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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
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
After several great HAL cruises we were surprised to find this one to be so disappointing. It’s clear that ongoing cutbacks are the order of the day now with HAL, along with a corresponding reduction in customer service. Starting ... Read More
After several great HAL cruises we were surprised to find this one to be so disappointing. It’s clear that ongoing cutbacks are the order of the day now with HAL, along with a corresponding reduction in customer service. Starting with the positive, embarkation was easy as so many passengers were staying on from the NZ cruise. However, we weren’t warned that once on board new passengers weren’t permitted to go off the ship again. No reason was given for this which seemed odd as the other passengers were free to come and go all day. We were pleased to see there was a Mariners lunch in the dining room – one of the few HAL traditions still surviving. We had a verandah cabin which was an adequate size with plenty of storage. However, it was quite shabby with peeling wallpaper, old furniture with the varnish worn right off the table and the cane unravelling off the balcony chairs. Also, a piece of trim had come off the desk and never been repaired leaving exposed bare chipboard. HAL styles itself as 5 star – well not with these cabins. We’ve had 2 star hotel rooms in better condition. For the first time, we found the bed uncomfortable. We’ve always loved HAL beds but this one was well ready for replacement with a hard ridge down the middle and sagging to the sides. I kept waking with sore shoulders from bracing when the ship rolled to stop sliding to the edge. The general condition of the ship was also poor. There was excessive engine noise at the back of the dining room to the point that you could hardly hear your dinner companions. Some parts of the dining room and other select areas of the ship were permanently very cold. Meanwhile in the Lido, there was water dripping from the ceiling throughout the cruise as well as rust apparent in some place. Our stewards were fine but we couldn’t say the same for the Front Desk and other staff. Many people were having issues on the cruise but the response was generally a denial of the problem followed by a statement that they couldn’t do anything about it. We were travelling with a group of people who had various problems. Our toilet malfunctioned on and off during the cruise, with a minor flood one evening that fortunately was taken care of. There were similar toilet malfunctions all over the ship with some out of service in the public areas. Another cabin had inadequate air-conditioning at night for nearly the whole cruise. After several days of denying there was a problem, the desk accepted there was but said nothing could be done. A request for a fan was refused as all the fans had already been given out because lots of other cabins had the same problem. After escalating the issue, a fan was finally produced but the measly $200 OBC in compensation offered by Seattle for sailing in the tropics with inadequate airconditioning for two weeks was insulting. We heard similar stories from other passengers. One couple in a noisy cabin with bad vibration told us about the run around they got each time they talked to the Front Desk. In a hotel, you’d just check out and move to another one but at sea the cruise lines know that you’re trapped and have no choice but to stay on in an unsatisfactory cabin. It was the same when someone’s headphones were damaged after being removed from an iPad. The Front Desk said there was no proof it was the stewards. Well, who else removed them and left them coiled on top? Nobody else had access to the cabin. I guess the stonewalling had the desired effect as you got to the point where it became too unpleasant to report problems when you just want to relax and enjoy yourself. We’ve always thought HAL had the best food but not so much any longer. The food was generally OK but standards have declined. Often the food had too much fat, salt or sugar. With the concerns about growing obesity, it’s time the cruise lines started serving more healthy options. For instance, hardly any vegetables were served with main dishes. There was definitely a reduction in quality with poorer cuts of meat being served. A pork chop is now a tough shoulder chop rather a than a loin chop and we were startled to find that a main dish of a shrimp salad contained just two shrimp. When we queried this we were told that was the how dish came! We ate once in the Pinnacle Grill and enjoyed our meal. However, when ordering the cheese plate instead of dessert, it was disappointing to be presented with the same plate with three miniscule pieces of cheese that’s served in the dining room. When you’re paying a hefty surcharge for the top restaurant on the ship you expect to get more than standard food from the dining room. The food in the Lido was generally good with the best being the Asian station, the pasta bar and particularly the salad bar which is excellent. However, Lido opening times are very limited and although advertised as closing at 2pm we often found stations running out of food and closing just after 1.30 pm. Dive In’s burgers and fries were great as usual. The free ice-cream was very welcome but the desserts were mostly the same very sweet items day after day. We were concerned there were no staff encouraging people to use the hand sanitisers so it was no surprise that we both got the bad chest complaint that everyone had. You could hear the hacking cough all over the ship and I still have it three weeks later. This was a cruise with few ports and lots of sea days. However, the entertainment offered was woefully inadequate. Beside the classical music in the Explorers Lounge there was little other music in the evenings. The Piano bar was popular but always full and the BB KIngs are way too loud to listen to in comfort. Dancing to music in the Crows Nest appears to be a thing of the past and no one was tempted by that dark hole called the Northern Lights. The shows were mostly of medicore quality with the exception of the marvellous and energetic Patrick McMahon. There were no special events - no BBQs or poolsie parties, no sailaway parties, no dessert extravaganza, no sporting competitions, etc, etc. We were looking forward to the Crossing the Equator event, remembering entertaining shows staged in the past. There was nothing like that. Instead guests were invited to jump in the aft pool in front of a poorly dressed King Neptune and get out again. There was hardly any participation by the officers, no presentation of crew pollywogs and their crimes, no amusing speeches or antics. We didn’t know if this was policy or if Jeremy Whitehead, the Cruise Director, just couldn’t be bothered organising a proper event. We suspect the latter as his efforts were pretty poor throughout the cruise. There were queues of people for the computer classes and Trivia was very popular as something (anything) to pass the time. Even then, the timing was absurd with Trivia being cleverly scheduled at 1pm and 7pm to clash with lunch and dinner. Even Food Trivia was held at 3pm to clash with afternoon tea. Not that the teas are the special occasions they used to be. No longer in the dining room, they’re now served in the limited quarters of the Ocean Bar so if you don’t get there very early, you miss out. And for the first time, I was refused the option of a fruit or herbal tea. There was just one tea poured – no choice -and not everyone drinks Indian tea. I was told this was a directive from Seattle which seemed inexplicable considering fruit teas are served in the Lido. And the wonderful Indonesian and Royal Dutch teas are also gone. It seems Seattle is determined to get rid of everything that guests used to enjoy. Back to the positive, we appreciated Happy Hour with the extra drink for $2 and the canapes. The laundry package is still good value although friends had two items of clothing damaged. Needless to say, once again, the ship refused to accept any responsibility. We were pleased to find that the Noordam still has a proper library and Explorations café on the Promenade deck. This area was very popular and always full of people. We also love the wrap around promenade decks on the older ships and regret the news that they are being reduced on the new ships. We enjoyed many aspects of the cruise but in retrospect, with so few port days, it was mostly plain boring and very disappointing. No doubt the cutbacks are set to continue with little thought for what guests actually want. HAL is clearly not interested in updating its fleet of poorly maintained, older ships, and fighting the Front Desk to be heard is not our idea of fun while on holiday. So, after many years of great cruises, we intend to go back to land-based vacations. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Holland America obviously don't read these reviews otherwise things would have improved by now - or perhaps they just don't care! My friend and I boarded the Noordam in Sydney and I was very much looking forward to the cruise experience ... Read More
Holland America obviously don't read these reviews otherwise things would have improved by now - or perhaps they just don't care! My friend and I boarded the Noordam in Sydney and I was very much looking forward to the cruise experience - boy was I disappointed! The ship looks very elegant from the outside but inside it looks like it was decorated by a retired Dutch museum curator - who wants to look at antiques in glass cases as you sail across the tropical blue Pacific? The decor generally is dark, heavy and outdated, and the air conditioning very patchy. It is good to be able to walk continuously around the deck, but It is impossible to do laps in either of the pools which look like they belong in Disneyland, with massive concrete leaping dolphins and Neptune's chairs.. I was VERY disappointed by the lack of interesting entertainment. The priority of the company seems to be to flog as much as they can - art works, jewellery, beauty treatments, exercise activities, the casino etc. Many 'talks' were just thinly veiled attempts to sell, sell, sell and these 'talks' often had the prime time slots while genuine talks or activities (eg. trivia) were on a 9am. 1pm. or 7pm. There was no one looking after the library and solo card players, scrabble players etc. had to make contact with like-minded people by writing their name and cabin number on a list on the unmanned library desk so they could find a partner. Films were shown in a ridiculously small and inappropriate room (at a time when the theatre was empty!) where the front row seats were higher than the ones behind - meaning the people in the back rows couldn't see properly - plenty of frayed tempers. We mainly ate dinner in the dining room where we met some very nice, interesting people and generally the food was fairly good but, for my taste, the chefs use far too much salt. Generally on the Noordam the staff were very good (I can't say the same for the Veendam). My friend who has traveled with Holland America several times before said she very much noticed the falling standards and felt embarrassed. To add insult to injury about 80% of the passengers came down sometime during the 3 weeks with an extremely serious upper respiratory tract viral infection that was apparently bought onto the ship in Auckland - not a mention was made of it by management, yet all hell breaks lose when Nora virus breaks out! I can tell you the 1 ply tissues they give us were totally useless - I'd rather have decent tissues and forget the cutesy towel animals on the bed every night (think of the extra wasted time and washing these create!). Ten days later we boarded the Veendam (I can't be bothered wasting my time doing a separate review on it) to cruise the St. Lawrence Seaway and while I thought its public rooms were more tasteful than on the Noordam, the cabin we were allocated would not have looked out of place in a backpackers' hostel - after our protests and paying an extra $US500 each we were moved to a nice balcony cabin in the stern.The philosophy of this ship is the same as the Noordam - sell, sell, sell with the added insult of disgusting service in the Lido restaurant and incredibly poor organisation of loading people on to tenders etc. Also I was not impressed with the cost of the Wifi ($US55 for 100minutes on both ships). If this is cruising with Holland America, they can keep it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose Holland America as they are our favourite cruise line. Having an aft suite our embarkation was smooth without any wait although this actual cruise had commenced in NZ and there were already guests on board. The cabin was great ... Read More
We chose Holland America as they are our favourite cruise line. Having an aft suite our embarkation was smooth without any wait although this actual cruise had commenced in NZ and there were already guests on board. The cabin was great with no complaints. Dining always good on HAL with good choices in all areas. Service good and all our excursions were booked through cruise line. A few of our choices of excursions were not as expected though did not stop us from enjoying them. Entertainment and activities were sparse. It was our only down point of this cruise. Movies were shown in queens lounge which did not hold many people so missed out on what we wanted to see. There could have been more activities on board during the sea days and it became a little boring. Speakers did not give talks about much of interest to most and bingo was a waste of money with only four games per session. Sales days were not what we have experienced in the past - three or four tables of items only with total lack of interest by staff and cruisers. Word was the captain didn't want big sales on deck. Easter was just about non-existent. A couple of dyed eggs at breakfast. We are a married couple and we would sail HAL again for the exceptional service however HAL need to pick up on the entertainment side. Noordam is a good ship but we feel Oosterdam had more options as far as entertainment goes. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This review will not be lengthy but more to the point.Having completed our Sydney to Vancouver crossing from 8th April to 30th April ;I feel appropriate to comment on this ship Firstly the Noordam is a beautiful ship and we ... Read More
This review will not be lengthy but more to the point.Having completed our Sydney to Vancouver crossing from 8th April to 30th April ;I feel appropriate to comment on this ship Firstly the Noordam is a beautiful ship and we could not see any signs of wear and tear and the ship was meticulously maintained in all aspects.Perhaps a couple of carpet sections worn that's about all; but who cares really Food and entertainment all good.One area that did annoy me was the Lido area at night.Only open till 8pm is a joke if you are a late eater like ourselves.They usually only had 2 food stations open so queuing was the norm.That was okay in itself.The problem was you had to wait for food as they often did run out.The next problem was if you wanted more ;2nd's that is ; it was often too late as they would religiously shut down at 8pm Not a huge issue ; but i do like my food and it was good on the Noordam;probably our preference for that extra touch was for the dining room The Noordam had plenty of public areas and never an issue getting seating in whatever area.We loved the decor of this ship Our cabin was at the stern on deck 5.A great experience with the ever present wake and our balcony was big ;cabin 5187 small problem with soot from the funnels stained some of our clothes but we did not put any t shirts or the like out on deck after this People on board were great and we sat at different table each night usually 6-8 wouldn't do it any other way.Met Americans/Canadians/British people Ports of call were good even though we had been to many before.We like the long sea days so this was not a problem for us Embarkation was a breeze and as we boarded around 3pm in Sydney we walked straight on no one in front of us.Getting off at Vancouver was the same streamlined and efficient as well. And now for the worst part ; something that has probably turned us off sea travel for a fair time I would say; maybe forever FLU VIRUS ON BOARD! The 1st day out from Sydney we noticed a steward coming out of the cabin diagonally opposite ours.The only point of difference was that he was wearing a face mask.This caused alarm bells to go off.Obviously quarantined After a few days about it it was pretty obvious that MANY people on this ship were coughing and spluttering and being very casual about it.One woman coughing continuously on the open deck remarked to someone she was talking too "Yes I have a cough but so does half the ship ;so what she said" Great attitude to your fellow man So in due course after everyone being so considerate and health conscious my wife and self finally came down with this Flu virus "A or B" as confirmed by the ships doctor ($1000 medical bill).Our only saviour was that we both got sick in the last week after leaving Honolulu.We were both confined to our cabin for 4 days and during that time i did not eat at all ;I was so ill.I can honestly say I had not been as sick since I had the Mumps when I was 20 years old.Both my wife and self are very fit people slim and exercise daily as well. When we disembarked from the ship in Vancouver ;we were both very weak and my wife had developed Bronchitis which was bordering on Pneumonia after the Flu virus.We had to see a Doctor 2 days after we arrived as I thought we may have to cancel our Rockies tour.We saw the Rockies which was our highlight for 6 days I guess my gripe with HAL is that this Flu virus had been on the ship for some time ;from NEw Zealand or before in it's Australian cruise season.How do I know this because 2 of the stewards told us so I condemn HAL for not making passengers more aware of this spread and doing something about it.It was something that almost ruined our holiday and made us both very wary of venturing on a ship in the future.We are 67/68 by the way so not veterans yet! I must be truthful and say I would have given the ship a "Very Good" review in Value for money except for our horrific experience with illness and yes we did have Flu shots before we left Australia;doesn't cover all strains Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2017
We had already been on the Volendam with HAL and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and this cruise was visiting the South Pacific and Hawaii. We were on board 16 nights Sydney to Honolulu we felt this was long enough for us and it was. ... Read More
We had already been on the Volendam with HAL and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and this cruise was visiting the South Pacific and Hawaii. We were on board 16 nights Sydney to Honolulu we felt this was long enough for us and it was. The entertainment was far better than on the Volendam we enjoy the evening entertainment in the Vista Lounge and the guest speakers in the day were all very interesting. We enjoyed our evening meals in the main dining room and the Staff did everything possible to serve us well. We chose a table for 6/8 which meant we sat with different couples each night. Therefore we met some lovely people from Canada America and Australia. We also enjoyed our breakfast and lunch in the Lido where the Staff were very helpful and we met lots of lovely people there also. In fact we met a lovely couple from Australia we had met on Volendam two years previous what a coincidence. The places we visited were very beautiful the small island of Davuni in Fiji. Our cabin had a balcony on level 5, it was great and we were looked after very well by our cabin boy. We only have a couple of things which we were not happy with. One was the cost of the Wifi and the fact that it was of very poor quality. The other thing was at the end of our cruise we needed the reception to call the company we had booked our transfer to the hotel in Honolulu with to confirm the time we would be disembarking the ship but they said they could not do it as we had not booked it through them, we had no phone so unfortunately we waited for an hour in the hot sun outside the cruise terminal and our transport did not turn up so we had to pay for another taxi and lost the Money we had already paid but I suppose this was a minor problem. We also contacted the chesty thing in the last couple of days on the ship which in fact turned out to be Whooping Cough which was confirmed by blood test by our local GP and we are still coughing now after 7 weeks. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this cruise to fit in with school holidays and to meet friends in Hawaii. The stateroom was excellent. See below. The ship was very lush and we enjoyed the ambience in every venue. All areas were well maintained and ... Read More
We chose this cruise to fit in with school holidays and to meet friends in Hawaii. The stateroom was excellent. See below. The ship was very lush and we enjoyed the ambience in every venue. All areas were well maintained and elegant. We knew the wifi would not be good, so we enjoyed having 2 weeks free of this. Dining. We could not fault any meal, whether it be in the Vista Dining room, Lido buffet, poolside or the specialty restaurants. We mainly ate in the Lido and always managed to find a seat at any time. There were little, if any, queues at each food station. We tried every station and were never disappointed. We never experienced food at incorrect temperatures. The food in the main dining room was very good, with small to medium portions which we appreciated. The Canaletto and Pinnacle dining rooms served wonderful food each time we visited them and the service was excellent. Entertainment. Every night we looked forward to the shows. There were great acts from Australia and at the end, a great a capella group from the USA. The acts were world class, (in our opinion) and were well received by the audiences every night. On a couple of occasions there was standing room only! Obviously the 8 o'clock crowd came back for more at 10pm! We were very impressed with all of them.We also very much enjoyed the BB Kings Blues Club on quite a few occasions. We had a great fun night on a "pub crawl" and enjoyed the piano bar a few times. Daytime activities were good, with our favourites being the daily team trivia, Happy Hour, food and wine pairing and a couple of culinary sessions and guest lecturers. We also enjoyed down time lazing in the aft pool, sitting on deck chairs and also on recliners in the Crow's Nest. We celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary with a Renewal of Vows ceremony. WOW! What a wonderful experience! The Captain presided over the ceremony(we were the only 2) and his wife was with him. We were overwhelmed with the attention to detail....champagne, finger food, corsage and buttonhole, photographer, wedding cake, dinner for 2 at the Pinnacle restaurant, flowers in our stateroom, swans and rose petals on our bed and a beautiful wedding album with our certificate, photos and mementos of the event. A magical night! Port excursions. We did a couple our ship excursions and 2 of our own. All were enjoyable (we were first timers to the South Pacific), even though the humidity was quite unbearable. I can recommend Ricky's Tours in Hilo, Hawaii. We met some wonderful people and thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. We would gladly go again. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We chose this cruise for the Itinerary. 3-Star cruise, 5-Star itinerary with fun on the Polynesian Islands. We cruise often, usually long cruises. We are active retirees, swim, hike the jungle, snorkel, cliff jump, motorcycles. We enjoy ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the Itinerary. 3-Star cruise, 5-Star itinerary with fun on the Polynesian Islands. We cruise often, usually long cruises. We are active retirees, swim, hike the jungle, snorkel, cliff jump, motorcycles. We enjoy 'Happy Hour' and socializing with like-minded cruisers. Very rarely we use Ship's Port Tours on HAL as they cater to a very sedentary clientele. Yes, I can see why some found it a great cruise. Us? Our times amongst the Coral Reefs and Volcanic jungle haunts was great, our Dining was fine, but there's the matter of our overall On-board experience. The ambiance aboard MAASDAM I would describe as 'sedated'. No...t'was funereal. HAL is in trouble. Repeat...HAL is in trouble. Things have apparently changed recently on the HAL corporate level. Naughty, naughty HAL. Remember having a Librarian? Gone. 'Chocolate Extravaganza'? Gone. Ice sculpture carving? Gone. Poolside 'Beach Boy' live music? Gone. Sail-away Aft Deck Cocktails, HEATED Pools, Activity Directors for exercise, Volleyball, etc, BBQ Poolside Hog roast Luaus, all Deck Lounger chairs free for all passengers, late evening departures from Ports.... all gone. We actually hoisted anchor at our last Port...so we could sail home slo-oower/cheaper for 5 days. Really?? Thankfully, someone had a IPad with music for our 'entertainment' around the AFT Pool. But, hey, I had the Ice-cold Pools nearly to myself!! The one working Hot-tub and Men's Sauna was busy, Ha!! Now for the Problems.......... Nobody aboard was fooled.....we're not dumb. MAASDAM has an obsolete lay-out compared to newer ships. It reminded me of the CHANDRIS line vessels I sailed on many decades ago. Times have changed.. I look forward to cruising on the new KONINGSDAM next year to see if it offers more. If not, we will probably move on to a non-Carnival owned cruise line. HAL has been such a great $Value$ for longer cruises to great destinations, but now what? I dunno. Hmm. Many Cabins (and Luxury Suites) had serious water issues. Some people left the cruise early... Tendering was a struggle with the infirm passengers that predominated. The 'Shore Excursion' dude was fired 1/2 way thru the cruise for certain candid, honest remarks that apparently the suits back in HQ didn't like. Ourselves, we had a blast ashore!! Howso?? Running as FAST as we could from the Pier and grabbing a Rent-a-Boat or car to get to secluded beaches, underwater reefs and jungle ambiance in Polynesia. Then we came back to MAASDAM and drank with friends we met aboard then went to bed. I have been on FAR worse ships in a Seaworthyness way, but the $Cost-cutting$ and abbreviated number of overworked staff was disconcerting to see. I give the Cruise per se a 3-STAR rating solely account the wonderful staff and Ports. Would we take this 33-day cruise again...for $1000/bucks? Probably. For $2000 ? No. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Having been with HAL before we where very dissapointed with this cruise no music or dancing before dinner.In fact the ship was like a ghost ship most of the time except meal times when everybody appeard.First two nights dine as you wish ... Read More
Having been with HAL before we where very dissapointed with this cruise no music or dancing before dinner.In fact the ship was like a ghost ship most of the time except meal times when everybody appeard.First two nights dine as you wish took three hours from turning up to leaving, the service was poor, waiters surly,the food was only average.We ate most of the time in the lido the food there was not much better but you could pick and chose. The ship is old and worn needs an upgrade.No entertainment before 7.30 then only violin and piano.Sevice was poor all round we cancelled our gratuitys for the full cruise.Our room stewerd was very good and looked after us well,he got a good tip.Room sevice for breakfast (only twice) was always on time but the waiters miserable and the food cold.Shore excursion to expensive we did our own through Viator very good.Sorry HAl thats your lot from us. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Repositioning cruises are a wonderful way to avoid tedious air travel. Noordam had a great itinerary and the timing was perfect. Noordam was scheduled for a refit in 2015 but it still hasn't happened and its looking a bit tired. The ... Read More
Repositioning cruises are a wonderful way to avoid tedious air travel. Noordam had a great itinerary and the timing was perfect. Noordam was scheduled for a refit in 2015 but it still hasn't happened and its looking a bit tired. The soft furnishings are worn in the staterooms and some public areas. Although the colors in the bathroom are dismal, the size of the bathroom is good with a lovely sitting size tub. Dining on Deck 3 in the Vista dining Room was fine, good food and a wonderful waiter on table 71, but breakfasts and lunches on Deck 2 were inconsistent due to insufficient staffing. Wait staff worked hard and were pleasant but they were stretched too thin. Room stewards were lovely and particularly thoughtful. HAL has cut back on entertainment staff, no sports staff, no poolside activities, no sailaway parties at each port. There are fitness classes (fee) and staff in the gym. I enjoyed the thermal spa a great deal and found the spa staff very welcoming and friendly. There were no enrichment lectures for the seadays between Auckland and Sydney. We have been told enrichment lectures may not be continued at all. After Sydney, they had 3 lectures most seadays and these were generally worthy. Evening entertainment was hampered by a dreadful sound system, and inability to turn down the recorded background music so the singers could be heard. In general music was TOO LOUD unless unamplifed. In general we loved the itinerary but are not likely to do this one again and certainly NOT on Noordam. Communication from staff over changed/missed ports was slow or absent, and when information needed to be timely it wasn't. Read Less
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