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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose this cruise because of itinerary (ports of call). There were a lot of sea days, but past experiences told us that we would have decent entertainment and events to fill the time. Wrong! Holland America, has cut back so ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of itinerary (ports of call). There were a lot of sea days, but past experiences told us that we would have decent entertainment and events to fill the time. Wrong! Holland America, has cut back so drastically on the quality of the cruise experience, that we would avoid travelling with them again. We paid substantial money, and did not get decent value for it. The nighttime entertainment on our 31 day cruise, included 4 evenings with juggling acts (that were appropriate for a child's birthday party), a movie that was featured twice, the ships own singers and dancers that did their 3 shows, twice, as well as some Australian singers that were promoted as professionals of high calibre, but may have been appropriate as lounge singers. Gone are the days of afternoon entertainment and live music on the Lido deck. I was told that this has been taken away frome all Holland America's fleet. The Sailway parties are now unhosted, so they never get started as a party, and the only music for them is not age appropriate to the crowd, and is only over the PA system. There are no more on deck parties, as they have had in the past, and forget about any organized events like they have done in the past with horse races and decorating the horse or karaoke. Sincerely, you can stay home and read or play bridge at no cost, whereas they charge a bundle to supply a chair for you to do this. The portion sizes of meals have shrunk, although you can always order more, but you pay an additional cost to eat in their other restaurants, and the food in no better. Their beef meals are outstanding, but be prepared to be disappointed with overcooked and mushy fish. Five out of six fish meals I ate, including in the premium restaurant were overcooked, and these are professional chefs! Be prepared to pay $13.50 per person per day, for gratuities, plus an automatic 15% gratuity added to all drinks, which are already overpriced. Don't expect to find anything more than a mediocre bottle of wine for only pennies under $30. Keeping in mind that they purchase all their alcohol, Tax and duty free, they still charge prices equivalent to mid to high-end market prices. We asked for the daily paper to be delivered to our cabin. Never saw it. We booked and had written confirmation for dinner nervous reservations at a premium restaurant, they screwed up the date. We had our Australia visas all lined up and printed. They told us that one of ours wasn't registered, but for $35, they could do that for us. When I proved it was all in order, they discovered it was another passenger that wasn't registered for the visa. This after I waited in a long line up to prove my point, and I am not sure that I got a sincere apology. The best ports of call seem to have very limited stop overs, and some secondary ports have long ones. Ship excursions are priced significantly higher than the equivalent tours purchased directly from local vendors. It seems that this cruise line constantly has their hand in your pocket, once you have paid for the trip and boarded the ship. The well to do, like to be ripped off. Those of us of average means seem to get ripped off as a result. Many of the free seminars, are just sales pitches to promote the over priced spa treatments, or to sell you their "snake oil" health and beauty products. All in all, for value for money, there are better options available than Holland America. Shame on their management for down grading what was a great Company! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
We selected the transpacific repositioning cruise aboard the Noordam out of Honolulu which included not just south Pacific island stops, but Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart Tasmania but an additional 14 days around New Zealand. The showtime ... Read More
We selected the transpacific repositioning cruise aboard the Noordam out of Honolulu which included not just south Pacific island stops, but Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart Tasmania but an additional 14 days around New Zealand. The showtime entertainment couldn't have been better in the Vista Lounge. We enjoyed so many very accomplished artists. The ship's regular entertainment was excellent, but the same shows were offered several times during the different segments of the reposition cruise. The different musical venues provided great listening and dancing aboard the Noordam. The service of the crew was outstanding. The Lido deck staff was always prompt and helpful with a smile whether it was in serving up our meal or assisting us to a table. Dinner in the dining room was always lovely and it was fun conversing and getting to know other travelers like ourselves. Our stateroom was comfortable and afforded enough storage for our items. I loved having the tub/shower combo. Our stateroom attendants were always prompt and thorough. Our only comment would be that they schedule more and a variety of activities during the day on the many sea days. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
My wife and I were looking for a quick get-away. We booked our cruise five weeks before departure as a package. The booking process went smoothly and all arrangements turned out as described. The boarding at the Pier in Honolulu was ... Read More
My wife and I were looking for a quick get-away. We booked our cruise five weeks before departure as a package. The booking process went smoothly and all arrangements turned out as described. The boarding at the Pier in Honolulu was efficient as there were only about 300 people joining the ship at that time and our photos were on file from a previous cruise with HAL. Our veranda stateroom was on the 7th deck had ample storage space and the main room was spotless. There were, however signs of wear and tear on the furniture and the wallpaper. There was a musty odour in the bathroom that we expected would dissipate as the day progressed. When it did not go away, I mentioned it to the room attendant who promptly attacked it with a spray and poured something in the drains. The odour returned and we reported it to the front desk. Again, it was attended to, but to no effect. I suspected that there was a water leak behind the bathtub or in the floor area that required a more intensive approach. I need to note that when we mentioned it again to an attendant at customer service when we settled accounts, she did not seem to note our concern or to really care. We did this so that the problem could be seen to before the next occupant of the room was subject to the same odour problem. A second problem emerged as the cruise progressed from the heat of Hawaii to the cooler waters of the North Pacific. The air vent in the room continued to blow cold air in our faces as we lay in bed and the temperature in the room became quite uncomfortable. Adjusting the thermostat had no effect. Calling customer service had no effect. I finally went down in person to voice my concern and a maintenance attendant soon appeared to adjust the fan and the thermostat. We did get some warm air for a few hours and then the unit returned to blowing cold air over us. Again, when we mentioned the problem at the desk on check out, we were met with an apathetic response from the customer service representative. The public areas of the ship were generally clean and in good shape. We had the early seating in the main dining room. When we arrived at our assigned table on the first evening aboard we met four other passengers who had just embarked and were assigned to our table. Unfortunately we also encountered another couple who had been assigned to that particular table since New Zealand. It was embarrassingly obvious that they had expected to retain that seating for the whole voyage. They were accommodated elsewhere, but did not seem too pleased, and with good reason. Our servers at dinner were very attentive and pleasant. However this was not always the case for breakfast and lunch in the dining room, when we had different attendants. Some days it was great, other times we had long waits for food and really had to search for a second cup of coffee. My wife and I were not overly impressed with the food on board. Portion control was inconsistent and generally the meals were not up to the quality that we expect from this line. On the evening that we had surf and turf, the meat was barely recognizable as filet mignon and came very rare instead of the medium rare that we had ordered. The lobster tasted and appeared to be undercooked. We were not expecting the same quality of dining that could be found in the specialty restaurants, but do expect well-prepared food served at an appropriate temperature. The entertainment on the Noordam was at best, spotty. The B.B. King Band was the best show on board. They are very talented musicians who put tremendous energy in to each performance. Of the main stage acts, only one stood out: a pianist, who was skilled and who also put a lot of himself into his act. The others could be described as “lame”. (I thought that we were beyond “fat” and “drunk” jokes.) The one production show that was scheduled had to be cancelled because of a problem with a computer. It was rescheduled but at a very inconvenient time. Perhaps it was just us, but the other activities did not have much of an appeal – attending a lecture about the “Indians” of the northwest, playing very expensive Bingo, or learning to make poutine was not what we were looking for. Other cruises that we have been on seemed to have a better selection of shipboard activities that suited the ages and stages of their guests. My overall impression was that the ship and crew were tired. The cruise began in New Zealand, proceeded to Australia and then through the South Pacific to Hawaii where we embarked. At each major port, some passengers left and others came onboard. On cruises where the whole contingent of guests turns over at the start of the voyage there seems to be an energy and an striving to impress that permeates all departments. This is what I missed on this cruise. Given the right itinerary and value, we might choose to cruise with HAL again, but I would need to be convinced that the myriad of difficulties that we encountered would not be repeated. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Three first time cruisers, 19 days from Honolulu to Sydney. Loved the ship, great size 1900 guests., not too big not too small. Found the ship to be elegant and stylish for my tastes. Our travel agent choose cabin F1001 on the main ... Read More
Three first time cruisers, 19 days from Honolulu to Sydney. Loved the ship, great size 1900 guests., not too big not too small. Found the ship to be elegant and stylish for my tastes. Our travel agent choose cabin F1001 on the main deck with window on the outside due to three sharing (two singles + sofa bed. Great size and very quite. Loved the MDR for breakfast and dinner, menu selections and quality of food was excellent. All servers were outstanding. Did not enjoy the Lido that much for both quality or choice (just me) the other two I travelled with did enjoy the Lido. Tried Cannoleto and enjoyed it, lunch at the Pinnacle Grill and found to be not as good as the MDR in both quality or service. We found the entertainment a bit lacking. The HAL singers & dancers (think Glee) we enjoyed and a couple of the featured singers. But overall a bit drab. BB Kings was a stand out and the cooking shows I enjoyed. The service generally was outstanding all over the ship, especially our cabin stewards, servers in the MDR. Just loved late night drinks in the Crowsnest (amazing team) Visited lots of South Pacific ports which were generally fun and interesting. Organised 4 ship excursions and 4 non-ship excursions. Ship excursions expensive in comparison but enjoyed them. The only place really didn't care for was Suva (on all sorts of levels) but didn't do a tour just walked the town and local museum Read Less
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