other days to beaches where it didn't matter. The cruise hopped around with no order or reason to be in these ports on sunday....maybe cheaper docking charges? Entertainment was very poor with nothing organised for sea days other than lectures on photo, computers and upcoming ports given with no enthusiasm. The were lots of BBC wildlife documentaries on both the main stage and on the Tv in cabin. We have yet to find what the cruise director KK did other than make introductions on stage. Entertainers were " more classical than fun" and their appearance times were hard to fit in with dinner in the dining room. There were no fun activities and you felt you were in an old folks home although they have more organised for them! Everything was dead after 11pm. Food was plentiful but tasteless. One night after a drinks get together at 7 and then going to the show until 8.45 we found the restaurants were closed and we were told to order room service to get anything. The Explorations coffee shop closed at 9pm and you could only get tea or coffee from the Lido if you were lucky enough to find some milk. The whole cruise lacked atmosphere, not what you want on a long awaited holiday! The ship is old but spotlessly clean. The cabins are large and well equipped. The crew are amazing, always helpful and smiling. They made the trip worthwhile! The ports visited were Ok but as I said some would have been more enjoyable if they were open. The beaches and snorkeling were wonderful. HAL excursions were over priced and much cheaper and better bought on shore run by the locals. Come on Holland America pick up your game and give us back what we came to expect from you. There were a lot of us complaining about this voyage and we hope all cruises will not become EXC. We will be watching as we have booked South America and Antartica for next year and if it's an EXC we will be cancelling. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Chose this cruise for the itinerary and to be honest that's the only good thing about it. Ship is very dated and the fabric of it needs a complete overhaul. Problems started as soon as we got to the cabin with holes in the sheets and ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the itinerary and to be honest that's the only good thing about it. Ship is very dated and the fabric of it needs a complete overhaul. Problems started as soon as we got to the cabin with holes in the sheets and white stains on the overcover!!! Bedside lights were loose and dangerous, the bathroom door closer was loose too and was eventually removed completely, chips on the sink and foxing on the mirror. The sofa looked like the ships cat had used it as a scratching post. The sunloungers were stained badly and the legs were rusty with paint flaking off. There food was repetitive and only warm and the entertainment pretty 2nd rate. Really not sure what the ship showband actually did, in 2 weeks they were perhaps on stage for 8 hours, otherwise drinking and in the hot tubs. I'd like the cruise directors job, propping up the bar. Hardly any guest interaction. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We sailed recently on this ship from Sydney to New zealand on a two week voyage. Unfortunately we found that it is in need of a major overhaul -not just in terms of the decor itself, but also with the entertainments team -who appear to ... Read More
We sailed recently on this ship from Sydney to New zealand on a two week voyage. Unfortunately we found that it is in need of a major overhaul -not just in terms of the decor itself, but also with the entertainments team -who appear to be somewhat complacent in their approach to the job! Granted the general age of passengers is elderly, but the programme provided lacked fun and enthusiasm, and was more akin to an evening at an old people’s home - where the objective was to put something on to keep them happy for a while, then get them to bed early! Believe me we have cruised many many times on various cruise lines , and we were not looking brash or high energy entertainment- but a bit of fun and perhaps regular game shows might have been nice. Even the planned entertainment was not without problems. BB kings had to close for 2 nights because they had no drummer, and the piano player simply didn’t turn up at short notice on two separate occasions, because he was sick! I appreciate these things happen, but the cruise Directors ‘ solution to all of this was to simply put on a film in BB kings studio - which many passengers had already seen ! How’s that for intuition ! I fear some staff have been on this ship too long and it’s a case of “ the same old same old” approach Another missing element to mention was the shops- they were totally closed for refurbishment on the first 6 days of a 14 day cruise! AS most cruisers will know- on the sea days, many passengers like to browse around the shops , and their closure -coupled with poor or non existant entertainment, made for long and boring sea days! You could go to cookery demo if it was on or an educational lecture- but that was it,! It was my 60th birthday on departure day, and my husband had paid in advance for our cabin to be decorated , with flowers and champagne left in the room. When we arrived there was a warm bottle of champagne on the table , without glasses or an ice bucket and no flowers or decorations. The whole moment was lost- yet when he complained to guest relations , no one seemed to care or take charge of the situation. All we were told was to make sure we left the champagne out for collection so we’d get a refund- no apology - no compensatory gesture of any kind was given for spoiling what should have been a lovely memory !! My daughter who was miles away at home also ordered some birthday flowers to be delivered to my cabin- again they never came and again no apology- just money credited to an account without any cognisance being taken of what they were for, and the significance and importance of the gesture as intended. On the plus side the food in the main dining room was excellent and the staff were all welcoming and eager to please, but apart from this the ship is lacking in luster! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
The stewards and waiters were unfailingly, and I mean unfailingly and without exception, cheerful, polite and helpful. They were the highlight of the cruise. I am unlikely to recommend a Holland American cruise, certainly to no one ... Read More
The stewards and waiters were unfailingly, and I mean unfailingly and without exception, cheerful, polite and helpful. They were the highlight of the cruise. I am unlikely to recommend a Holland American cruise, certainly to no one in my peer group. It is not my scene, but that says more about me than Holland American! My disappointment is probably the result of nostalgia for the 5 or 6 voyages my wife and I did in the 1950s and '60s when sea travel was the usual way of travel between continents. There is a world of difference between a voyage and a cruise. A voyage then was a gracious and civilised way to travel. We travelled with a purpose, not to kill time and be entertained. Those voyages were much more enjoyable than our recent cruise, with its very contrived "entertainment". On the voyages of the '50s and '60s I found friendly people of bridge with and we had some excellent games, without the ship advertising bridge. On this cruise there were few games in spite of bridge being advertised, I had difficulty in finding a partner and in the few games I had, people were aggressive and unfriendly - not the fault of Holland America perhaps, though maybe reflection of the on-board culture. The food was good, but the coffee appalling, except the coffee purchased in the cafe, which was exorbitantly expensive. Exorbitant expense characterised everything for sold on the ship - the wine and the tours. All about 2 or 3 times the cost at the ports we visited. These costs give the impression of the cruise as a money gouging exercise by Holland American, which I am sure was not the intention. The “Noordam” purported to be a Dutch boat. Certainly, the officers were Dutch and the interior decor was Dutch, but the social culture was overwhelmingly and suffocatingly American. And the passengers were overwhelmingly American. A broader multinational mix would be preferable. When I arrived home 10 days after the cruise ended, two emails awaited my from Holland America inviting me to complete a survey and assuring we my opinion was important. Yet when I tried to complete the surveys, I found they were closed. So I don't think my opinion could be that important to Holland America! I am not one of these millennials addicted to staying in constant electronic contact reading emails every day! As a result my negative opinion is now public, instead of "for Holland America eyes only", had I been able to complete the survey. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We have been on many cruises before this one and by far this was our worst cruise every by a country mile. Embarkation was quick and efficient and on the ship in no time ( which turned out to be the best part of the cruise) The ship ... Read More
We have been on many cruises before this one and by far this was our worst cruise every by a country mile. Embarkation was quick and efficient and on the ship in no time ( which turned out to be the best part of the cruise) The ship is in need of some desperate overhaul as it is looking very old and run down. Their was no sail away party on any deck, only soft music which no one could hear on the back Lido deck. The bar staff on the Lido deck were outstanding and made the cruise a little more enjoyable with their outstanding service. ( maybe other staff members could look at them and learn something) Many thanks to Edwin,Leonard and Ed for their outstanding service. Lido restaurant was very blend with their food night after night. Same food just with different names often Luke warm served on very hot plates. My wife had a good talk with the Lido management one night about having different theme night for dinner EG Asian,Indian,Australian international type dinners. To the managers credit they did do Asian theme for one night only then went back to the old ways. The only entertainment on the back Lido deck was a music trivia every afternoon. A band playing music would have been a lot better. We had nothing but trouble with our cruise accounts being blocked by the front desk day after day, and we weren’t they only ones with this issue Maybe when HAL travel in Australian waters in the future the should accommodate fit the Australian market a bit more as 80% of guests are either AUS or NZ. best advertising in by mouth for any business and myself and my wife and other guests will not be doing any advertising. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this as Holland America once had a good reputation for cruises. The dining was very poor quality food with very little choices offered ( no turkey for Christmas day dinner). The ship is very outdated and in dire need of major ... Read More
We chose this as Holland America once had a good reputation for cruises. The dining was very poor quality food with very little choices offered ( no turkey for Christmas day dinner). The ship is very outdated and in dire need of major refurbishment and we found that the balcony in our cabin to be extremely small given the extra cost paid to have one. Only just about enough room for two deck chairs. We found that it compares very badly with its competition eg Celebrity Cruises. Entertainment on board only moderate to fair and very limited. Port and shore excursions were quite good and well organised with an interesting variety. Neither I or my partner would recommend Holland America line for any cruises on the the Noordam unless as stated previously that it improved the quality and choices in its dining room and a full refurbishment of this ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This review is for an Atlantis Events cruise from Auckland to Sydney with six stops on a Holland America ship, Noordam (built circa 2006). This was my first cruise. We chose this cruise because many of our friends have done them and speak ... Read More
This review is for an Atlantis Events cruise from Auckland to Sydney with six stops on a Holland America ship, Noordam (built circa 2006). This was my first cruise. We chose this cruise because many of our friends have done them and speak highly of their experiences. We spent two days in Auckland before departing to Gisborne, Wellington, Akaroa (Christchurch), Hobart (Tasmania), Melbourne and Sydney. Boarding problems delayed our departure, but before long we were on our way. Being my first cruise, I wasn't really aware of and didn't pay attention to the fact that we were circling an island for several hours after we left Auckland and I am still unsure why we changed course. Atlantis Events and/or Holland America diverted the ship from making the planned stop in Akaroa (Christchurch) due to weather. Hard for me to believe that since Akaroa is a protected harbor. If you look on a map, the cruise was to go from Wellington to Akaroa and then south around the south island of New Zealand. Instead, we were stuck for three days at sea while we lumbered along at a leisurely pace to keep on schedule (i.e., not get to Hobart before we were scheduled). This significant change in schedule was, in my estimation, unnecessary, and definitely infuriating. The change in course lead to Holland America and/or Atlantis Events saving tens of thousands of dollars in fuel. We didn't get so much as a credit toward a future cruise. Keep in mind that many of the staff on the ship were lovely. Very attentive, happy to help and genuinely appeared to enjoy their jobs. Most were from Indonesia and the Philippines, and they were outstanding. Unfortunately, there were 20-25% of the employees that absolutely hated their job (or hated us). You could tell because they didn't smile, make eye contact or go beyond the minimum of what they were required. I have heard for years about how great the food is on cruises. Not being someone who enjoys eating large amounts of food (read, all-you-can-eat buffets), I wanted quality over quantity. I also don't eat a lot of meat, but there were plenty of hunks of unknown meats under heat lamps that didn't look particularly appetizing. The salad bar (not self-serve) on our cruise was ALWAYS busy and very understaffed. It was frustrating. You could go to a sit-down restaurant with table service (rather than the buffet-style food served on the lido deck), but this food was only marginally better. There was, of course, the extra-special option of going to a restaurant and actually paying for a high-end meal. Since I wasn't impressed with the food on the lido deck or the sit-down restaurant, I didn't bother. The number of deafeningly loud announcements through over-driven speakers by the crew at all hours was very disrupting and usually sounded like the adults on Peanuts. I felt like an announcement that loud should have been left for "abandon ship!" instead of "we're having a sale on (overpriced) watches on the lido deck" or whatever equally silly announcement they were making. It was ridiculous. The 'drinking' water on this ship tasted like it had been stored in a plastic container in the sun for a day or two, making it taste horrible. The upside was that we could drink the four $5 bottles of water (12 oz) left in our room every day when attendants came in to make our bed. If you're a coffee drinker, you'll need to lower your expectations considerably since the swill they served for coffee made instant coffee taste like Italian espresso, but you can go to their 'espresso bar' and pay $4.50 for a latte, so you aren't totally screwed. If you ask me, it takes a lot of chutzpah to provide undrinkable water and coffee, and then essentially force you to pay their outrageously over-priced bottled water and coffee. In the end, we paid an outrageous $1,354--almost all in drinks and one $100 bottle of wine for my birthday dinner. Holland America also enjoys using only US Dollars as its onboard currency and does not recognize the currency of those countries whose ports they frequent, so you won't enjoy any 'deals' on exchange rates. Buyer/cruiser beware! Take note of the year your ship was built. Read recent reviews of it so you know what you're getting yourself into. Ultimately, I don't think I would ever do another Atlantis Events cruise, and I would NEVER do another Holland America given this experience. Good luck! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Ship was chose for us as a charter cause i would not have picked it myself. While the crew were overall very nice and glad to see us, the ship itself was extremely dated and not worth the money. The furniture was worn and torn, half the ... Read More
Ship was chose for us as a charter cause i would not have picked it myself. While the crew were overall very nice and glad to see us, the ship itself was extremely dated and not worth the money. The furniture was worn and torn, half the rooms had blasting a/c and the other half were saunas. Constant plumbing issues, power issues, and the fact that the maintenance staff were either so overworked or just past the point of caring that nothing seemed to get fixed. When i realized that part of why my room was so warm was that a prior passenger had squeezed a cruise daily into the a/c vent, i called and knowing that i wouldnt get much help i begged the person to bring a phillips head screwdriver so we could get it done rather than have them look, evaluate, and schedule. The promised they would...they brought a corkscrew. They called another staffer who brought a broken leatherman with a phillips bit so worn it was an icepick. They were discussing what to do and i grabbed the leatherman and used the flat head to get it open. That and the televisions on the ship are widescreen tubes that can only be watched in a totally dark room with tylenol for the static. Rooms were caked in salt and dust and mold. There are much nicer and newer vessels out there. Do NOT pick this one. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
As this was a special occasion, we spared no expense and booked a Neptune Suite with large aft wrap around balcony. Expectations were high, more so as we have cruised extensively before and enjoyed our Cunard and Celebrity cruises ... Read More
As this was a special occasion, we spared no expense and booked a Neptune Suite with large aft wrap around balcony. Expectations were high, more so as we have cruised extensively before and enjoyed our Cunard and Celebrity cruises immensely. The trip started positively, embarkation was quick and friendly. Things went downhill from there. Cabin (and ship) decor is very dated and years overdue for a refit. Furniture and fittings are of low quality, and this was especially evident in the bathroom. Main dinning room was mediocre, decor again dated, dark and stuffy. Worst part was the food, despite an effusive menu littered with culinary terms, the food was basic, low quality, dumped on the plate and served lukewarm. We ate there twice and then never returned. Lido dinning was even worse. Very limited choice, mostly pizza and pasta, and poor process for dishing out food, leaving people waiting ages for their order to be filled. Worst was the service times, if you wanted food outside their designated times, only dried up pizza was available. Not a vegetable in sight. At 8.30pm most stations were closed, and I have a picture of staff coming through vacuuming while diners still eating ! By day three, we reverted to eating all meals onshore when in port. On sea days we ate at the Pinnacle Grill, which was excellent, but at an xtra cost of $35 per head each time. Enrichment program was limited and focused on selling stuff. Entertainment stage shows were okay, but cruise director was clearly just coasting and did not bring any energy or interest to the cruise. Officers were rude and uninterested on the rare occasion we saw them or spoke to them. The only redeeming factor was the general staff, who were worked so hard to make up for the inadequacies of the ship, the processs and the lack of leadership. They were without exception, cheerful, helpful and engaging. To all of them, our sincere thanks. Other passengers we spoke to had mixed views, many shared our views, but others were very happy, so maybe it’s a matter of expectations. For us, this was our first experience with HAL and based on this we would not book them again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
After sailing on Holland America Line (HAL), four times and the last on the Noordam in February 2017, we have come to the conclusion that HAL treats some places better than the south Pacific. 1. Ships meals have been reduced in quality ... Read More
After sailing on Holland America Line (HAL), four times and the last on the Noordam in February 2017, we have come to the conclusion that HAL treats some places better than the south Pacific. 1. Ships meals have been reduced in quality and service as 4 meals had to be sent back, due to; 1 being cold, 2 overcooked and dry, 3 a steak that was tough and suspect quality while, 4 the fish was again overcooked and tasteless, 5 a Pasta carbonara was dry without any sauce, some sauce was supplied after I ask for it, then it was edible. 2. The hygiene control on the ship was/is lacking, as my wife was infected with the cruise cough/flu like symptoms this was the second time (again Holland America) and yet has NEVER been infected on the other cruise lines we have sailed with. We have sailed around New Zealand 4 times, twice with HAL, once with Cunard and Celebrity X, however my wife was struck down with ship flu both times on HAL, but not on the other cruise lines. Therefore, the food/ships hygiene on HAL appears to be at fault. 3. It appears that HAL uses the sailing in Southern climes of Australia/New Zealand as a training ship or just the area with disdain, knowing that Australian/New Zealanders do not complain/demand as much as some other natation’s do/can. 4. The Gratuities that are expected are also in contrast to other means of transport, such as airlines where the crew wages are similar for respective position and ranks on HAL but only draw their wages/salary. Also, it has been rumoured that the crew do not get all the monies collected, but a proportion it goes into the company revenues. 5. Defects with the ship a. 3 windows cracked, 2 on the Crow’s Nest lounge forward windows and the 3rd on the external glass wall (ship) of the aft/rear right side elevator on the 4th deck b. 2 lifeboats had damaged entrance/exit hatches (the stitching had separated from the hatchway) allowing water to enter the lifeboat, which would jeopardise the safety and integrity of both, the lifeboats were 11 and 14. They were reported 3 times to the front desk and each time I was given incorrect/differing answers, they were finally repaired. Photos are available. c. In the Lido dining area, a glass tea bag caddie was cracked with glass splinters missing, it was reported and it was changed to another position, again it was reported and it was finally removed to??? d. The cup/mugs for tea/coffee in the Lido were not washed properly (suspect the dishwasher) with foreign bodies/food being left in/on the mugs. e. Our cabin bathroom was in disrepair as the floor tiles were adrift/lifting and the shower wall tiling grout was missing, with several areas having dark mildew type stains. As we were dissatisfied with the overall Hotel and engineering (safety equipment) we spoke to many other passengers and they were of the same opinion that Holland America have lowered their standards and treat the south pacific cruises as training. Also, you can see by the above list, this cruise with Holland America Line was not as comfortable or as pleasant as the other cruise lines we have sailed with, (some 10 in all) then being told that we must pay the gratuities, gives an idea of what they think of the south pacific, so much so that I doubt it very much that we will sail with Holland America Line again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We like NZ and have been there on land, but wished to see the Sounds and ports offered. In the past HAL gave reasonable value for $ and "tried" to sort our differences. We are two 70yr olds and travel on ships geared for minimal ... Read More
We like NZ and have been there on land, but wished to see the Sounds and ports offered. In the past HAL gave reasonable value for $ and "tried" to sort our differences. We are two 70yr olds and travel on ships geared for minimal children.This trip had abysmal dining and very poor entertainment and shore assistance. We could not get palatable food and found that the feedback forms gave no option for feedback so after the first form went off on day 2, I fired off another on day 5 with our contact details and problems. [ Food in Vista was too rich and/or spicy for our tastes and stomachs. Standards of dress had dropped. Children allowed unsupervised and intrusive.Wait staff abrupt/overworked. Supervisors would not listen/understand. Gassed out of cabin twice by maintenance painters. Heart monitor on bike in gym was erratic/busted and supervisor took little interest. Shore/port assistance very poor.] In sheer frustration I fired off another feedback form on day 10. We got to be able to preorder meals with notes regarding the spices on day 12!! We got some decent food for the last 2 days!! There was never any personal feedback until one supervisor gave us a free bottle of sparkling wine on the last day - but no discussion. As usual the cabin staff were good. The cabin was tidy but getting a little tired. Would we go again on HAL/Noordam? We'd go anywhere if the price is right and itinerary interesting - but only if there was personal interaction BEFORE and during the cruise. Read Less
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
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
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
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
Most ill-conceived, badly planed circumnavigation of Australia. Hamilton Island waste of a port day. Most passengers returned to the ship by 11.30 or 12.00. Why arrive in Cairns at 1000hrs? Sun Seeker Cruises leave for a day trip ... Read More
Most ill-conceived, badly planed circumnavigation of Australia. Hamilton Island waste of a port day. Most passengers returned to the ship by 11.30 or 12.00. Why arrive in Cairns at 1000hrs? Sun Seeker Cruises leave for a day trip to the Outer Reef at 0930, Quicksilver leave Port Douglas for Agincourt Reef at 10000hrs. Could have increased speed for a 0730 > 0800 arrival. We sailed 1,600 miles through the Great Barrier Reef, yet no information. Best talk was by the Reef Pilot but nothing about the Reef or its inhabitants. Why leave Darwin so early, could have left a couple of hours later and made up, on the way to Komodo Island. Consider Port Hedland instead of Geraldton as not much in Geraldton on a Sunday. The overnight in Fremantle was good but then whats the point if passengers need to be back at 1045hrs on the second day. What can anyone do before 1045hrs, again leave later and burn a bit more bunker oil and catch up between Fremantle and Albany. Why leave Melbourne so early? Surely there is a more interesting place than Burnie! What about an overnight in either Adelaide or Melbourne Many passengers thought there were too many sea days. Consider two sea day from Bali to Port Hedland and another two sea days down to Fremantle. Holland America should have employed sensible people to talk about Australia and the area in which we sailed through like ex park rangers, marine biologists, historians and people with local knowledge. Talk about the history of the Dutch East India company, the West Australian coast is littered with Dutch vessels. Early explorers: Dirk Hartog, Abel Tasman, William Dampier, James Cook and Charles Darwin on the Beagle. The Great Barrier Reef, the history of Queensland, its produce and industries and a bit of political history. The Gulf of Carpentaria tourism, fishing and the prawn industry. No none talked about the Leeuwin Current, the annual Humpback whale migration down both the East and West coasts. The weather patterns in the Southern oceans, the Great Australian Bight. At a talk on Australian Art, the lecturer could not even pronounce Canberra correctly. According to her Pro Hart was Australia’s greatest artist. Absolute ignorant rubbish. The problem with such shoddy, ill-informed speakers is that the mainly American passengers were not told about painters like Arthur Boyd, Arthur Streeton, Brett Whiteley or Charles Blackman. They were mis-informed. The quality of local knowledge was shameful. The tours were expensive. Why no visits to aquariums to learn about Australian sea creatures. There are aquariums in Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin, Perth and Melbourne. I am a New Zealander who has lived in Australia for twenty years. I found it frustrating listening to passengers asking each other about many of the issues I have mentioned here and if I didn't intervene and comment they would have remained ignorant and frustrated. There should be a constant flow of sensible facts, figures, some trivia and some folk lore. A daily talk with supporting images in the theatre about “where we will be tomorrow” I thought the food repetitive and quite often tasteless and badly cooked Would have expected fresh Australian produce like Bowen mangoes, Gulf Tiger prawns etc etc The menu in the Pinnacle Grill had not changed since Seattle, went twice, nothing exceptional, bland in fact. Holland America’s alcohol policy is draconian and childish. The "security" in searching for alcohol was threatening and heavy handed. "We" are the passengers, "we" are paying their wages! Holland America pay their Indonesian and Pilipino crews atrociously, then hit up us, the passengers who have already paid for the cruise with a 15% charge on all drinks and a daily “Hotel Service Charge” of $12.50 per person which I gather is meant to be distributed to the crew to supplement Holland America’s 4th world wages. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Holland America claims to be a 5* cruise line so I had high expectations. This particular holiday was a once in a lifetime luxury cruise, so we decided to pay the extra for the experience. Embarkation was at the White Bay Cruise ... Read More
Holland America claims to be a 5* cruise line so I had high expectations. This particular holiday was a once in a lifetime luxury cruise, so we decided to pay the extra for the experience. Embarkation was at the White Bay Cruise terminal (Sydney) which can only be likened to a cattle market. Be prepared to stand in line for 1 - 2 hours. Once on board, we were given immediate access to our room and luggage which was nice as this is not always the case on other cruise liners. Cabin was well appointed and staff were polite and friendly. Presentation of food was excellent, but a case of style over substance. Food in the restaurants was served warm which was disappointing. As part of the 5* experience, we dressed up for the formal nights only to find that we needn't have bothered as other diners wore trainers, jeans, polo shirts and sports wear. I was disappointed in the entertainment as it was limited to 30-40 minutes in the theatre. Nine days into our cruise, the ship developed a technical fault resulting from (as I understand it) a part that had been fitted incorrectly which caused damage to the starboard propeller. This delayed our departure from Napier and resulted in us having to stay there another day. The knock on effect of this was that the planned stops at Auckland and Bay of Islands was cancelled. So very disappointing as we were looking forward to these stops - the delays were caused by HAL. Compensation for the cancelled ports was a derisory $100 per person which was re-credited to our on board accounts and a 20% discount off a future cruise booked with HAL. I asked for financial compensation instead of 20% discount, but HAL remain resolute and will only offer the discount off a future cruise. It appears that HAL have had my money and are not prepared to repay an equitable amount of the fare to compensate for the missed ports. In order to gain compensation, I have to spend more money with them!!!! SO VERY DISAPPOINTED. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We flew to Australia and toured by land for a month. Then we embarked in Sydney for a two week cruise around New Zealand and a Pacific crossing to Vancouver. I would recommend seeing New Zealand by land also. The ship had mechanical ... Read More
We flew to Australia and toured by land for a month. Then we embarked in Sydney for a two week cruise around New Zealand and a Pacific crossing to Vancouver. I would recommend seeing New Zealand by land also. The ship had mechanical problems when we reached Napier so we missed two ports. The only advantage that I can see about seeing New Zealand by sea, is traversing the fjords. They are truly spectacular. Besides the mechanical trouble, the ship leaked a lot when it rained. In the Crowe's nest, in the hallway on deck 6, even in a stateroom that friends of ours were staying in. Towels were everywhere to soak up the water. Our friends weren't given another stateroom because the ship was full they were told. I don't think this cabin should have been sold in the first place and I question possible health issues from the dampness. It the cruise line wants to encourage repeat business, I think they should address the disrepair of this ship Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
The cruise started promising: beautifull big cabin (neptune lounge facility) large balcony-two stewards-not good at cleaning. activities: poor-very poor. port and shore excursions:verry expensive dinning:verry good (sometimes bad in ... Read More
The cruise started promising: beautifull big cabin (neptune lounge facility) large balcony-two stewards-not good at cleaning. activities: poor-very poor. port and shore excursions:verry expensive dinning:verry good (sometimes bad in specialty restaurants.entertainement: non existent . Disembarkkation: fortunately very quick summary very expensive from any aspects;exchange rate (on ship) for a$100.00 nz $ 80.00 incredible bottle of black label jonny walker approx a$ 100.00 for use incabin. The only thing free:use of lift on ship (but this is included in your purchase price) balcony on our cabin never cleaned-the table on balcony wobbley,the glass never cleaned.sugest to future passengers check prices for any additional services (drinks-excursions or anything else).cost of trip only approx 20000.00 austr. Dollars. We have been on18 other trips crystal,seaborne,azamara ,royalcarribyen, etc. B ut will never again go on holland america line. The choice is yours. try and rent a wheelchair cost a$ 500.00 ????????? Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
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