1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Holland America Line
  4. Holland America Line Cruise Reviews

236 Holland America Line Sydney (Australia) Cruise Reviews

What was meant to be a holiday of a lifetime was spoilt by choosing Holland America as our cruise line. We were on a 15 night cruise starting from Sydney on February 26th. Although this ship was refurb the only changes to the cabins was ... Read More
What was meant to be a holiday of a lifetime was spoilt by choosing Holland America as our cruise line. We were on a 15 night cruise starting from Sydney on February 26th. Although this ship was refurb the only changes to the cabins was the television on the wall. The bathrooms are very tired and our friends whose cabin was next door had the enamel peeling off the bath. On return from our holiday I checked my bank account and noticed we had been overcharged by $70. We called HAL and they were extremely unhelpful said it would take weeks to look into it as they are busy doing refunds. After not hearing from them my husband chased and they sent us a copy of our bill. We could clearly see where the overcharge was they took money for a dressing gown and the plastic cover they put on the bed before you put the suitcase on it. First of all I would not want to steal a dressing gown that hundreds of people have worn and secondly why would I want a piece of dirty plastic that hundreds of suitcases have been on. We are still trying to get our money back and we have been told we have to wait a further 28 days for them to look into it. I am absolutely disgusted with this company and will never travel with them again. The service on this ship was not good, we had dirty glasses left in the cabin for days on end. The waiter who served us at dinner after about 12 days of serving us still could not get it that one of us was vegetarian and kept offering her meat. I was told by head office before we went that the men could wear smart shorts in the dining room but when we got there they refused to let them in shorts. Some of the staff were rude which is not what you should experience when you are paying the sort of money you pay to cruise. I have been on Celebrity, Princess and Royal Caribbean and have never experienced rude staff before only on HAL. We were overcharged one night for drinks in fact we had about three different charges for one lot of drinks. (This overcharging seems to be a pattern). The entertainment was non existent and I think we saw the Cruise Director once, all he was was a voice on the tannoy system. Nothing happening at all at night, we would leave the dining room at about 9.15pm and there was not a sole around it was a ghost town. BBKings is the same every night so after a few times its extremely boring and the two piano players were so bad it was a cringe worthy experience. In the theatre they had hardly anyone on so the same people entertained twice in the 15 days. Once you have sat listening to a very bad comedian once you do not want to have that experience again. In my opinion the worst cruise company going and if you want to be bored and spoken to in a bad manner then yes HAL is the company to go with. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We chose this cruise because we had heard good things about Holland America and it was going to places we wanted to visit. We have been on many cruises before always using Cunard, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean in the past without ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had heard good things about Holland America and it was going to places we wanted to visit. We have been on many cruises before always using Cunard, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean in the past without criticism. However, from the moment we boarded we were disappointed. The ship looked very tired. Our stateroom had a balcony and we had paid a lot of money for it. The room itself was ok. Not amazing but ok. The bathroom was another story. Quite frankly it was horrible. It had a manky old bath with a vile shower curtain. The bath was literally peeling i.e. there were large loose flakes of bath hanging loose on the base. The bathroom overall was very old fashioned and looked like it needed ripping out and starting again. The food was very mediocre. In the buffet it was much as you would expect from a ships buffet but the dining room was disappointing. At the start of the 15 day cruise I explained to our waiter that I was vegetarian. He still persisted in recommending me meat dishes every single evening despite me repeating that I was vegetarian. On one occasion he brought me soup with pieces of meat floating in it. The menus were not always clear as to what dish was vegetarian and the soup was a cream soup so I thought I was safe. He should have picked up on that! The internet was exorbitantly expensive and we opted for the top level on the recommendation of the Holland America staff. This we purchased before we boarded. We found that the internet was incapable of sending simple e mails a lot of the time. This was not how it was sold to us. We were overcharged for drinks and often found ourselves queuing at guest services in order to complain. The evening shows were not very good and by about 9.30 you could walk the ships communal areas and not see another human being. There were two bars that were a little more lively - BB kings and the piano bar. However by 11.00 pm there was no life, no atmosphere whatsoever. Some of the stops were lovely but there were three stops that were a waste of time. Whilst there were tours available, it felt as if to do one of these would merely be for the sake of it. The ship stopped in Hobart Tasmania from 5pm until around 11pm the following night. There was nothing to do there and no life whatsoever. Very very small town atmosphere. We stopped in Dunedin in New Zealand which I thought was boring and likewise Gisbourne in New Zealand. Judging by conversations with other passengers we were not alone in our views. We learnt a very important lesson from this trip. Never book Holland America again!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
My wife and I booked these back to back to back cruises aboard the Maasdam to avoid flying home from an extended trip to SE Asia and Australia. It was also meant to give us an opportunity to visit numerous ports in the South Pacific that ... Read More
My wife and I booked these back to back to back cruises aboard the Maasdam to avoid flying home from an extended trip to SE Asia and Australia. It was also meant to give us an opportunity to visit numerous ports in the South Pacific that we were anxious to visit for the first time. This was our 20th cruise, our only previous HAL (Holland America) experience was an Alaskan cruisetour we thoroughly enjoyed that left us with a desire to try HAL again. We chose the Maasdam because of it's itinerary, schedule, modest size and the EXC program. We boarded in Sydney and spent a wonderful two weeks visiting ports in Tasmania and then New Zealand. The two day crossing from Tasmania to New Zealand was a bit rocky but not bad enough to actually make either of us ill. Tasmania and New Zealand were both beautiful and fascinating places that we'd encourage anyone with the slightest interest to visit. The EXC program was wonderful. It was hosted by 5 Naturalists and a professional photographer each of whom gave several fascinating and informative presentations with humor and great presentation skills. It definitely sold us on the EXC program. Be forewarned - if enjoying big stage productions is one of your cruising needs you probably will not enjoy this itinerary or ship - there are none. The EXC presentations are the focus. The entertainment also include several comedians, a sort of one man variety act and several musicians or musical groups. The acts ranged from fair to extraordinary with an English pianist (whose name I've of course forgotten) putting on some of the most enjoyable displays of talent I've seen at sea. I won't bore you with all the sordid details but after departing Auckland on March 1st things started to go sideways. The COVID-19 outbreak was hitting full stride and subsequently the ship was denied entry to numerous ports. The long and short of it was we actually disembarked in San Diego on 3/27 rather than the originally planned 4/3. We both felt HAL did a remarkable job handling a challenging and dynamic situation. The captain PJ was great. He hosted several coffee talks and fielded some heated passenger exchanges with grace and diplomacy. We really appreciated his honesty and candor. We also both agreed that the Cruise Director, Thomas, was probably the best we've ever encountered at sea. He handled himself and the situation with great aplomb and just an occasional hint of sarcastic humor. His style and personality suited us to a tee. The crew were all fantastic; we still stay in touch with several of them via social media. HAL really stepped up the onboard hygiene program and there was no incidence of the virus aboard the ship. The bottom line is the cruise did not end up being the one we signed up for but we still enjoyed ourselves and will not hesitate rebooking with HAL in the future. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We had always wanted to see Australia/New Zealand and the South Pacific. By cruising with HAL we were able to see a lot within a short period of time. And best of all go back to the same room each night without packing and unpacking. We ... Read More
We had always wanted to see Australia/New Zealand and the South Pacific. By cruising with HAL we were able to see a lot within a short period of time. And best of all go back to the same room each night without packing and unpacking. We can't say enough about cruising. We have cruised on HAL,Princess and Royal. We always return to Holland America. We feel at home. The ships are middle sized and offer great service and itineraries. The itineraries are always so well thought out and HAL offers many stops and less sea days than other cruise lines.. We had a couple of minor mishaps on this cruise and both were handled so well by Holland. The first was a hangup with one of out tenders at the dock. We were on board the tender for an extra 40 minutes while the problem was fixed. We didn't care we talked to fellow passengers and enjoyed the surrounding port. When we returned to the ship within a few hours a bottle of champagne was delivered to our state room with a note of apology. That was totally not necessary but Holland stands behind all they do and it was certainly appreciated. We also had a small flooding of our stateroom( a pipe had burst) It was taken care of immediately and we were given a $150.00 cruise credit for our inconvenience. Then a major occurrence...the Covid 19 Pandemic. We had no cases on our ship either passengers or crew. Halfway back to San Diego we were told that Tonga would not let us land, then French Polynesia said no, and finally Hawaii gave us the thumbs down. All the passengers were so disappointed but at the same time most understood Hollands dilemma well as our own dilemma. With the help of the captain, cruise director and the crew and all the fellow passengers we made it through this. We have been told we will be reimbursed etc,. And I have no doubt this will happen. Kudos to HAL and the entire Maasdam crew for there deportment during this harrowing time. And thanks to all the HAL passengers who were patient and understanding during such a trying time. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
The itinerary was good. A place we had never been before and very much wanted to see. We Hadn't been with HAL before but will never go with them again. Extortionate drinks prices, happy hour lasted 15 minutes in BB kings. ... Read More
The itinerary was good. A place we had never been before and very much wanted to see. We Hadn't been with HAL before but will never go with them again. Extortionate drinks prices, happy hour lasted 15 minutes in BB kings. Entertainment rubbish other than BBkings. Food luke warm, not much choice for vegetarians, lots of pasta and pizza and salad. They were proud of the fact they would make you some pasta with a different sauce, if you asked. Being veggie and wanting mash potatoes and vegetables and Yorkshire puddings I had to stand where raw bloody meat was . Extortionate prices for shore excursions. Extortionate automatically stopped gratuities plus 15 %service charge added to drinks. Dress code lax. Most of the staff were nice, some were abrubt. Very early disembarkation, leaving us with a seven hour wait at the airport. No tea making facilities in cabin, we took our own kettle which was taken from us at embarkation, as it was a security hazard. Tea could be ordered in room but 30minutes waiting. Lido cafe closed when most people were wanting to eat. Entertainment was awful, a guy making patterns out of sand, a BBC earth film . No shows , been on far cheaper cruises and had excellent entertainment with west end shows every night. All in all it was not what we expected for the money we paid. Would not travel with this line again or reccommend it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We heard that Holland America has a more mature passenger crowd and fewer kids. The activities are geared towards a more mature clientele, but there is still a kids club and swimming pool for the few kids who were on the cruise, but no ... Read More
We heard that Holland America has a more mature passenger crowd and fewer kids. The activities are geared towards a more mature clientele, but there is still a kids club and swimming pool for the few kids who were on the cruise, but no water slides, etc. Holland America really went the extra mile to keep the guests happy. One of the sightseeing destinations On the itinerary was a morning of scenic cruising in Milford Sound and Fiordland National Park (New Zealand). Unfortunately, the area was hit by major storms a few days prior to our visit. This was widely reported in the News. As a result, the fiords were inundated by large amounts of floating debris, large trees, etc and it was deemed by the authorities as unsafe for cruise ships to enter. Captain Scott and Cruise Director, Chris, went out of their way to arrange an alternative itinerary involving a visit to Stewart Island, the southern-most island of New Zealand. At short notice, they arranged for a pilot to meet the ship and guide us in to the port of Oban on Stewart Island. The organising to do this was no mean feet and, despite the disappointment of missing out on Milford Sound, we were lucky enough to be one of the few cruise ships to visit Stewart Island each year. Food on Noordam was very good. We ate our evening meal in the main dining room on about half the days and the other half we ate in the Lido buffet on deck 9. We had most breakfasts in the Lido. The variety was excellent. Coffee in the Lido seems to cater for American pallets, as it is quite week and not really that good. Espresso machine coffee is available at extra cost at several cafes and bars on the ship. We tried this once and found it to be excellent, and we were given a complimentary selection of very nice cakes and macaroons to go with it. Use of porcelain cups or glasses instead of paper take-away cups would improve the experience. The two shore excursions we did (half day tours of Dunedin and Wellington) were well organised and informative, but somewhat pricey. At each of the other ports we simply used the free shuttles, where available, or just walked into town from the ship or tender boat to explore on our own. We saw one show and it was very (VERY) good. Karaoke is available on most nights. This is great fun and it was well attended, even though the venue was quite small. Nobody minded if a singer fluffed their songs. Movies were played in the World Stage theatre (cinema style) on a number of days, I really enjoyed this and would like to have seen more of it. Every day would suit me! The gym is of a fair size and was never full at the times I went there (every day). The equipment is good, with some pieces in near new condition. Sanitary wipes are provided for users to wipe down the equipment after each use. Towels are provided as well as cold, wet face cloths in a UV light fridge. Overall the cruise was excellent value for money. If my experience on Noordam is anything to go by, I would definitely cruise on Holland America Ships again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
14 days on the newly renovated Noordam and felt thoroughly pampered every day. From the outstanding service of the room attendants to the doting Main Dining room staff ( we had a fixed 8pm seating and loved it!) this was a fabulous cruise. ... Read More
14 days on the newly renovated Noordam and felt thoroughly pampered every day. From the outstanding service of the room attendants to the doting Main Dining room staff ( we had a fixed 8pm seating and loved it!) this was a fabulous cruise. Turned out to be the retirement cruise of our HAL Captain John Scott so there we’re lots of unique touches and events to commemorate the event. The casino staff was fun and they recognized us right away and that added to the personal touch as well. The Lincoln center performances were packed every time. They are great and need a bigger venue. Why are they stuck where they are and the BBK stage is used by stupid activities during the day performances??? I think the BBK band doesn’t get rocking until the evening so it doesn’t make sense to me to squeeze the classical performances into such a small venue. I wasn’t too impressed by the Billboard performers on this cruise. I thought they did a better job on my Westerdam. The cruise director was everywhere and very sociable. Reminder this is a great cruise line for foodies, destination focused luxury oriented cruisers. This is NOT the cruise for families, budget focused, hard drinking rowdy dance rockers. They shut most stuff down by midnight! Lots of quiet reading books, puzzle players, bridge, mah jong players etc. the BB court was used mostly by staff I think. I love the Crows Nest Bar and classy Pinnacle Bar and really hope HAL does not change it at all. It is a fabulous fun place for port arrivals and sail outs. The last HAL cruise we were on had already done a conversion to a stupid computer focused Navigator lounge which was cold and useless. The one price cruise laundry can’t be beat and I strongly recommend it. I enjoyed the sauna package which was the therapy pool, saunas (wet and dry) and those wonderful heated tile beds! I would only recommend that HAL remind guests to anticipate and calculate that huge tip expenses which is added automatically to their ship account. It’s a shocker but we’ll earned. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We were very hesitate to go on this cruise after reading posts on this site. I am a 4 star mariner and was extremely surprised that the bad reviews were way out of line. This fall we sailed the Nieuv Statedam and in January took the ... Read More
We were very hesitate to go on this cruise after reading posts on this site. I am a 4 star mariner and was extremely surprised that the bad reviews were way out of line. This fall we sailed the Nieuv Statedam and in January took the Noordam around Australia and found the Noordam much better in almost all categories. The ship is not tired or in need of major upgrades. The crew was probably the friendliest that we have had in the last 5 cruises. including Celebrity Cruise Line. The food was great especially the fish, and I am a picky eater. They had Happy Hour at every venue all day long, even the shows. The carpets have recently been replaced along with minor room upgrades, including large flat screen TV's. The bedding and towels were clean and comfortable. Our cabin steward did an amazing job. We usually clean our room when we first arrive, we didn't find any missed areas. We have learned that when individuals have a good experience they don't always write about them ,but they sure do share their bad experiences. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise on the basis of previous happy cruises with HAL, a total of some eighty (80) days on Volendam x 2 , Westerdam and Konigsdam. The service, entertainment, and especially the food on those cruises were pivotal factors in ... Read More
We chose this cruise on the basis of previous happy cruises with HAL, a total of some eighty (80) days on Volendam x 2 , Westerdam and Konigsdam. The service, entertainment, and especially the food on those cruises were pivotal factors in selecting Noordam. We are bitterly disappointed in the Noordam cruise and it’s invisible on board management. I shall be writing to HAL CEO, Stein Kruse seeking an apology. Some points:- We ate in Pinnacle for the Sal de Mer. The food was cold and the steak inedible. Dining room fare was inevitably cold and the menus were very limited. One starter was sweetbreads on apple tarte tatin! Lido experiences were similarly mediocre, one toasted bagel was mouldy and it seems that few of the kitchen brigade can cook pasta. In room dining was haphazard. The ”special” lunch with the Captain was brunch served from 11AM ‘til Noon sharp. The duelling pianists and BB King band were very good but why have a solo harpist in the main theatre? The cruise director was rarely seen. Guest Services (sic) were palpably not interested in assisting passengers HAL Club staff were rude and indifferent to our concerns for the OH&S of children. Dress codes were never enforced -shorts, t shirts and sandals on gala nights! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise for the number of port stops and we weren’t disappointed! We got a great feel for New Zealand. We travelled with children between 7-14 and they all had a great time. Kids clubs were entertaining and staff were ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the number of port stops and we weren’t disappointed! We got a great feel for New Zealand. We travelled with children between 7-14 and they all had a great time. Kids clubs were entertaining and staff were wonderful with them. Although decor was a little dated, cabins were a great size and layout. Balconies were spacious. The new flat screen TVs with on-demand movies were great and the movie selection suited all of us. Food was generally excellent and Canaletto was wonderful and well worth the extra charge. The children particularly enjoyed the poolside Dive-In burgers and the hard scooped and soft serve ice cream readily available in the Lido buffet. Refreshed decor in the public rooms and restaurants is lovely and modern. We enjoyed a number of the shows - the BBC Planet Earth show was a particular highlight. We also enjoyed the free Kitchen Tour and several enrichment talks from Maori cultural representatives. Fitness centre was used every morning. There was usually enough equipment, and it worked, and there was a beautiful view. However the equipment could be updated (no tv screens on individual machines). Shower/locker room adjacent to gym a lovely spot for a shower! Embarkation and disembarkation are White Bay Cruise Terminal was quick and easy. This was also true in all ports we visited. Most of our shore excursions were self-directed. We did one through HAL and it was well organised. However it was usually cheaper to use companies in each port. It was very easy in New Zealand to make our own arrangements. I would not hesitate to sail with HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
The cruise seemed like a good way to see SW Australia while kids school is out, here in the States. Well, we did see Australia and it’s beautiful. But the cruise on the other hand... Maasdam is an outdated ship in desperate need ... Read More
The cruise seemed like a good way to see SW Australia while kids school is out, here in the States. Well, we did see Australia and it’s beautiful. But the cruise on the other hand... Maasdam is an outdated ship in desperate need of renewal and refurbishing. Multiple repeated issues with plumbing, door keys, internet connectivity and so on. Indifferent restaurant service with a lot of attitude. Numerous billing "mistakes" by beverage service (of "catch me if you can" variety) requiring multiple reminders to be fixed. Cheap food selection. Crowded buffets with ridiculously long food lines and no tables available. Arrogant front office reps with selective memory - any issue requires multiple explanations to different people. Randomly changing "all aboard" times with no regard to customers' own booked tours and excursions. Idiotic beverage rules and limits accompanied by humiliating search process every time one boards the ship. Staff is unaware of how HAL's own services and products work - e.g. gift cards. No recourse for crew and service “mistakes” and screw-ups, no apology, no discount, no credit - just "oops, sorry" at best. For on shore excursions HAL routinely charges over 3x of the prices available through independent booking (e.g. private city tour $1700 USD vs $500 USD available independently.) Limited selection of tours through HAL. Limited or non-existent selection of combo tours visiting multiple places in one tour. We’ve been on several cruises with other companies before. While the quality usually varies with price, this is probably the first time where the cruise experience was so comically bad that it didn’t really matter if it’s a good deal price-wise or not. Makes me wonder how Holland America is managing to stay in business... Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Embarkation port in Sydney is White Bay, not as convenient as Circular Quay, and not at all scenic, being a commercial port. The day before embarkation we received an email advising us not to arrive before one. It would have been much ... Read More
Embarkation port in Sydney is White Bay, not as convenient as Circular Quay, and not at all scenic, being a commercial port. The day before embarkation we received an email advising us not to arrive before one. It would have been much better for planning had the email arrived earlier. We arrived shortly after one and embarkation was fairly smooth; our cabin was also ready. Buffet: For the first three days, there were loooong lines everywhere. The Buffet was not exactly self-served. You are handed everything by a staff member, everything from food to drinks to eating utensils. You line up for a glass of water, an extra spoon, a slice of bread,… you name it. The servers were so busy they would move on to the next person if you hesitated for one split second. They also had no time to attend to any requests, such as dark meat vs. white meat, or smaller portion … etc. They would just pile up on your plate, whether you are able to finish it or not, causing a lot of unnecessary wastage. Not only were there long line-ups everywhere, they were also many guests carrying multiple filled plates and/or glasses walking around. People were understandably trying to get everything they need all at once, rather than returning to the long lines again. Accidents waiting to happen. Because of this added workload to the servers, I believe bussing people were also called to help, resulting in fewer workers clearing tables. In short, eating at the buffet took a lot of effort and time, and a lot less relaxing than when I was on other cruises. This lasted for 3 days, and on day 4, all of a sudden things went back to normal. Buffet was self-served again. Dining room: There were long wait time for everything as well. I believe many were tired of the line up in the buffet and decided to have breakfast and lunch in the dining room, causing much longer wait time there as well. Food in the dining room was generally good, but the menu choices were quite limited. Other services: In the first three days, not only was the buffet not self-served, guests were not allowed to handle many other items as well. For example, you have to go to guest services to get a copy of the newspapers, or crossword puzzles. Library books were hidden in a drawer, and it’s a pain to see what’s available. Board games were all hidden, and there was often nobody around to ask. Guest services told me this is for sanitary reasons. I understand their concern over food items, but I think they were over-reacting when it came to paper products. How does one get contaminated by handling a newspaper? If they were absolutely adamant that nothing touched by one guest is touched by another without first getting it sanitized, then perhaps they need to be following everybody around and sanitizing every railing, wall and elevator button after they’ve been touched. I think they are just causing a lot of inconvenience for the guests as well as tons of unnecessary extra work for their frontline workers. Entertainment: I particularly enjoyed the piano quintet’s performances at Lincoln Center Stage. I also attended most of the Main Stage performances and enjoyed those as well, especially the very professional dancers. Disembarkation: The ship arrived on time in Auckland. We chose to self-disembark and everything went smoothly. We would stay a few more days in Auckland before flying back home. All in all, this cruise has been an enjoyable one, with lots of beautiful scenery to look at, despite the few rainy days we had. Ports: Sydney: Because of the wild fire, Sydney was under a cloud of yellowish haze. It was rather unpleasant but the harbour was still very pretty. Air quality was much better in the early morning and later in the evening. Definitely worth spend a few days pre-cruise. Public transportation was quite easy to use. We purchased an Opal card at the airport and used it to get to our hotel, for city travel as well as a longer ride to Bondi Beach one day. Melbourne: At the port, we purchased a My Ki card, which is a reloadable travel card with enough money for the day’s travel. There was a shuttle that took us near the downtown area. We spent the day visiting the Botanic Gardens, the Shrine of Remembrance, and the downtown waterfront. Hobart: We saw the Royal Tasmanian Botanic Gardens, the Cenotaph as well as the historical area near Salamanca. At the Botanic Gardens, the very helpful staff at the visitors centre told us they have an agreement with the Red Bus and we could take it back to the city for $3.00. Milford Sound and Fiordland National Park: Very picturesque and serene sounds. Unfortunately for us the weather wasn’t the greatest, cloudy and rainy most of the time. I am sure it would have been much more spectacular had we had a sunny day. But it was still beautiful and an enjoyable experience. Port Chalmers (Dunedin): I found the i-Site (tourist information) at every New Zealand port organized and well-staffed. On this day we purchased a half-day city and garden tour at the port. The tour programme was good, taking us to see the major sites in Dunedin, including the Botanic Gardens, the railway station, Baldwin Street, Signal Hill Lookout, etc. Unfortunately for us, the tour company we went with, Exploring New Zealand, was a bit disorganized, and we were sometimes left not knowing what was happening. Akaroa (Christchurch): We bought a shuttle ticket from French Connection at the i-Site at the pier to Christchurch and did our own self-guided walking tour. The shuttle was right on time and the driver very efficient and professional. He provided commentary on the way to and from Christchurch. In fact, most of the New Zealanders associated with the tourism industry that we encountered during this trip were very professional. The downtown area is walkable and we had a great time exploring the Canterbury Museum and Botanic Gardens in Christchurch. Picton: Picton has a number of hikes right from the port area. We hiked up Tirohanga Track, and from there, had a nice view of our ship and the downtown area. If the weather had been better, we’d probably have done another short hike, but it started to rain, so we decided to just spend a little time in the downtown area. Wellington: It started out as a very rainy day. Pretty much everyone opted to go Te Papa Museum. I hadn’t planned on visiting this museum for very long, but it was so rainy we had no choice. That rain turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Te Papa is truly one of a kind. It’s like a few different museums under one roof. The art section is so creative and full of great ideas; the war section so thought-provoking… I thoroughly enjoyed every minute we spent inside. Don’t miss this if you’re going to Wellington. Napier: My research on this town prior to the trip yielded very little, so I did not know what to expect. The ship was there for just a few hours. So I thought perhaps this is just a little town for a short cruise stop-over, and I did not have much expectation. It turned out this is one of the best ports we visited. It’s well-organized, clean, and oh so pretty. I enjoyed the Marine Parade with the beaches, Sunken Garden, and the MTG Hawkes Bay Museum. The Art Deco architecture is so beautiful. We had a great time in this picturesque town. Tauranga (Rotorua): We booked an excursion with Shore Trips and Tours prior to our cruise to see Wai-O-tapu, Whakarewarewa Maori village and Rotorua. Everything went according to plan and we had a very professional guide and driver. Auckland: Disembarkation was smooth in Auckland. We stayed for another four nights before flying home, and had a great time visiting this lovely city and some of the surrounding areas. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I will start with the title of this review. Embark, disembark all OK - most lines have this in the bag. We chose this cruise on Noordam, because we love Vancouver, we wanted to go to Sydney and we love sea days. This cruise bore not ... Read More
I will start with the title of this review. Embark, disembark all OK - most lines have this in the bag. We chose this cruise on Noordam, because we love Vancouver, we wanted to go to Sydney and we love sea days. This cruise bore not the remotest resemblance to our 2 x cruises on Volendam Dec.16 and April 18. Where has the elegance gone? The fresh flowers everywhere? The sophistication? Dancing? Cocktail bars? It's just not possible to be entertained for 26 days, of which 16 were "at sea", with Billboard, BB Kings and Lincoln Centre. The bars are all empty by 2000 hrs, and they do not refill after dinner and shows - there is just nothing to do. There is a limit to how many times you may be introduced to the BB King Band in just one night let alone 26. They perform in 3 x segments every night, and this intro stuff happens in every segment, every night for 26 nights! Well, we lasted 2 x nights and just didn't go back there. The 2 x pianists in Billboard seemed more bored than we were. The performances in the Lincoln Centre are in a closed off room - very serious, stuffy, a room full of people, seated, facing the stage, concentrating on classical music. We love classical music, but you are allowed to talk and laugh aren't you? Not in the Lincoln Centre, I wore a bracelet that jingled and got some serious looks! Paleese, it's a cruise! There is a bar on Deck 1 - next to Guest Relations - how peculiar! Only utilisation over 26 days was cocktail tasting at 1700 - no atmosphere, on a good evening you may hear someone balling out the staff, they are so close. There is a place called Nightlights or some such, between Casino and Theatre side entrance - what happens there? Never saw a soul in there. It's all black! There is a Grand Piano in Ocean Bar, on a dais! Never played - but no worries, the dance floor has been carpeted over. There is a "library" of 30 cruises, most >15 days and we love sea days so it answered those calls but was still boring. There were 2 x lecturers in the fields of Pacific peoples and The Stars - we went to a few, but again after 26 days the variety just was not there. Enough, something positive. Most of the crew are polite, caring and competent. We had several very sick pax taken to non scheduled or scheduled ports for medical evac. This was handled very well. We enjoy any time dining, but on this ship it was assigned to deck 1 and the engine noise and vibration was horrendous. Not to mention the dim lighting - most had to remove the tea lights from the table lamp to read the menu. We transferred to Deck 2 and the same 2 x person table every night, a first for us. The best outcome for this switch was our dinner crew - have rarely laughed so much, nor experienced the expertise of Maitre'D Johannes, wine expert Eric,and the lovely Sumatomo and Ambrullah, attentive food waiters. The food was mostly good - when it was good it was superlative, with stunning flavour and brilliant cooking skills. When it was not good, it was mostly inedible. The former was more prevalent than the latter, but it did puzzle us a little. We missed the contact with different dinner companions and conversation. We dined at the buffet a few times, and found it very good, easy to find a table, We did enjoy a couple of shows - the dance troupe were absolutely fabulous, very very talented, and the comedian was a clever chap with a very complex and funny routine involving (very willing) audience participation. The Filipino and Indonesian Crew shows were fabulous - nothing amateur about these performances, so much effort from everyone, even after all their hard work round the ship. I cannot comment on Excursions, Trivia, the Spa, the Pool Deck as we did not engage. Last but not least, the cost of liquor on board is daylight robbery. We loved old HAL, but not anymore. There were many very disappointed HAL devotees on board. 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
This itinerary has been a bucket list cruise for a number of years. By the time we were finally able to book it, it had become an EXC cruise. I am so pleased with the lectures given by the EXC naturalists. What an amazing group! ... Read More
This itinerary has been a bucket list cruise for a number of years. By the time we were finally able to book it, it had become an EXC cruise. I am so pleased with the lectures given by the EXC naturalists. What an amazing group! Chris Cook, the leader, is not only knowledgeable but entertaining. Erin, the crocodile specialist, is absolutely amazing! I was impressed with every one of them. Dr. Anita Heiss joined the cruise in its final days to add her expertise as well. I chose Holland America over other lines who do the circumnavigation for the itinerary which included Komodo Island and Tasmania. These two were the highlights for me. We saw the dragons and went to Gunns Plain Cave in Tasmania to see the elusive glowworms that I have wanted to see for so long. Other highlights were the ship's excursions to Billabong Sanctuary out of Townsville, trike ride in Broome, Wildlife (at marvelous Healesville) and Wineries out of Melbourne and private excursions to Litchfield, Yanchep and Pinnacles National Parks. I highly recommend any excursion which includes Healesville. It is a division of the Victoria Zoo which Chris Cook is affiliated with. We saw so much there. It is not to be missed as the Victoria Zoo does things the right way. We enjoyed trivia where we met wonderful partners from around the world. Food exceeded expectations and service was excellent. Our steward was exemplary. Our cabin was spacious with lots of storage. Only disappointments were missing Exmouth and Kangaroo Island, both tender ports. Seas were extremely rough and Captain Ryan Whittaker made the right decision not to attempt tendering. I regret not booking one of the zodiac tours. Those I heard from really enjoyed them. By the time I had an opening in our schedule and slots available, the weather had turned rough and we had colds which made us not game for it. The Maasdam is one of Holland America's older ships along with its sister ship the Veendam. I love both of them. The Maasdam is clean and well maintained. I would not hesitate to sail again on either of these. Their size and design is just what I like in a ship. The entertainment was better than expected. Initially EXE cruises did not have traditional entertainment. We enjoyed the shows most nights. Our favorites were IDA (very talented sopranos from the West End), the Jersey Tenors, and the OZ Boys. All three performed multiple shows which we enjoyed. I highly recommend joining your roll call group for any cruise. We enjoyed our three tours arranged through our active roll call. I arranged one to Litchfield National Park out of Darwin and enjoyed trips to Yanchep/Pinnacles National Parks out of Freemantle and a wine tour to to the Borossa Valley out of Adelaide planned by others. We enjoyed meeting others from roll call and the meet and greets (formal and informal) were well done by leaders from our roll call. We were even able to arrange shared cabs from airport to hotel and hotel to ship on roll call. We made our own hotel reservation at a reasonably priced hotel I found through others' recommendations here on CC. Had our ship embarked at the Quay where we disembarked, we could have walked to the ship. Overall I am glad we took this cruise and would consider EXE itineraries to other locations. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was our 33rd cruise and our fifth time on HAL. We chose this itinerary as a means to return to North America after a long adventure in Australia. First the things we liked: The BB King All Star Band was terrific every time they ... Read More
This was our 33rd cruise and our fifth time on HAL. We chose this itinerary as a means to return to North America after a long adventure in Australia. First the things we liked: The BB King All Star Band was terrific every time they performed, playing excellent cover versions of classic pop, soul and funk songs The BB King club was a great place to relax and dance. Overall the food was good enough. HAL has the same dishes on all of their ships, the variety is good and the quality is good enough. Generally the service all over the ship was quite good. Unfortunately the ship itself was old and the interior design was dated, unpleasant and downright ugly. This was a shock to us as we have found other HAL ships to be attractive. But the Noordam was like a bad cheap hotel with almost no pleasing public spaces. The Noordam is in desperate need of a complete make-over. There were many sea days and unfortunately the activities on board were very down market. There was only one lecturer who was mediocre, leaning on video content from other sources. Otherwise just silly games and activities aimed at upsales like gem displays and beverage tastings. So we were quite bored and had to lean on the hobbies we brought on board. Shortly after leaving Sydney, the ship began to run out of all sorts of beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. At one point there was almost no beer available. Lots of passengers were commenting about it. I got fed up and wrote a letter to the Hotel Manager which resulted in a flurry of responses, including a face-to-face meeting with the Assistant Beverage Manager. He thanked me for my letter and explained that all of the items were indeed on board but the staff just failed to go get them from their sources. He promised that they would do better. But then the next morning when the room service waiter brought our breakfast juice and coffee, he apologized that the ship was out of orange juice. Of course there was plenty of OJ on board, just not in the room service kitchen. Crazy. I was pleasantly surprised by the very low price of this cruise, but then found out the truth in the cliche "You get what you pay for." This was just a budget cruise with the quality that one usually finds with low-cost budget products. We will probably return to HAL, but probably not to the Noordam. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruises from Sydney to Honolulu as we wanted to visit the islands and Hawaii. also to try out HAL for first time, we have done 27 other cruises mainly on Princess but also on Cunard, P&O, Celebrity, Carnival. Embarkation ... Read More
We chose this cruises from Sydney to Honolulu as we wanted to visit the islands and Hawaii. also to try out HAL for first time, we have done 27 other cruises mainly on Princess but also on Cunard, P&O, Celebrity, Carnival. Embarkation was ok. Had VD verandah cabin, aft near elevators, ok with cabin. Bed fine, settee a little hard. Shower ok. Ecko our steward was fine. Had various meals in MDR and Lido, all poor, mdr meals for dinner were poorly presented and poor quality ingredients, i.e. tough meat and fish, hardly any veggies. Worse food on any ship I have been on. Little assistance given to me as a Celiac, although I advised HAL well before cruise. Not once did the head waiter speak to us re food, service at our table. Only time we saw officers was in pinnacle bar having their drinks before dining in pinnacle restaurant, they don't eat in the mdr !! The Captain did not even appear at the gala night cocktail pary and I never saw him. Entertainment was ok. I was not impressed with our first taste of HAL and will not return. Overated. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Sailed on Holland America four other times. Never on prior cruises was I told we are sorry but we out out of that. On this cruise we were told sorry we are out of diet caffeine free coke White Wines, Beers, Teas, Ice Creams, Limes, wafers ... Read More
Sailed on Holland America four other times. Never on prior cruises was I told we are sorry but we out out of that. On this cruise we were told sorry we are out of diet caffeine free coke White Wines, Beers, Teas, Ice Creams, Limes, wafers for Ice Cream. I didn't pay all my money not to have the ship properly provisioned my table mates had the same problems and felt the same way, this made the overall experience poor. Both showers in our stateroom needed a plumber (three times). TV was broken, bed had no firmness,.Gym had broken equipment. Dining and room staff were good, food was good. Enjoyed Lincoln Center music. Ports and excursions were average. Embarkation went smoothly. interesting talks in the morning, Lido Pool area staff seemed lazy, other staff was good.Over all common rooms were average. Guest Services tried their best to resolve all my issues but they could not resolve the issues involving Noordam being out of so many items, I would not recommend the Noordam as I would the other Holland America ships I have been on. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was a Dave Koz Charter Cruz! Ship was contaminated with a flu bug. Hundreds of passengers on Week 1 and Week 2 got seriously ill with a flu bug (Cough, sore throat, chills, fever and loss of appetite - lasted for over 4 days). ... Read More
This was a Dave Koz Charter Cruz! Ship was contaminated with a flu bug. Hundreds of passengers on Week 1 and Week 2 got seriously ill with a flu bug (Cough, sore throat, chills, fever and loss of appetite - lasted for over 4 days). The ship was very old and when we hit rough waters it showed. Many people were sick and also got sick in the main dining hall. Germs were spreading everywhere. Food selections were scarce and they up-charged you a 15% service charge regardless of the service received. a Would not cancel our massage during the heavy turbulence going to Tasmania and I got really ill on the table. Paid for a massage that I did not enjoy. I felt sorry for the crew being forced to work in this environment. Also had to organize our own excursions due to limitation of Holland America. I would never cruise on this line again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Thoroughly enjoyed Dave Koz and Friends and the entertainment package!! The actual cruise ship, Noordam, is pitiful. It is dated, worn out, and in need of complete remodeling. The furniture is tired, and the bathroom in our suite never ... Read More
Thoroughly enjoyed Dave Koz and Friends and the entertainment package!! The actual cruise ship, Noordam, is pitiful. It is dated, worn out, and in need of complete remodeling. The furniture is tired, and the bathroom in our suite never looked clean. There is plenty of closet space in the suite which we appreciated. On other cruises when we had a suite, we had concierge like service. On this ship, you need to go to the Neptune lounge for concierge service. The staff on the ship are kind. I can’t say enough about the quality of the entertainment and the host of this cruise. Dave Koz is thoughtful and caring for his clients. His cruise is well planned and complete. They have more for one to do than you can even get to in a day! Would definitely recommend a Dave Koz cruise. However, I would not recommend that he utilize Holland America in the future. This ship, the Noordam, is ready for retirement 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
Not an ardent cruiser but as land tours were really expensive this was a greay way to see New Zealand. I spent 4 nights on my own in Sydney and 3 in Auckland, both great ports. I am not fond of comedians but the comic and ventriloquist ... Read More
Not an ardent cruiser but as land tours were really expensive this was a greay way to see New Zealand. I spent 4 nights on my own in Sydney and 3 in Auckland, both great ports. I am not fond of comedians but the comic and ventriloquist were hilarious. You can't top the Lincoln Center players. Met lots of people on the promenade deck-a great way to keep fit after all the delicious food. Had all breakfastsand dinners in the dining room, more civilized. Milford Sound and the trip through the fjords was worth the trip. The excursions were really good-did 3 ship and 2 private tours. All guides and drivers excellent. The visit to the Maori Marae in Tauranga was really interesting. The culture and history of New Zealand was fascinating. Crew and itinerary made for a wonderful 2 weeks,. Not sure what all the complaints are about. Be glad you can travel. 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
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click