11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Having cruised with a number of different lines over the years we chose our first Holland America cruise recently because of the destinations it was going to in the South Pacific. After having been on the ‘geriatric express’ that is ... Read More
Having cruised with a number of different lines over the years we chose our first Holland America cruise recently because of the destinations it was going to in the South Pacific. After having been on the ‘geriatric express’ that is Princess Cruises (because it was going o PNG) we were a little apprehensive but told that HAL appealed to the more discerning traveller wishing to ‘experience’ fine cuisine and luxury. Interesting. We quickly noted that quite a number of the patrons did seem to be from that precious, tedious class of human beings. A mix of many races and languages with a fair few Americans. Everything on board was very much geared to American tastes and interests. (We ran a little private contest to spot somebody smiling - it took 3 days.) Example: in the middle of the hot Pacific Islands there was an inordinate number trooping off to the Dining Room all decked out in suits or tuxedos and finery. As a person who has spent his whole life wearing suits I sure don’t want to put one on while on holidays in the steamy Pacific. Despite it being school holidays there was only a sprinkling of children on board and they seemed all quiet and well behaved. Cuisine - dull to bad, repetitive with some really awful/silly concoctions. Every night meat and vegetables. Tricked up cafe level food. Very limited selection and in the buffet no self-serve. Instead a ridiculous system whereby you have to lineup (something akin to Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi), state (very quickly) what you want, (having just seen it), be served and step away. The queues grew long and people became very testy. A stupid, demeaning and inefficient system. HAL seem to be trying too hard. They produced numerous attempts at various cuisines but the result was amateurish and generally overcooked. Interestingly we noticed that only about 50% of diners washed their hands when entering. We had booked a transfer to the ship via HAL. When we arrived at the pickup point for the coach, as per instructions, there was nobody there and no coach. We searched everywhere in case we had missed something. Sometime later, back at the original pickup point, a confused mini van driver arrived and asked who we were. Apparently the coach had been cancelled and we’d somehow fallen through the cracks. No apology. Eventually, days later somebody noted the ‘inconvenience’. Incidentally we could have taken a local transfer coach for a third of HAL’s charge. Which brings us to the prices on HAL. All cruise ships tend to rip you off. You’re a captive audience. HAL have the highest prices we have yet seen. Virtually everything from yoga to meditation classes involved a fee. To add insult they place a 15% service charge on their prices at purchase. We also had a few cases of wrong items appearing on our account. Then of course there’s the gratuities where the ships adds $16 per person per day to your account. HAL operates in US dollars so for Australians by the time you add on their service charge and convert to $A and include the card fee we’re paying 50%-60% more for everything. NB Most of the ship’s photos went unsold because of the high prices. In search of a positive about the ship I can quote one that happened by default. The lifts were great and there was no waiting time. This is because there was often nobody about. At times during the evening you could walk through the ship and not see anybody. We are not party animals but what the thousands of passengers were doing I don’t know. Seeking any sort of fun or enjoyment was not for them. The ship had the atmosphere of a well furnished, funeral parlour. There was a venue called BB Kings Blues Club. Probably connected to the BBK franchise in the US. Great I thought. I really like blues. The band looked the part. Their music was tight and slick but in a Michael Jackson sort of way. The music certainly was not blues. No hint of a BBK tribute, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters et al They played everything but - middle of the road elevator music, motown, rock and roll, some great jazzy r & b instrumentals but over two weeks never any blues. Seemed kind of pointless. The onboard cafe with complimentary coffee, tea and snacks which is such a nice feature of Royal Caribbean ships and somewhere pleasant to sit was in this case a multi-purpose games room, library, internet venue with coffee priced higher than downtown Sydney. The shows in the main theatre were mostly lifeless. With a very basic ship’s orchestra struggling along. The daily fair consisted of things like flower arranging or scrabble tournaments. There was string quartet playing Vivaldi, Brahms, Schumann etc. Being familiar with most of their repertoire I can only say that their standard of playing was not particularly good. I stayed away. We met people who were HAL groupies. They all seemed to be nouveau riche types who felt life should be quiet, erudite and dignified. A lot of it appeared a charade on their part. All cruise lines have there good and bad points. It’s just that with HAL it was 60% negative. At least the ship’s decor was in general pleasing to the eye (with some weird exceptions). Not the God-awful hideous stuff you find on say Carnival ships. The staff were all obsequiously pleasant. The crew not so much. HAL with its dubious quest for genteel travel may suit some people but we will continue to seek a happy medium between loud and vulgar and the HAL ‘experience’. Final Note: HAL sent out a questionnaire after the cruise to ascertain passengers degree of satisfaction or otherwise with the HAL ‘experience’. (Why do we have ‘experience’ everything now. You eat meals you don’t experience them, you sleep on a bed you don’t experience it ….. ) Anyway, I thought okay, I’ll give them a fair hearing, as they were keen to get feedback. The online questionnaire crashed twice. That’s when I gave up. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
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
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Unfortunately, HAL has gone downhill in our opinion. We haven't cruised with them for a few years due to dates and prices, so were expecting similar experiences that we had before. The ship itself is kept extremely clean and ... Read More
Unfortunately, HAL has gone downhill in our opinion. We haven't cruised with them for a few years due to dates and prices, so were expecting similar experiences that we had before. The ship itself is kept extremely clean and the staff are wonderful. The main issues were the food, entertainment and the Loft (lack of). Firstly, the food in the main dining room for the first few days of the cruises was very uninspiring. It was hard to find something to eat. The food did improve. Cannot fault the wait, wine and front of restaurant staff, they were very friendly and always smiling. The entertainment was very poor, the entertainment that did come on to the ship were very good (in particular Patrick McMahon) but there wasn't enough. In one week they had two guest artists that played individually and then together one night. Also, on two nights they should movies. We don't get the chance to see live entertainment much because of children so in the past the cruise night time entertainment was something to look forward to. There is BB Kings that play 3 times a night. They are good but unfortunately both singers got sick at the end of the cruise so they weren't able to sing and the head office wouldn't let anyone else stand in for them. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
I have just returned from a Vanuatu, New Caledonia 14 day cruise from Sydney returning back to Sydney cruise, and it was fabulous. What fantastic service, what wonderful delicious food served every day! I could not find a thing to complain ... Read More
I have just returned from a Vanuatu, New Caledonia 14 day cruise from Sydney returning back to Sydney cruise, and it was fabulous. What fantastic service, what wonderful delicious food served every day! I could not find a thing to complain about, sure the ship is a little worse for wear, and it can definitely do with a renovation, which I believe is going to happen at the end of 2019, or so I was told, but it is kept spotlessly clean at all times. And nothing is too much trouble for any crew.I loved the Dine-In free of charge cabin service to all cabins, 24 hours a day. I had the best mushroom vegetable omelette with goats cheese on top every morning, it came out hot and delicious. The toast often wasn't but that didn't worry me! Every meal I had, except for one, where the turkey schnitzel was a little dry, but it was replaced immediately. The ship does seem to cater for a more mature clientele, but once again that didn't bother me. I could choose from at least a thousand movies for my cabin DVD player free of charge, you order, a steward delivers and picks it up again, fantastic! Fresh fruit for my basket supplied daily without being asked. Beautiful great quality toiletries suppled as well. As I am not as mobile as I used to be, I cannot say what the actual Islands were like, as I did not get off, but fellow passengers were all impressed on their return. The only complaint I have are the 'compulsory gratuities' that are charged at US$14.50 every day, but in the long run they did deserve this tip and I am accepting of it! It used to be that you could remove it on going to the Service Desk, but I was told that now you must fill in a form to give the reason why you don't wish to pay it! But that is not the ship's fault but HAL! All in all I just loved the ship and can't wait to rebook another one with them Thank you Noordam! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
When we booked the cruise we were unaware that our departure was from the White Bay Cruise Terminal. Only good point was you sail right under the Harbour Bridge. On the back deck when leaving Sydney, the atmosphere was very lack luster, no ... Read More
When we booked the cruise we were unaware that our departure was from the White Bay Cruise Terminal. Only good point was you sail right under the Harbour Bridge. On the back deck when leaving Sydney, the atmosphere was very lack luster, no music to signal the start of the journey, although there were drinks available, you had to guess if they were alcoholic or not. There was no photographer taking photos for international tourists to capture the harbour sights either. The ship is in urgent need of upgrade and looks tired and dated. It is due for a refit towards the end of the year - this is only internal. There were issues with the airconditioner being cold, so they ran the ship on four generators to warm it up and when the swell got bigger, turned the fifth generator back on. When running on the lesser generators they also experienced electrical and power issues. Food in the Lido Market was below par and what was there for lunch appeared at dinner with a different name. We asked what the temperature of the food bays were set at and the reply " I don't know it isn't my area". I had yoghurt for breakfast and could almost pour it into a cup to drink. The desserts were in this same fridge and were never at the correct temperature. The meals from the hot bays were luke warm, the plates on the other hand were extremely hot and at times unsafe to carry back to the table unless you brought your napkin. The serving staff were hit and miss with personality.Our cabin was a verandah and adequate for the two of us and our stewards who cleaned it daily were accommodating and . The entertainment we found to be enjoyable and the people we met also had mixed views about the staff and overall appearance of the ship. We had 4 shore excursions - Port Arthur, Hobart, Adelaide and Kangaroo Island. As these are all in US dollars research if there are companies that provide similar tours that can be booked from Australia to avoid the exchange rates. We enjoyed all our tours and only had one bad experience when in Kangaroo Island. Our 9 hour tour was uncomfortable as the airconditioning on the bus packed in 45 minutes into the tour and there were no other coaches available. The temperature inside the bus got to around 38 degress. The driver attempted to do all he could to make the best out of the situation, but by the end all us passengers couldn't wait to get of the coach and board the ship and get cold drinks. When we complained we were advised we would received a 15%refund that only equated to $60 dollars from a tour that was more than $300 USD. Should have pushed for a full refund. The only port where we felt welcomed was in South Australia were there was a bush band singing at arrivals and volunteers waiting to direct us to the buses, taxis or train to the city. The disembarkation at the ports was well managed and even the days we needed to use the tender boats. As I have used HAL prior, I was looking forward to sharing the experience with my son for his first cruise. Overall, regardless of the flaws mentioned, we had a relaxing time, but next time we cruise, will look at another company to compare the service and atmosphere. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
All ports were good. Cruise Tours were very expensive so we organised our own. Left from White Bay and getting aboard was smooth and easy. Once we departed things were a bit disorganised. On stern pool deck there was a table of drinks but ... Read More
All ports were good. Cruise Tours were very expensive so we organised our own. Left from White Bay and getting aboard was smooth and easy. Once we departed things were a bit disorganised. On stern pool deck there was a table of drinks but no assistance from wait staff as to price/type of cocktail. There was none of the usual atmosphere of departure (same at every port). Only advantage was going under Harbour Bridge. Cabin was fine albeit a pretty small balcony. Whole ship needs a real freshen up/full refurb. Lido lounge food was average. Some hot foods not hot but if asked for fresh cooked steak/fish then this was done (that's the clue!). Breakfast omelette was the best choice. Entertainment was very ordinary. Magician/Comedian was good. movies were on a very small screen and sound ordinary. Cabin staff were excellent. Stern Pool Bar staff were great, especially Troy! This ship seems to cater to older travellers. I'm 58 and there weren't many younger than me. Most people we spoke to were not happy with entertainment, bar times, Lido Market food. The day time food demos were good. Trivia bar quizzes were ok as were bar happy hours (if you could work out where/times). in summary, cabin was very good, quiet. Whole ship was immaculately clean. All Bar staff and some Lido Market staff were excellent. Dining Room was top shelf, staff, ambience and food. Would I travel Noordam again? No.Have travelled Celebrity before and they are chalk and cheese apart. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise mainly due to the Australian itinerary & to see Kangaroo Island. We had low expectations of the condition of the Noordam given the reviews I had read were not very complimentary about the condition of the ship. ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly due to the Australian itinerary & to see Kangaroo Island. We had low expectations of the condition of the Noordam given the reviews I had read were not very complimentary about the condition of the ship. We were pleasantly surprised that it really wasn’t as bad as some of the reviews I had read had indicated. Yes the ship is due for refurbishment but the staff seem to go to enormous lengths to try and keep everything as pristine as possible. Our embarkation time was 1pm at White Bay Terminal. We had to wait in the queue for about 1.5 hours as it seemed a lot of other people decided to ignore their dedicated time and come earlier. We went to the mandatory safety muster but for some odd reason our passes didn’t register as having attended and we kept on receiving letters in our cabin telling us we had to do it until we went to reception to get it sorted out. Leaving Sydney harbour on a sunny afternoon is nothing short of spectacular even though we live in Sydney it is an amazing experience. We had an aft facing balcony cabin 8145 which was just under the Lido deck. Walking to and from the back of the ship was never an issue for us. The room was reasonably spacious with plenty of cupboard space. The only issue was the chair scraping noise coming from the Lido deck about 5:30am every morning. The noise lasted about 20 minutes. We would definitely book an aft cabin again as it’s wonderful watching the wake while sitting on the balcony. I would make sure it’s not under the Lido in future. We found the main dining room food ok. We went to Canaletto three times as the food is amazing along with the service and for an extra USD15 it is definitely worth it. We also went to the Pinnacle Grill twice although we preferred Canaletto. We loved the refined style of service on the ship. It was really good to not have pushy photographers like some other cruise lines and while there are lovely art works to view there were no dodgy art auctions either. Kangaroo Island is very beautiful. We did the day tour through the ship which went to Admirals Arch, Remarkable rocks and Hansen Bay Koala Park. While we thought the tour was extremely expensive through the ship we wanted the piece of mind as there is quite a lot of road travel involved. Lunch was included in the tour and there was loads of sandwiches available so no one would have gone hungry as there were many spare after lunch. There is no iPhone reception on the island and I was relieved we didn’t do our own tour as we would have had no way of contacting anyone if something went wrong. This was our first time on a HAL ship and I would definitely go on one again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this as Holland America once had a good reputation for cruises. The dining was very poor quality food with very little choices offered ( no turkey for Christmas day dinner). The ship is very outdated and in dire need of major ... Read More
We chose this as Holland America once had a good reputation for cruises. The dining was very poor quality food with very little choices offered ( no turkey for Christmas day dinner). The ship is very outdated and in dire need of major refurbishment and we found that the balcony in our cabin to be extremely small given the extra cost paid to have one. Only just about enough room for two deck chairs. We found that it compares very badly with its competition eg Celebrity Cruises. Entertainment on board only moderate to fair and very limited. Port and shore excursions were quite good and well organised with an interesting variety. Neither I or my partner would recommend Holland America line for any cruises on the the Noordam unless as stated previously that it improved the quality and choices in its dining room and a full refurbishment of this ship. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Overall Rating - Pacific Isles, Tasman & Bass Srts 1/5 We have completed over 50 cruises including World cruises on Cunard, Celebrity, Princess et al, with another booked in April on Celebrity Solstice. This cruise on the ... Read More
Overall Rating - Pacific Isles, Tasman & Bass Srts 1/5 We have completed over 50 cruises including World cruises on Cunard, Celebrity, Princess et al, with another booked in April on Celebrity Solstice. This cruise on the Noordam has been our worst ever, never to be repeated. I do not enjoy writing a bad review, but this needed to be said, honestly and fairly as it happened. Here is a sampling: ship and verandah room in disrepair (visible rust everywhere, wallpaper peeling, bedding old and uncomfortable), food lackluster (served luke warm, absent seasoning in Lido and Main), evident influenza epidemic, but only a warning issued of “Seasonal Flu” at the end of 1st segment). We cannot help but believe that this cruise cut corners at every level. It was short on entertainment (except for Noordam singers & dancers), food quality (except for Canaletto), things to do, dilapidation of the ship (rusting in every corner). Frankly, there is too much competition and too may choices of better cruise lines, and we have sailed with many. Further, the Australia routes are gouged price wise compared to USA and European routes, but then again, Australia is gouged at every level anyway as an easy unsuspecting target. Stateroom Location #8134 AFT: 1/5 What a terrible mistake we made through our Agent. The Navigation deck AFT is right below the pool deck area. Constant moving of chairs beginning at 5.30am every day and picking up around mid morning and mid afternoon. Also the room is too small, making it difficult to navigate. Barely room to walk past the bed! The deck is so small it does not serve any useful purpose., so it went unused. Our previous cruise on the Noordam we had a Neptune Suite. Finally, refuse from the above pool deck collects on the small balcony! The TV is located to the right of the balcony sliding doors, where you need to be a contortionist to see it! Conclusion: Be prepared to pay the significantly extra cost for a Neptune or Mini Suite, otherwise pass on the Noordam. We will pass anyway. Too many other choices of great cruise lines. Ship Quality: 1/5 Sorry, this ship is very much in need of a complete renovation. The ship was already tired during our last voyage, 2 years ago. and it is worse on this cruise. The only reason for taking this cruise again was a decision to take a cruise over the Xmas/NY Season. Rust and corrosion everywhere, dingy carpeting, peeling wallpaper. Conclusion: This ship has not been maintained. We did not see one person painting rust during the 2 segments. During our quarantine for illness for 5 days, the balcony wash washed down very briefly and poorly once, insufficient to remove the debris collected from the above pool deck! We suggest waiting until the renovation takes place if you are considering the Noordam! Health & Influenza: 1/5 We encountered several passengers who were down with either the gastro infections, the flu or the Influenza virus. We took every precaution to avoid it, unsuccessfully. There had been no alert issued by the Noordam. Notwithstanding taking every precaution to avoid infection, I first contracted gastro infection, then my wife came down with the flu, then I came down with influenza, which was horrible, quarantined to the cabin for 5 days. There was neither any mention nor WARNING of these pervasive infections from Noordam until the last day of the 1st segment to be aware of “Seasonal Flu”. Evidently Noordam management opted to put their head in the sand, and let the passengers fend for themselves! It seems the preference is to raise no alert! Restaurants: 2/5 Canaletto (Service and Food) – Syarif & attendants great servce 5/5 Pinnacle Grill (Service Excellent, food very good) – Stephen and Wohan great service 5/5 Main (Gilroy tries hard but all other Service fair, food poor) 1/5 Lido (no trays available, table service very good, ) Food station service poor, food poor) 1/5 Kyrisha @ Pasta Station has consistently poor attitude, having observed her rudeness with passengers over the course of the Cruise. If you prefer hot food, you will need to pay extra at the Canaletto or the Pinnacle. We had food delivered to the room several times from the Canaletto and the Pinnacle, but it would arrive warm or cold. Entertainment: average at best 2/5 Noordam singers and Dancers 5/5 Other entertainment (Comedians, Magicians etc) 1/5 Cruise Director 1/5 Constant barrage of announcements made by Jae, Cruise Director,who likes to hear himself over the speaker morning noon and night, with little tangible effort beyond that. Spoke directly with the Jae on New Years Eve, questioning why there were no chairs provided on the Lido deck. He responded in an insolent, rude and undignified manner, and laid the blame squarely on a decision and directive made by Home Office that no chairs should be provided. If this is true, and if this is the level of Head Office involvement on the Noordam, what is the need for Jae? Both my wife and I agreed that this must have been a decision taken on the Noordam, with Jae shifting blame for a stupid decision, and an unwillingness to take any responsibility for a stupid decision. Then, for the final stage performance by the Noordam Singers and Dancers, with all passengers having been kept waiting15 minutes past start time, Jae, Cruise Director, arrived on stage as though all is great, asking how everyone is enjoying the cruise, only to announce that due to audio problems, the show has been cancelled. This is clearly Jae’s responsibility to ensure all systems are a go, where audio etc should be validated well prior to the performance. This is yet another example of the ineptness, with no admission of responsibility nor apology. We have been on many cruises where the Cruise Director steps up when needed. Not in this case. Guest Services: Request to move to a Suite 2/5 We spoke with Guest Services at the start of our cruise on the 1st segment, requesting to move from #8134. A Neptune Suite was available. We were quoted an extra US$4,000 for the upgrade on the 1st segment only, with no guarantee on the 2nd segment, or where we would be located! We offered US$2,500 given the move and the uncertainty for the 2nd segment. Guest Services countered with their final offer of US$3,500. We passed. We requested an upgrade to a mini suite on the 2nd segment. After two calls to follow up with guest services, being informed they were checking with Corporate, and in the middle of the 2nd segment without a response, we contacted guest services a 3rd time asking why they had not extended the courtesy of a response. They were failed to provide any reasonable response, simply apologizing profusely. Festivities: 2/5 Christmas Eve & Day Celebrations – very basic 2/5 New Year Eve Celebration 2/5 Both celebrations missed the mark by a long shot. Nothing special or memorable offered. NYE celebrations were held on the Lido decks, with windy conditions outside, and NO CHAIRS provided inside. Room Service 2/5 Since we were ill and isolated in our cabin, we were required to order room service. The order taking over the telephone resulted in incorrect deliveries, cold food, one very late delivery on the Canaletto, with totally COLD food (where it had been sitting for some time), or missing items. On one occasion room service called us to see if we enjoyed our meal. We responded we were still waiting for it to be delivered. Embarkation Sydney: 5/5 Fast check in, went smoothly. Bags arrived at Stateroom before us! Suggestion: arrive at port around 2pm after the crowd for easy no hassle check in. Disembarkation Ports & Tenders: 5/5 Few wait lines, efficiently handled Ports of Call: 3/5 1st Segment: Mostly Island beaches and sparsely populated. You need to like beaches and seclusion with few things to do. The French in New Caledonia were neither warm nor friendly, living up to the French reputation. Non French Islanders were warm and receptive, appreciative of the Tourist Dollars. The Noordam failed to deliver nightly information in advance of ports of call, which is a first! The weather was mixed and unpredictable. 2nd segment: limited with Port Arthur (a must see for Australia history), Auckland, Adelaide, and Kangaroo Island, collectively difficult to justify. Spa Thermal Pool 3/5 Upon boarding the Noordam we visited the Spa to sign up for the Hydra pool package, only to be told they were sold out! We enjoyed this on our prior cruise on the Noordam. We were able to sign up on port days in the afternoons. We were able to sign up for the package on the 2nd segment, but since we came down with influenza, we had to cancel. The package is definitely worth it, as it is one of the few things worthy on the Noordam. Spa Hairdresser 5/5 Sally gave cuts and styling to both my wife and self. Sally was very professional and gave great cuts and styles. Stores on board: 2/5 General items are sparse. Purchased needed items at port visits. Internet 1/5 Signed up for the package with full access excluding video. The Internet Is VERY SLOW, and often kicked me off the Internet entirely, or unable to connect. It was Impossible to search on the Web. Its only use was emails & basics, if you can connect! This Internet Service is in serious need of an upgrade, comparable with the Internet connections available on more advanced liners Reception: 5/5 Responsive.. Standout is “Roma”. Be prepared for long lines. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This was my fifth cruise. First time with HAL. Booked at last minute due to price and itinerary. Booked a guarantee VH verandah cabin and received a VC cabin on deck 5. Very happy with cabin. Loved that the cabin came with full ... Read More
This was my fifth cruise. First time with HAL. Booked at last minute due to price and itinerary. Booked a guarantee VH verandah cabin and received a VC cabin on deck 5. Very happy with cabin. Loved that the cabin came with full length bathrobes and Ellis products and bar fridge that actually worked. Bed very comfy and stewards worked hard to keep cabin spotless. Aircon worked well. Had early dinner most nights in MDR. Food was tasty and hot and service was exemplary from all staff. Had breakfast in the MDR twice. Food was great but service was not on first visit. 2nd time it was much better. Lido deck buffet had lots of healthy options which was great. Often took my food out to the tables next to the lido deck pool as I found the aircon in the buffet area too cool. Service in lido buffet was always friendly and efficient. I didn't go to many of the shows but I went to all the informative talks in the vista lounge on subjects related to the areas we were cruising. War History in PNG, Sociology in the Pacific, talk from a reef pilot. All very interesting. Some parts of the ship were cold from the aircon especially midship and the vista lounge. Make sure you pack a light throw or some similar. Average age was 60 upwards. I am a decade younger and had a lovely time. Everyone was friendly. There was only about a dozen kids on board. They seemed to be having fun in the pool. I did a spin class in the gym and was impressed. Great instructor and equipment. I didn't use the pool much as it was too warm. 30c most days. Felt more like a warm bath. $20 bag of laundry was excellent value. Came back next day. I liked the feel of this ship. With 1900 passengers it never felt crowded. Tenders ran smoothly and there was never much of a wait. We visited PNG and FNQ. All ports were interesting. Pre-booked quite a few ship tours. Also did a private tour and explored on my own or with friends met on board. All went smoothly. Apart from the pool, I have no complaints and would book the Noordam again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Background and embarkation We chose this cruise as we had been to New Guinea only once and the ports appeared interesting. and it has been on our list for some time. The other reason for choosing this cruise being to experience the ... Read More
Background and embarkation We chose this cruise as we had been to New Guinea only once and the ports appeared interesting. and it has been on our list for some time. The other reason for choosing this cruise being to experience the Noordam, we had previously cruised on her sister ship “Oosterdam”, a ship we were quite fond of, so we were eager to revisit this class of HAL ship again. We stayed overnight in Sydney at Novotel Darling Harbour Square, we are Accor members and we received a great online deal from them, so we duly chose to stay there at an excellent tariff. We managed to score a newly renovated room with a view of the Chinese Gardens, quite a large room, with a comfortable bed and firm pillow, all the mod cons, friendly staff, we would stay again. Next morning, we were able to walk up to the Captain Cook wharf in Darling Harbour, buy tickets and we were ferried over to White Bay. HAL had hired a bus to drop people off and pick people up at the ferry wharf, very thoughtful indeed HAL. There were two ships at White Bay that day, HAL Noordam at the terminal, and P&O Explorer (previously Dawn Princess) tied up nearer the ferry wharf with a large marquee set up to disembark and embark passengers. We are 3-star mariners with HAL, after the suite, 4- and 5-star mariners registered for embarkation we were next to provide all our details to terminal staff to embark. 15 minutes later we were on the ship and in our room. We had ordered some drinks for our consumption in the room, not all had arrived as ordered, after a call to room service, not even 10 minutes late the drinks arrived. My wife’s bag arrived in the interim, however, not mine. My wife unpacked and after an hour and a half later I heard someone drop something near our door, I quickly opened the door to see someone scurrying down the corridor after they had dropped my bag off with the top handle hanging off one end, and one wheel broken. I took some pictures for evidence, that were date stamped, and a few days later took the bag down to Guest Services. Young Jay took down all the details in an incident reports after I showed him the pictures and brought the bag down. He said they would fix it if possible, and bring the bag back to us in a few days. He did just that, the bag appeared to be fixed, however, I did warn him that if a wheels and handles are broken, 99% of the time they will break again. After we disembarked, we claimed our bags, and my bag had a wheel broken, it was reported to the terminal staff and a report was alleged to be sent to HAL for compensation, to date (7-1-2019) we have had no communication from HAL at all in relation to the broken bag!! Ship information The ship is not new obviously, however, the ship has been kept in very good condition overall, the artefacts are excellent, the public areas are spacious overall, with many separate areas to be seated. It felt like an ocean liner, not a cruise ship, don’t alter it too much HAL, many people still like this type of ship as it stands/sails. Well done HAL, the public areas are clean and well maintained, the restaurants were in good condition, and the external condition of the ship and teak decks were good. Teak chairs on the promenade deck are still intact, another big tick for HAL. The library is huge, excellent choice of books, coffee shop seating is very limited, perhaps they can enlarge the seating area, and shrink the library by 10 square metres. Crows Nest at front of the ship on deck 10 is magic, don’t change it HAL, it is a fantastic area, with a breathtaking view. Activities The activities were various as they are on other lines, we attended several lectures about what had occurred in WW2 in New Guinea, they were very informative and interesting. We didn’t attend trivia this time, so not sure how good it was on this ship. However, there seemed to be a large varied of activities each day outlined on the daily program. Service Main negative was the relatively ordinary service of our two cabin stewards. There were no cards with their names in the room, until the last 4 days, after we gave them 3 chances to redeem themselves. One of them introduced himself the next day, and said he had a partner helping him with cleaning and maintaining the room. This man appeared to be invisible until he introduced himself 3 days later. They made the bed every morning, and cleaned the bathroom, turned the bed down in the evening, and provide towel animals and 2 chocolates every night. We left notes on at least 4 occasions to vacuum the floor, provide soap, as we had 2 sinks, a bath and a shower, and replace moisturiser, baths salts, shower cap, and clean the bench tops in main cabin area. With 4 days to go to the end of the cruise we were over it, we complained to guest services, this was cruise number 44, and these men were seriously the worst ever, and we were in a suite, they are supposed to be the best staff who would have been promoted, well not these guys. There were several rooms vacant on this cruise that they did not have to service, we think they were very lazy indeed. Most people that were in their service area were interviewed it would appear by the assistant Head Housekeeper and his offsider. They spoke to us about the problems around midday. We informed them that our room would normally not have been serviced by then, although in the defence of the room stewards; they serviced our room the second and third days when we left the service our room card in the door key slot outside. We did that every day, in the morning and in the evening when we went to dinner. On more than one occasion we told them that we were leaving the room and could they service it while we were away, that didn’t occur on the majority of occasions, sometimes it wasn’t serviced until after 1 pm, and after 9 pm several times when we returned from dinner. Service improved last 3 days after we had complained, one of them apologised, however, only on one occasion did he call me by name, he did not call my wife by name at any stage, nor did the other steward call me by name of my wife, this was the first time in 44 cruises that this had occurred. It would appear from the slack and poor service most of the cruise that they did not respect us, as we always used their name each time, we spoke to them, however, that was not reciprocal from them, and it would appear they thought they would “get away with it’ not cleaning the room properly each time, or at all on some occasions. Lastly, our balcony was filthy dirty for the first 4 days, when we left notes on day 4 to vacuum, we also asked them to clean the balcony, they did on that occasion. However, they slacked off again one day later, so we left notes every day for jobs to be done, to leave a shower cap, moisturiser, whatever, actually they received 6,7, 8 chances, strike 9 you are out!! Well on the band wagon and back to other staff, client services staff overall were good on this cruise, on Zaandam in late January, February 2018 in South America and Antarctica they were extremely rude and not accommodating with just about everything. That was sorted, when we received an apologetic email from the CEO’s executive assistant some weeks after we came home, we were impressed with that. It was refreshing to see both female and male staff on the counter at guest services, Zaandam were all female and they weren’t being managed well, so rude to many of the passengers they thought they would not be challenged, well they were wrong. Jay was a standout, he was extremely polite and very helpful and knowledgeable on every occasion, as was two other males who we spoke to, and two females. Only one downside, one female who we submitted a form with, it would appear did not submit the form for entry in the computer. We checked on the last night with a male staff member and he stated they had no record if it, then he entered the information manually. On the whole they actually solved problems, were not over assertive, or aggressive, as some others were on Zaandam, they do not try to dismiss your problem, and hope you go away! Restaurant staff were really quite good, standout was Dani, one of the men at the door who allocated tables, every night he tried his best to meet our needs, well done Dani. We ate lunch in the restaurant on several occasions and had breakfast twice in the restaurant, it was easier to eat in the Lido, as we walk every morning, and restaurant opening times did not suit. We were very impressed with Luis, the Bar and Restaurant Manager, he spoke with us on two occasions, he is very professional and “hands on”, a breath of fresh air to HAL, we know he had extensive experience with several cruise lines in a similar role, this man innovative, opened the restaurant for lunch on a port day, loved it, he is visible in the restaurant on almost every night, be speaks to staff on the run discreetly, he is the best we have seen in the last 10 years on any cruise line, keep this man and ask him to train many like him, he is the best! Farid, and many other waiters were good, and others were improving throughout the cruise thanks to Luis coaching and mentoring them. Staff in Lido, both cooks, chefs, food servers and wait staff were nearly always very helpful, courteous, and went out of their way to assist people, serve drinks, coffee, and tea, well done people! Nica, was a standout for me, she went down to the galley to find breakfast cereal for us, as they had run out of the cereal we like with fibre, she was fantastic. Food in the Lido, was very good, huge improvement from MSC Divina, food was bland, cold, and very little variety. Not on HAL so much variety, so many stations where food is cooked fresh, Asian/Indian food in Lido is outstanding at lunch on most days. Officers seemed friendly, and noticeable around the ship. Engineering and maintenance staff appeared to be were always working hard to maintain the ship, well done! Bar stewards in restaurant and Lido were overall really good, Liany, Jeycel, Kurt, who served us mainly, were really knowledgeable, friendly, and on the ball, well done people! Overall, apart from a few the majority of HAL staff on Noordam are quite good. Just a suggestion to HAL, we have found room stewards from the Philippines to be the best, very friendly, courteous, respectful, very efficient and effective in their roles. Port & shore excursions We enjoyed the excursion in Airlie Beach to the Crocodile Safari, Proserpine River. Very informative, educational, adventurous, great BBQ lunch, we would recommend it. Cabin We booked a balcony cabin originally, however the cruise was heavily discounted by HAL a few months prior to leaving, out travel agent asked HAL for an upgrade and we received an upgrade to a signature suite. Cabin was very large as was the balcony, overall it was in good condition. Large lounge, two large comfortable chairs, very small older TV, bed was very comfortable, pillows could have been firmer, however ok. Bathroom is little dated, however, was in good condition. Cabin had a bath and a shower, horrible shower curtain, please HAL invest in a safety glass shower door, similar to HAL Koningsdam, best shower and bathroom on the seas, to date! Balcony was very dirty, was cleaned after we complained on day 4 why had they not cleaned it, they put cushions out each day, surely, they noticed. Balcony when finally, cleaned and habitable, was really large, included a table and two chairs and two large cane chairs, large cane foot stools, and a small table for drinks. Dining Due largely to the new Bar and Restaurant Manager, Luis, the staff in the restaurant, in Lido, and bar staff were very good. Breakfast menu in the restaurant is comprehensive, very good, food quality is good, and meals are warm to hot. Lunch variety in the menus are limited, however, on the several occasions we went to lunch in the restaurant we found the food to be of good quality, and worth the decision to attend. Lunch on a port day was a great innovation, need to advertise it more, moist people didn’t notice it was open. HAL please open the restaurant at lunch longer than one-hour midday to 1 pm, most people eat between 12.30 pm and 2 pm, be a bit more flexible! We attended the main restaurant for dinner every night. The variety and quality of the food was very good, I was very pleased to see surf and turf on the last formal night menu, thanks HAL don’t take it off the menu, it was a very tasty meal indeed! Best barramundi I have eaten on any ship, coated in crushed macadamia nuts, with excellent accompaniments, wow! Lido food for breakfast is very good, smoked salmon is presented beautifully, and is delicious with freshly cooked eggs, or omelettes, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, English bacon etc, well done HAL Noordam. Good variety of breakfast cereal, Aussie milk and yoghurts, fresh fruit, pancakes, it is fantastic, more seating on some days as peak time is sometimes a problem, anyway, not insurmountable. Lunch in Lido had freshly made Asian and Indian food, different menu each day, in our opinion, it is the best fresh served food on any ship anywhere in the world, it is delicious, hot and the food service is fast and vey efficient. Pasta station is also very good, mainly fresh food and tasty, pizza is tasty, however, could HAL have a special pizza every day, for variety and the taste buds please. Turkey, sandwiches, potato chips, salads, desserts, and beautiful ice cream every day is a delight, we loved Lido food. Dinner was not as good, variety not quite up to normal standards, we didn’t eat dinner thee, however we looked each night to see what was available. However, improve dinner variety and Lido will be best buffet at sea! We like the Dive In burgers and chips, and the Mexican food, if kept away from the heat, and insects. The burgers were better on Zaandam, perhaps the cooks were better, our burgers were overcooked, otherwise tasted ok. Entertainment Most guest entertainers that we managed to see were good. The ship entertainment group had some very good singers amongst them, we watched one show, it was very entertaining. The BBC wildlife video accompanied by the orchestra and violins was magnificent. Lincoln stage was reported to be magic, we weren’t able to reach the performance on time as we had dinner, shame, we hear it was well worth it. Disembarkation No problem, we waited for our allotted number and colour and disembarked, found our bags. My bag had a wheel broken, again, as I indicated earlier in this report, we reported it to terminal staff, incident report sent to HAL, HAL yet to respond. Summary Apart cabin staff issues that didn’t end well for them, we had a very enjoyable time. The ship was in reasonable condition, great artefacts and venues, many of the dining staff and the food quality in restaurant and Lido venues and the menus won the day overall for us. We will return to HAL again we booked a cruise in January on Noordam, so here we go again! One major issue for HAL, Princess, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity have service/gratuities included in their cruise costs, don’t add them on every day, they are in $US dollars and it takes the shine off everyone’s’ holiday experience. Alcoholic beverages are outrageously priced, all cruise lines buy these beverages at less than duty free prices. Sure, you need to make a profit, not a killing on beverages, provide reasonable prices onboard, and reduce the prices of all drinks please. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise because we wanted to have Christmas and New Year on a cruise and the HAL had been recommended by some American friends. We had a wonderful surprise when we were upgraded from a SS midship to a Neptune suite at the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to have Christmas and New Year on a cruise and the HAL had been recommended by some American friends. We had a wonderful surprise when we were upgraded from a SS midship to a Neptune suite at the back of the ship.A really big cabin with an L shaped veranda at the back. Having access to the Neptune lounge was a plus, the 2 concierges could not have been more friendly and helpful and the free capuchino was another plus! As a handicapped person I did find the long distances to other places on the ship was a problem,which was why we booked midship, but we worked around that problem by choosing room service a lot of the time.We had some problems the first few days, with cold food and missing items, but after a visit to the desk and a talk with Gilroy, the maitre d, it was soon fixed. Our main problem, which caused us to leave the cruise after the 1st section, was the ship's doctor.We had problems understanding him, and the other medical staff, and he did not seem to understand us.He seemed to be very unsure about what procedure to take, even after speaking to my own home doctor on the phone. He did not seem to have had any experience with my problem, a U.T.I. and said that he was not happy about me staying onboard for the last 2 weeks of the cruise in case the infection got worse and he would have no facilities to help if we were at sea or in the small islands that were next on the itinerary. So we had to leave the cruise after the 1st 2 weeks of what should have been 4 wonderful weeks. So much for our much anticipated month in the Pacific!! Now I have to deal with our travel insurance office and try to get reimbursed for the 2 weeks we missed. NOT how I expected to be spending my time at New Year!! This was our 1st and last cruise with H.A.L. after 27 cruises with Princess I think we will be staying with them. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We had sailed with HAL on 3 previous cruises. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and had just been on Celebrity Solstice six weeks prior to this one and so comparisons between them were fresh in our minds. Where Solstice is clean ... Read More
We had sailed with HAL on 3 previous cruises. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and had just been on Celebrity Solstice six weeks prior to this one and so comparisons between them were fresh in our minds. Where Solstice is clean crisp lines with what we thought were much higher ceilings, Noordam is lower ceiling, less open spaces, fine arts but darkened lounge areas. Noordam did not come close to Solstice from the quality of their food, attention to detail and service of the crew. Embarkation for Noordam was slow. Our cabin was spotless our only complaint were the lumpy pillows. Our attendants always had a smile and were happy to assist to meet our needs. Dining - this is one of the features of cruising that we enjoy and were let down terribly. The menu selection and quality of food was poor, even in the Pinnacle Grill. We thought the standard in the Main Dining Room had dropped from our previous cruise with HAL but had improved measurably in the Buffet Dining (Lido). At all three dining venues we found the selection of deserts (and slices) disappointing. The attention to hygiene on board the ship was lacking. Rarely did we see a crew member ensuring that passengers used the sanitizers before entering the dining areas. The Air conditioning was poorly balanced and some areas of the ship were warm and others were very cold. Hence there were a lot of sick people on board. In the theatre during lecture and showtime there was constant coughing by passengers. Activities - not a great deal of variety or imagination used in planning the activity programme. The Test Kitchen was American food which was not to the Australian culinary style. exc Talks - Two great speakers were the Barrier Reef Pilot and Brian Stoddart who did a series on the Pacific the influences through history, art, internationalisation etc. The other speaker did a series on World War II in the Pacific is content was very disappointing. Entertainment - The highlight was the Planet Earth documentary accompanied by the String Quartet and Band. Fantastic! Mix of entertainers and three dance/shows. The BB King had us all tapping along with the music - they were great. Our first port of call was Gladstone....A wasted day. Not much to do or see the city tour included pointing out Bunnings and the local Library as sites of the town! Alotaou was not so much scenic as historically interesting port. If you are interested in the Second World War and the fighting in Milne Bay you will find doing a tour/excursion worthwhile. You will find locals portside who will take you on a tour of Alotaou. The next 2 ports were Kiriwina and Kitava Islands. Both beautiful islands where you can meet friendly tribal people These islands surpass the South Pacific Islands for swimming and snorkling in their lovely clear coral waters. You could buy wooden bowls carved by the village men or woven bags from the ladies. They do appreciate KENNA currency. Buy your currency before you leave home. Dont buy it off HAL they would not take back any unused currency (and they could sell you notes in poor condition that a bank will not accept - this happened to one passenger on our cruise). Next stop was Conflict Islands - this is a group of Islands owned by an Australian. It is very picturesque but very commercialized. (Buy any carvings or bags on this Island and expect to pay at least four times the price as on the other two islands... and you are not buying from the tribes person direct.) Our other ports were Cairns (Yorkies Knob) and Airlie Beach and then Brisbane. This cruise is not a cruise for those with disability issues. Only 3 ports were to a dock, five ports were by tender. The tenders were efficiently run and we did have to wait more than a couple of minutes at each port. It was extremely hot and it was lovely to have ice water and iced handtowels to greet us on and off the islands. One thing we did appreciate was the limited "on-sell" of spa, dining & drinks packages. It only occurred the first day or two. There are two issues that really were unsatisfactory.... 1. US$25 per person to get a shuttle bus from the wharf to Brisbane CBD. At Airlie Beach we paid A$5 in Australian dollars. Didn't add up paying Australian dollars on one occasion and USA dollars (at an exorbitant price) on the other. 2. No Christmas Carols on board the ships PA system. The ship was decorated with Christmas Decorations but no music. At requesting at the Guest Relations for some Carols to be played on the PA we were advised that the company had made a directive that no HOLIDAY MUSIC be played until the 22nd December. Yet they were quite happy for us to pay the ship's photographer to take "our CHRISTMAS PHOTO taken by the CHRISTMAS TREE". This is not the cruise line for children.. and especially around Christmas time. We were so disappointed at not being put into the Christmas spirit, that I doubt we will ever go on a cruise at Christmastime again with HAL. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Holland America Line only does this cruise once yearly, and I've looked a it for 5 years, ALWAYS over American Thanksgiving or Christmas. This year they snuck it in between the two, so I jumped on it! It is definitely a tropical ... Read More
Holland America Line only does this cruise once yearly, and I've looked a it for 5 years, ALWAYS over American Thanksgiving or Christmas. This year they snuck it in between the two, so I jumped on it! It is definitely a tropical vacation, much like a South Sea Isles, without the foreign languages. Paupua New Guinea kept going from good to better to amazing, then Conflict Islands, WOAH! Each and every port had some amazing choices for shore excursions for those of us who had never been to this part of the world before. Since I still work and can only get a few weeks off at a time, I flew to Sidney 2 days early to get my bearings. The Four Seasons where HAL put us up was lovely and withing footsteps of The Rocks, lots of eating and drinking, and not far walking from the Opera House and Inner Harbor. The HOHO bus left from across the street, so a fine place for sightseeing the whole city. Our ship left from "the other harbor" (Port Jackson) which I'm happy it did. The sailaway was incredible under the Harbor bridge and past the Opera House. I had a starboard side balcony, and it was glorious that morning. It is one of the most beautiful of my lifetime. I was in a SY cabin, 8083, rattled around in there by myself, but if I upgraded to it, they threw in 2 nights Sydney, a Meet & Greet dinner and tour of the opera house (which was excellent) and all transfers for free. It paid for itself, and having a jetted tub and shower was great for those days I hiked up hills in PNG to get the very best views of the islands. The ship was impecabbly clean, crew was constantly working to keep it so. She is due for a refurbishment in 2019, and parts are showing wear, so a pass. I did notice the upgraded Lincoln Center Stage is now enclosed since last time I sailed her, and the music acoustics was excellent! The 5 musicians, all Scandinavian put their hearts & soul into each piece, everything from Edvard Grieg to Dave Matthews Band! The place to be each evening was the BB Kings Club, dancing and singing. Did not hit the single piano bar on this sailing, though I usually do, so many other choices in entertainment on board. Both of the BBC Earth presentations in the showrooom were standing room only. I didn't attend the other presentations there, but heard from others they were enjoyable. Only ate in the MDR once, my schedule was so busy with wonderful EXC shore excursions, Martini Tastings (with David and Yoko) at 6:00pm nightly, and many nights in specialty restaurants with new friends. Other nights the Lido just seemed to have the same offerings in half the time. All of the food was tasty, hot, beautifully presented in MDR and Sel de Mer, Canaletto & Pinnacle. By the time I returned home that evening, the recipe for what I had eaten at Sel de Mer was on my pillow with some chocolates. That was a special meal for SURE!What I enjoy about the LIDO is being able to say "a really small slice of lamb, I'm a light eater," because by dinner I'm not really hungry. There were excellent enrichment programs on board this sailing, in additional to the usual, Aboriginal Marlon gave his informative talks in the Queens Lounge about his culture, WWII history about Milne Bay's importance, History of the Conflict Islands and what to do there. First day at PNG in the Explorer's Lounge there was exchange for PNG Kina (the only currency they use on these tiny islands) and postcards and stamps to mail things home. HAL thought of it all. I am NOT a Day at Sea person. There were TWO in a row on this cruise and I was a afraid I'd be climbing the walls.I finished two books, it was HOT, too hot to be out on my balcony too much. I almost did climb the walls, except that I discovered Martini Tastings, 3 small glasses, about 12 people around a convivial bar in the Atrium, and fun bar games. We learned to make a few new drinks, never really got too tipsy, but met new friends, and seriously AUSTRALIANS are FUN!!!! David was one of the most fun bartenders HAL has out there. The ports were in a excellent order, in my humble opinion. GLADSTONE: This was first time the Noordam had ever called there. Granted it was a Sunday and NOTHING was open, they rolled out the food trucks and made it a fun day for us. There was a huge street fair waiting for those who just walked off the ship. I caught the ceremony the city gave for the Captain and Officers. There was a kilted bagpipe band, dancers, Aboriginal thanking the ancestors, short talks by both parties. The HOHO vans had really nowhere to go, because everywhere was shuttered for the day, except hotel restaurants & shops. ALOTUA, PNG: The largest of the Islands and most citified. People were everywhere, very busy town. The ship parked quite far from the town center & market, but taxis were plentiful and not expensive I was told. 2 dance groups were on the pier with in traditional costume, many people were filming, paying a bit and talking to leaders in English. I took a shore excursion for a Clay Pot Cooking Class at the Masurina Lodge. It was FANTASTIC! Tables were arranged for us outside, we learned the types of yams, bananas, and other vegetables & spices they use in cooking, prepared the pots with, then toured a small WWII museum of artifacts. When it was ready we sat together and enjoyed the fruits of our labor. It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon in Alotua. KIRIWANA: This lovely island we tendered in to a nicely laid out beach full of stands where the natives sold their goods. There is a food stall in the middle to buy drinks and a few food items, but I didn't try it. Lots of people want to show you the island, but plenty of signs to show you the way. Not much in the way of beach chairs or mats, but lots of shade to the both sides off the tender pier. Bring what you need from the ship. Be willing to barter a bit. Save some Kina for tomorrow! Take a boat ride if you dare, the boats are sturdier on Kitava. KITAVA: Island Paradise! Clear water, bring a snorkle. Beach chairs to rent far to the left off the pier. You can walk in and see the coral and fish here, it is the best of the 3 islands of this PNG group. You can hike up to Captain Cameron's grave (5 Kina to go inside), worth the hike, the view is spectacular. There is another small island off the island, and for 10 Kina you have get a boat to take out out and drop you off, hopefully bring you back. Talk about deserted island! I'll try to post the pic! CONFLICT ISLANDS: Exceptional stop. The main island is a wanderers paradise. Yes, there are rooms, where I assume there were guests staying. There was a huge converted tuna processor, now a glass bottom boat. I took the Beach Picnic Shorex. Walked across the island boarded a Zodiac like skiff that took us to a larger, maybe 40 ft pleasure craft, drove us to a small, deserted island, where the skiff again met us, took our gear to shore, in twos. Beach chairs in the shade, pre-ordered picnic coolers with drinks, water, blankets, utinsils, everything needed for hours of absolute peace and quiet. At the prescribed time, our skiff returned us to the bigger boat for the return trip. I then went to the TURTLE RESCUE, which wasn't much to see, but very informative. The release of our own little guy/gal Crush was so envigorating, I wept a little, hoping he would survive and prosper in the wild. YORKEYS KNOB/CAIRNS: Unintended port for me, I changed my Great Barrier Reef excursion to go to the rainforest on the Kuranda Rail, and it was great! Exciting piece of history, with a tour guide in each rail car. Ours was really funny, and the narrative was historic and interesting. We stopped a few places for photos of the waterfalls befor arrival at the town. A few hours there, then return on the Skytrain, a cableway over the amazing rainforest to the forest floor, and a short bus back to the ship. ARLIE BEACH: Here the Whitsunday Island Tours boat picked us up right off the ship and took us out to the Great Barrier Reef dive platform to snorkle the Reef. It was a long, wavy trip and they were quite prepared with seasick bags, patches, pills and help for anyone experiencing symptoms. They served a delightful tea service, hearty lunch, and snack on the way back. We were outfitted with EVERYTHING, from stinger suits, snorkle gear, fins, everything except sunscreen and swimsuits. It as a great day, although I could have done without the sea swells, but that wasn't their fault, and they did everything RIGHT to handle that. BRISBANE: Beautiful Brisbane. Wish I had more time here. Took the excursion to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, it was much more. We toured the city both ways, seeing the highlights, spending about two hours at the sanctuary. It took about an hour in line to actually HOLD a koala, and $35 AUD for photos. Then paid $2 aud to buy kangaroo food and went into the enclosure where there were SO many roos, and you could be there as long as you wanted. I spent the rest of the time there! This was a wonderful itinerary for any Australia virgins. I will go back when I have more time after retirement. I thought the flights would be more grueling, but Delta flies the Boeing 777, which makes a huge difference in jet lag, that circulation system is amazing! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Of fourteen cruises this was my third with HAL. It was nice to renew our acquaintance after a five year hiatus. I'm happy to say that HAL have maintained their high standard, mostly. More on that later. We came down to Sydney by ... Read More
Of fourteen cruises this was my third with HAL. It was nice to renew our acquaintance after a five year hiatus. I'm happy to say that HAL have maintained their high standard, mostly. More on that later. We came down to Sydney by train and four of us took a taxi from Central to White Bay. I was amazed at how much luggage space was available in the hybrid Toyota, it all went in the back, no bags on laps. Fare was $30 which I thought was reasonable but not so much when then return fare, White Bay to Central, was only $25! Hmmm. The return was a quicker trip as it was early morning. On arrival at the terminal we checked our bags and joined the queue which looked long but didn't take to long to get through, about 30 minutes and we were aboard. Room was ready. We, my friend Tony and I, had requested twin beds but found a double made up. We pointed this out to our room attendant and it was quickly fixed. Unusually, I had trouble orienting myself when moving about the ship. I think the lack of an atrium such as on X Solstice and Ovation OTS may have something to do with it. The decor, altough tasteful and in good condition, was not to my liking- too much brown, bronze and gold made for a drab interior. Others may like it but it seems dated. Meals. First thing I noticed in MDR was that there were fewer choices compered to my previous HAL experience. HAL is not alone in this regard. What was pleasing was the food standard was still as high as I remembered. Almost but not quite up to that of Celebrity, I recall only one dud meal in MDR, a chicken linguini with basil and tomato sauce and some crispy thing that wasn't crispy. The pasta sauce was totally lacking in flavour, basil or tomato, but the chicken was ok. We ate all dinners in MDR except for three nights when we ate in the specialty restaurants. The first was a birthday dinner in Pinnacle grill. There were four of us. I ordered a honey glazed pork chop as a main, the others had steaks, I wish I had too. The pork chop was overcooked, tasteless and chewy. Everything else was good, appetisers and desserts. The next was Rudi's Sal de Mare. This was excellent. Wonderful seafood courses and all cooked to perfection. Only problem was we had trouble finishing it all. By the time dessert came we were all pretty full then had to front up to a pile of profiteroles covered with chocolate sauce and ice cream, There was also crepe suzettes which were yummy. The final night was in Cannaletto's for my 70th. Excellent Italian food and presentation with portions just right. With the exception of the first sea day, when we had breakfast in the MDR, we ate breakfast and lunch in the Lido buffet. No self serve but food was freshly cooked and served by staff. Very little wastage and a lot less temptation to overload your plate. Less chance of spreading bugs too. Lots of variety to suit all tastes. Our group of four generally ate breakfast late (too late for MDR)cdue to Tony, a late riser, and the other two who liked pre breakfast walks and gym sessions. I just went with the flow. Entertainment, This is the first cruise where I have not tried to attend every show. Our usual ritual was 7pm trivia after which we would then have dinner. The late shows were at 10 and sometimes clashed with other performances such as piano and strings in the Lincoln Centre or BB Kings or the piano bar. I did catch the comedian one night and country singer Patrick McMahon was great, both nights. Have seen him on a previous cruise. Although the HAL band was good I it lacked a brass section. This would have given it a lot more presence. Guest speekers were interesting and topical. We booked a couple of ship tours, In Alotau we did a Milne Bay cruise with a historical commentary which was interesting and informative. I was able to relate what I have read, about the Japanese attack, to the geography/topography of the area, It was here that the Japanese suffered their first WW2 defeat on land. After that we went on a cultural tour and learnt about the way of life and customs of the PNG people in this area. For the island visits we went ashore and snorkelled and generally relaxed. Exception was the Conflict Islands. What a beautiful place this is. A Coral Sea atoll of twenty one islands with a marine research facility. The owner, Ian Gowrie-Smith, has set up a turtle conservation facility. He has an agreement with Carnival that allows their ships to visit and this helps fund the facility. It was here that I found the best snorkelling I've ever seen, absolutely beautiful and unspoiled in comparison to other islands where the coral is suffering degradation from the reef shoes and too many people We had booked an outrigger sailing cruise but this was cancelled due to lack of wind. For the Australian ports of Gladstone, Cairns, Airlie Beach and Brisbane I did my own thing. I did a little geocaching which gives me exercise and takes me to out-of-the-way places tourists mostly miss. Tendering at Yorkey's Knob, Cairns is the pits. Takes up so much time although I never had any problems getting on the tenders due to crowds. I can recommend the Cairns Aquarium, well worth a couple of hours there. Airlie Beach is much different to when I was last here, about thirty five years ago. They tell me the place is usually full of backpackers but maybe the season was over as there weren't too many about. Or perhaps they only come out at night. Lots of cafes and restaurants. In Brisbane I spent a relaxing day at my sisters' and spent some time with her five grandchildren, four girls and one boy aged between five and eleven. That was fun. All good things come to an end and we were back in Sydney having missed the cyclones but got the tail end of the Sydney storms. Disembarkation was on a Saturday. Saturday is when I windsurf and my club was having a post race Xmas BBQ so I decided I would try and make it back to Newcastle in time. I self disembarked by not putting my bag out the night before and just walking off when I was ready, Shared a taxi to central and was on the train heading north at 8.18. Would I cruise with HAL again, sure, if the itinerary looks good and the ports are interesting. I forgot to mention the one change I noticed in HAL's standards. Dressing for dinner. It's now a lot less formal than it was. On my first HAL cruise I didn't have a jacket for gala night so the Maitre d provided me with one. I didn't have to wear it, just hung it on the back of my chair. Some consider the casualisation of dinner attire a backward step but for me, I'm fine with it. I wear neat jeans or slacks with a collared shirt, or sometimes a bright Hawaiin shirt. No problem. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
As we wanted to see Australia & try a cruise that was more than 2 - 3 weeks, this cruise fit the bill. We flew in a day before our cruise from Vancouver, mainly to re-coup from the long flight & see a bit of Sydney before ... Read More
As we wanted to see Australia & try a cruise that was more than 2 - 3 weeks, this cruise fit the bill. We flew in a day before our cruise from Vancouver, mainly to re-coup from the long flight & see a bit of Sydney before embarking on our journey. As it turned out, we did mostly re-couping than sight seeing. We stayed at a hotel in the Mascot area, near the international airport, which was also a block away from the train station. Understandably the hotels by the airports are more reasonably price than the ones in the city, especially around the Rocks & Circular Quay. The next day, after a leisurely breakfast, we took the train to Circular Quay & strolled to the Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT) to embark the Noordam. The train ride was around 20 minutes & cost about $4.50 AUD/person. The distance from the train station to the OPT was an easy 2 flat block walk along a beautiful waterfront. Enroute, we walked into the many stores along the waterfront & took a whole bunch of pictures. Remember you can't check in until about noon, so you have a lot of time. There were around 10 - 15 stations (maybe more) for check in & a point person to tell you which station to go to. However, when the 4 or 5 star folks arrive & sometime in large bunches, they understandably get priority check in. That could be a little frustrating especially if you've waited for a long period of time. Notwithstanding, the check in went as smooth as possible. We had a post night stay following our cruise & elected for a late disembarkation, as such, it went smoothly. As titled, the Noordam is an old reliable friend. She is dated, but she is still capable & reliable especially when we encountered the rough seas. I found her clean, comfortable and with friendly helpful staff. I found the service to be very good. My cabin review is shown hereunder. We found the dining to be average to good. There was certainly no "wow" factor. In fact, I found the food a little on the salty side & repetitive, especially at the "Lido". Again, I found the service at the Lido & in the dining room to be very good. I don't really enjoy "Broadway" type productions, but I did like the "sandman" from New Zealand & Patrick McMahon the Australian musician. A comment about the gym. For those who like to use the free weights (dumb bells), there are cabins situated under this station, as such you have to place your weights down VERY quietly, or else. This station should be moved. A couple of comments respecting the ports in Papua New Guinea (PNG). We were led to believe that PNG prerfers passengers spending in PNG kinas, as the Australian, let alone US dollar was hard for the locals to exchange back to kinas. As such, Holland America brought in someone to convert your money to PNG kina (1 USD = 3.36 kina, 1 AUD = 2.39 kina, Jan./19 rate). Understandably, for this service, you will not be getting a good, let alone, a best rate. I was a little disappointed that when we attended a ship's shore excursion, most if not all the arts & crafts were in Australian dollars. A little more lost money in conversion, albeit small, but still another lost. Just saying. The locals on the islands that we visited in PNG were friendly, even if no purchases were made. The port of Gladstone, Queensland was a new stop for Holland America. During cruise ship season, a local market is set up about a 5 minute walk from where the ships are docked. The locals makes this as a day out there and were friendly & happy to see us. We docked on a Sunday, a day where most things were closed in town. Not knowing this, we purchased shuttle tickets for $30 pp, from the ship to go into town. You would have thought Holland America ought to have known that most, if not all things were closed in Gladstone on a Sunday. Just saying, again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
This was a 30 day that was a rd trip from Sydney. Tasmania, Kangaroo Island, Melbourne, up the Queensland coast with several stops then Papua New Guinea (3), Conflict Islands, Cairns, Great Barrier Reef and Brisbane. The crew was second to ... Read More
This was a 30 day that was a rd trip from Sydney. Tasmania, Kangaroo Island, Melbourne, up the Queensland coast with several stops then Papua New Guinea (3), Conflict Islands, Cairns, Great Barrier Reef and Brisbane. The crew was second to none! Fantastic food and service. Really good entertainment of all types brought on at many ports. Really enjoyed America's Test Kitchen and band in BB King. 4 Happy Hours every day. 2 each in 2 lounges. Jai, the CD was really professional but fun and very approachable. He is Dutch as most officers are. The mainly Filipino and Indonesian crew go out of their way to make you happy. We are Elite on Princess and Platinum on Carnival. Had only sailed HAL 25 years ago and were bored. This was far from It! We had a wonderful time and have already booked a 28 day to China and Japan. No, it's not all old people (I thought it would be). Granted very few children but guests of all ages. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
I have read some of the reviews about this cruise and couldn't disagree more with some. We are 3 star mariners with Holland America - not that this means anything - other than we wouldn't cruise Holland America if we didn't ... Read More
I have read some of the reviews about this cruise and couldn't disagree more with some. We are 3 star mariners with Holland America - not that this means anything - other than we wouldn't cruise Holland America if we didn't appreciate what they do; but we have also taken other cruises. I would agree that the ship could use some updating - but our suite was very acceptable. The food was very very good - yes, the meal choices were harder on this cruise but the staff was obviously trying to meet the dietary needs of all diners - which means you must provide vegetarian, gluten-free, restrictions based on religious beliefs, diabetic restrictions, and on and on. And they also tried to feature the many places we visited. The servers, wine stewards, dining room supervisors, etc. were all very focused on making sure the experience was exceptional ... on a number of occasions I asked for a modification to the standard dinner and always received what I requested. There wasn't a meal that we had where we weren't asked if our meal was satisfactory. And our order was taken and our first course delivered within 10 minutes of sitting down at the table. Our glasses were kept full as well. The shows were very good for what you'd expect for ship entertainment; throughout the entire cruise (we got off in Aukland) people seemed to really enjoy them - the showroom was packed every night and the applause was loud. We ended our evening with coffee and reading in a number of the lounge areas and the music was great in every one we sat in. Keeping in mind that we had a number of "sea" days, they tried to provide a variety of things to do - cooking classes, digital classes, a movie every afternoon in the showroom, health related classes, massages, talks on the cultures we encountered by people of the region and the history of those areas, talks on the various animals of the region, a library full of books to read, updates on the coming excursions, puzzles to work on, card games to participate in, board games to play, etc. BUT, we took this cruise knowing that we'd have to be able to entertain ourselves as well and we came prepared. We also told our children not to expect a lot of communication from us because we anticipated that wifi and internet could be sketchy. We went on a shore excursion at every stop but one (this is not typical for us) because we wanted to meet the people and experience the culture of the area and we were not disappointed - what an education. I really couldn't pick my favorite - they were all wonderful. Every member of the staff that we encountered was absolutely phenomenal - from the dining room to the ship maintenance people to the room stewards. Wonderful wonderful people - always smiling and always making you feel important. These people work hard and sometimes at very unappreciated positions. It was amazing being with them for 32 days and really getting to know them - all of them with a story to tell about their life journey. This was one of those trips where you get home and wonder how you're going to explain the trip to someone so that they can get a feel for what you experienced. Would we go on a Holland America cruise again - absolutely. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We booked this cruise to get home to Australia from North America. We were assured when booking that the ship was to be refurnished in early 2018. On embarking we found a stateroom with tatty furniture - holes in the upholstery, peeling ... Read More
We booked this cruise to get home to Australia from North America. We were assured when booking that the ship was to be refurnished in early 2018. On embarking we found a stateroom with tatty furniture - holes in the upholstery, peeling wallpaper, chips in bath and sink and bathroom mirrors degrading. The public areas were no better. Meals in the dining room and lido were at best lukewarm no matter where or when we ate. The only way to get fresh hot food was to dine in the pinnacle grill or canalettos both of which were excellent. Having paid for one's food one shoukd not have to pay twice. A lot of the fruit on board was old from the start of the cruise and off by the time we reached Fiji. The ship ran out of english breakfast and tetley tea bags and corn flakes. Only one flavour of yoghurt available at a time. But notbto worry there were at any one time inumerable boxes of a full range of caffeine free teas! The numbers of servers has been reduced so much that the tables could not be cleared between diners and on some evenings it took over 25 minutes to place one's order for dinner. When it arrived the food was usually tepid at best and when returned to the kitchen to be reheated it came back no better. It was ridiculous that as we crossed the Pacific passengerd had to wear sweaters inside the ship because the airconditioning was so cold. The standard of evening entertainment was poor with large gaps when nothing was happening at all. The internet access was described by a member of Holland America staff as abysmal most passengers were much ruder about it. The 'range' of dvds available was a joke the staff asked psssengers for a list of requested titles then couldn't deliver any of them I am not sure what Holland Americ's agenda is; whether they are trying to move down market within the CCL group. If so they may well succeed but they alienated a whole lot of experienced mariners on this cruise. Many times I heard fellow passengers express the determinstion never to cruise HL again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
The ship is not new, but in good condition. Very beautiful design. Light colors in the interior visually increase the room. Paintings, fresh flowers, ship models adorn public spaces. Good service, friendly staff. Great breakfast. I love ... Read More
The ship is not new, but in good condition. Very beautiful design. Light colors in the interior visually increase the room. Paintings, fresh flowers, ship models adorn public spaces. Good service, friendly staff. Great breakfast. I love fresh berries, cottage cheese, pate, salted salmon. I have had many cruises, but HAL breakfasts are the best in my experience. In general, I liked the food on the ship. In the buffet and in the restaurant. I would like to mention the excellent cheese plate and carpaccio from what I still love. There is a pool with a retractable roof. It is very convenient for routes that have many days at sea and climate change. There is a circular walking platform. Very nice to admire the sea. You can walk, and you can sit. From the attractions I liked learning how to weave lei from orchids. Sports activities include table tennis and a basketball court. In the new ships of other companies, the choice is better. There is a free sauna, but it is very small. I enjoyed the journey on this ship as a whole. It is a pity that it was so short. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose to do this 38 day cruise from Vancouver to Auckland because it we had wanted to cross the Pacific and also visit New Zealand. We have cruised on Noordam about 5 times so we’re aware she is in need of refurbishment and ... Read More
We chose to do this 38 day cruise from Vancouver to Auckland because it we had wanted to cross the Pacific and also visit New Zealand. We have cruised on Noordam about 5 times so we’re aware she is in need of refurbishment and although parts were tired the ambience mostly made up for this. What we didn’t expect was the amount of infections throughout the ship. It was obvious from any of the communal areas that chest infections were rife. My husband caught it 5 days out from Vancouver, then I caught it, folks nearby at dinner had repeated visits to the Medical Centre and found many others there the same, some being confined to their cabins. 6 weeks on my husband is still coughing it is a virulent bug and one wonders what action is taken on board to ensure infection is not spread. On the good side the staff are mostly cheerful, friendly and go above and beyond to give passengers a great cruise. Sadly this time it was marred for us Shore excisions were overpriced and shuttle buses expensive and in the case of Samoa non existent! Entertainment by Ship’s singers and dancers is not nearly as professional as on previous cruises and very loud. We may be seniors but we are not deaf! Disembarkation was well organised. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We were on only the first part of the cruise and got off in Hawaii. I knew the ship was not new but I found very little wear and tear. The food was good, not exceptional, except for the Mariners lunch when ONO was offered, The travelers ... Read More
We were on only the first part of the cruise and got off in Hawaii. I knew the ship was not new but I found very little wear and tear. The food was good, not exceptional, except for the Mariners lunch when ONO was offered, The travelers were mostly seniors. The young people were polite but i think disappointed with the slow pace, I was with the one in four using a cane! The staff and travelers were all polite and friendly. Those staying on to do the entire 38 days settled in with knitting, books, etc. Very little was offered so the seats filled long before the few events. The lei making was well attended so only enough flowers to make a halo lei. The observation deck is the highlight of the ship. Nothing but ocean on this cruise but it would be a delightful way to cruise Alaska. I did not want to fly both ways to Hawaii so the cruise fit my needs. It is open ocean most of the way. I loved the rolls and dips from the swells.Our cabin, guaranteed balcony, was 4005 just three cabins from the aft. This meant lots of walking to the food on the opposite end of the ship. We had a little of the entertainment noise from the deck below but it did not disturb us. Sailing into Honolulu just at sunrise was beautiful. The city light were still on as the sun came up. The doors were opened on deck 4 for the arrival. Many passengers scurrying past our door! The lack of daily activity was my only complaint but I knew that ahead of time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
Mainly chosen for the destinations on route, but also anticipated a 4* ship. Expected the passengers to be around retirement age because of he length of the cruise. Very disappointed with the geriatric nature of a lot of the entertainment, ... Read More
Mainly chosen for the destinations on route, but also anticipated a 4* ship. Expected the passengers to be around retirement age because of he length of the cruise. Very disappointed with the geriatric nature of a lot of the entertainment, which was also repetitive and lacking any fun. No deck parties, even though we spent around 3 weeks in the hot sunshine, no proper ‘ sailaways’ to remember. Food was OK, but the scrap in the Lido Bat was awful. Difficult to find a seat once you had been served. Ended up taking food down to the cabin to eat it. The food generally I could only call OK, as it was not as I remember the last cruise I took a few years back. I can see that everything has been cut back and is much more frugal generally. Cushions on the sum beds around the walking deck areas were turquoise coloured (once) and Covered in stains. Not at all what we expected to see. I had no desire to sit on any of them without putting down a towel first. On the lido deck, everything was brown and colourless, making the ship look drab and uninviting. In the gym, half the equipment was not working, and there were classes held in what was a very small area, making it difficult to even get in there. I should also post out that there was nowhere for people to dance (I mean proper dancing) lots f people like to walk, or maybe line dance, but there is no dance floor on Noordam apart from in BB Kings night club, (which doubles as America’s Test Kitchen during the day, twice a day, every day....) Overall, we were very disappointed with Holland America. If this is 4* cruising, then I would hate to be on a ship with only 3*. I would also say that HA needs to check out its up an coming geriatrics, ie those of us in our 60’s now, as we still have plenty of life in us. The older ‘old people’ currently cruising, won’t be around In another few years, and there will be no market for my generation if the nature of the cruise is not reviewed. I say this not only for myself but for others who we met on this cruise and who voiced similar comments. On. Plus note, the staff are incredible, and HA should be very grateful for that!!! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Over the past few cruises I have watched a deterioration in the services offered on Holland America cruises. I love to go on long cruises of a month or more and love the sea days. This time there was literally nothing to do on board unless ... Read More
Over the past few cruises I have watched a deterioration in the services offered on Holland America cruises. I love to go on long cruises of a month or more and love the sea days. This time there was literally nothing to do on board unless you were paying for an upgrade in the gym or drinking yourself into oblivion. No library service, no fun game activity program, no water aerobics or free fitness program. The constant up selling was really annoying. They have outsourced their shore excursions and they are a total ripoff. The food in the main dining room was a disgrace. Everything seemed to originate from the frozen food section of Costco. We were offered frozen green beans with every dinner entree from Vancouver to Sydney. The desserts were not made on board and were not up to previous standards. Offering bloody Mary's for breakfast? Really ? I am s four star mariner but I doubt I will return to Holland America or any other Carnival line ship Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
The Noordam is badly needing refurbished in certain areas. Rust on balconies, grubby corridors. It looks a bit tired and dated. The sitting area immediately outside the Lincoln centre really needs attention. The windows are a mess with all ... Read More
The Noordam is badly needing refurbished in certain areas. Rust on balconies, grubby corridors. It looks a bit tired and dated. The sitting area immediately outside the Lincoln centre really needs attention. The windows are a mess with all the botched efforts to patch up seals. The crew is fantastic. Nothing is too much trouble. Certain things niggled with regard to food. They twice ran out of cornflakes and once out of Special K.. There was melon until it was coming out of your ears. I thought that we would have had pineapple or kiwi or mango but that was very seldom. Often the food could have been warmer. The Lido is just a very big and noisy cafeteria but saying that there was plenty of choice. The service in the dining room was superb.Something which we found annoying was the never ending rubbish piped music everywhere on the ship, right from very early morning in the Lido. We were fed up with it. The artistes, musicians and singers in both the BB KINGS and LINCOLN CENTRE were absolutely superb. The BBC earth shown in Vista lounge and accompanied by the ships musicians was fantastic. The rest of the entertainment ranged from very good to average. The cruise director Jai is a real jewel for Holland America. In my opinion he could not be bettered. The EXC excursions were very expensive and many just not worth the money. You can do it much cheaper with the tours at the quayside but bear in mind EXC tours do guarantee to get you back and the ship will wait. I understand that the ship is to be refurbished in October 2019. We enjoyed our cruise and would sail with Holland America again. Read Less
Noordam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.8
Family 2.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.6
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 3.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.3

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