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
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
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
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
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose the cruise for the itinerary and the timing. One friend could only travel this week. We really wanted to experience Alaska, the glaciers, and the Inside Passage. The food aboard Noordam was outstanding in all areas of the ship. ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the itinerary and the timing. One friend could only travel this week. We really wanted to experience Alaska, the glaciers, and the Inside Passage. The food aboard Noordam was outstanding in all areas of the ship. The Lido restaurant offered a large choice for breakfast. I really enjoyed the Filipino bread for breakfast which was more like a donut with a buttery spread served beside the Miso soup pot. I had one each morning. The Vista dining lounge was also a big hit. The food was tasty, presented beautifully, and the service was friendly and professional. We were always certain to receive well-timed service - if we ordered baked potatoes, the sour cream and fixings were always offered right away, if you ordered lobster, the waiter was right there to help shell it for you, etc. Exceptional food service, variety, and presentation. The entertainment also exceeded our expectations. There was a comedian and a magician on board and both were very entertaining. The singers/dancers were typical of a cruise ship. The sets and costumes were colourful, well-maintained, and artistic. We really enjoyed the BB Kings Blues Band. The band played all kinds of music despite the name (which would have kept us away except we walked by one evening and was drawn to the music and energy of the room). It was extremely entertaining - the brass of the saxophone and horn really made the room come alive. The singers were incredible and had an amazing repertoire of several kinds of music from the oldies to Bruno Mars. The female sang a Whitney Houston classic and everyone had to stand it was so amazing and the male singer could sing the pages of a dictionary and be entertaining. You could always get snacks at the café but unfortunately if you just wanted a regular coffee or tea you didn't need to pay extra or you still had to go up to the Lido. Not much is offered during the day to do though when at sea and we would have liked to see much more activities or interesting venues offered (although you could go to a presentation on how to use your binoculars!) We did not take part in any of the ship's excursions but did take shuttles offered on land. In Juneau we took the shuttle to Mendenhaul Glacier which is highly recommended. We also walked to the waterfalls which is only an easy 30 min walk. Make sure you take the walk off of the parking lot by the creek where you may be lucky enough to see bear. We saw a mom and her 2 cubs. We enjoyed a beer at the Red Dog Saloon. Worth a stop as you feel like you are back in the Gold Rush era with costumed servers, sawdust on the floor, and lively, era music from a gentleman on a keyboard. In Skagway we hiked up to the lower Dewey lake. This is a beautiful hike up a mountain path to a mountain lake. It is about 1 1/2 hour return and is well-marked and groomed. It offers a fairly strenuous hike through a pretty forest and offers a viewpoint over the ships docked and a pretty lake. You can also walk around the lake but we felt that would take quite a long time. After lunch we took a Smart bus to a historical cemetery. The walk from the bus stop was still over a mile but the cemetery is worth a look. There is a board with stories of some of the people buried there and is very interesting. There is a very short walk to a waterfall which is beautiful. We walked back to the ship from the cemetery which took about an hour. In Ketchikan we walked up to the fish hatchery. At this time it was the pink salmon that were running. Turns out there were no bears or eagles as they find this type of salmon to be unappetizing. Bears and eagles are salmon snobs - who knew? This was disappointing but we did see lots of fish and seals by Creek Street. The hatchery didn't offer a lot but the girl working there was a fountain of knowledge and readily shared her insights and passion for the fish. We finished by walking back to town along Creek Street. We stopped at the Fish House for chowder and a beer sampler. We saw lots of dolphins on the cruise, some otters, and we did see some whales but unfortunately the whales weren't very close and really just saw the blowholes or a flash of black. I think if we went earlier in the month we would have seen more wildlife. We unfortunately had to turn back in Glacier Bay due to a medical emergency so we didn't get to go see the glaciers. Will definitely have to return there is so much we didn't get to see. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
First large ship cruise. It was better than expected. Very organized as to getting on and off ship. Went into Fairbanks a day early so we could see sights on own. Enjoyed the Fountainhead Car Museum, caught MAC local bus, and the ... Read More
First large ship cruise. It was better than expected. Very organized as to getting on and off ship. Went into Fairbanks a day early so we could see sights on own. Enjoyed the Fountainhead Car Museum, caught MAC local bus, and the University of Alaska free shuttle from car museum, along with walking along the Chena River in morning. Westmar k Hotel was nice. Bus to Denali, stayed McKinley Lodge, nice. Ate at local Pizza/beer joint for lunch and Moose-Aka's Serbian restaurant for dinner, both great. Took free shuttle to Park and hiked, then took free shuttle to Savage River. Actually saw Denali! Next day long drive to Seward on motorcoach. Great driver, made good time and stopped for photos of Denali and nice lunch in Wasilla. Embarktion at Seward went smoothly, took shuttle to view small town. We liked going to the local saloons before getting back on board to be with locals. Cruise was great, no rough seas, sunny everyday, no high pressure to purchase anything. Food was good, met many nice people at meals, we had open seating. Waiters were fantastic!! Enough time in ports to hike and take excursions of our own. Free shuttles in each town and libraries in port were great to catch up on wifi. Happy hours were great buy, although didn t mind paying $10 with tax for Lemon Drop. Got many great photos of Glaciers, not too crowded on deck. Great art throughout ship. Lincoln center Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We did a fifteen day land and sea journey that started in Fairbanks and loved every minute of it. The Westmark hotel in Fairbanks was terrific, we stayed in South Tower, how anyone could complain about these rooms is beyond me. We went ... Read More
We did a fifteen day land and sea journey that started in Fairbanks and loved every minute of it. The Westmark hotel in Fairbanks was terrific, we stayed in South Tower, how anyone could complain about these rooms is beyond me. We went on the River boat cruise and did the Gold Dredge eight which was a lot of fun, a great way to get started. Denali was awesome, we spent two days there before moving on. Rode ATV and did the Denali Tundra wilderness tour, which was eight hours but had the most amazing sights and we saw a decent amount of wildlife along the way. The weather was perfect for most of trip, rained first day and last day, other than that we had tons of sunshine and warm temperatures. The two lodges were very nice with a rustic feel, we really enjoyed them. Then we took the train to Talkeetna and the train was fun with great views, and good hosts pointing out highlights as we passed them. Saw two moose along the way as well. Bartender on board to make sure everyone had a good time, we certainly did. After spending the afternoon in Talkeetna a great little quaint town with fun people, from there we went to Mt. Mckinley Princess Wilderness lodge which gave us some amazing views of Denali as well. Off to Anchorage on a tour bus to the Westmark Anchorage, an older hotel but kept up nicely. Spent the evening, morning exploring Anchorage which is a very nice city on the inlet. In the afternoon we went to the wildlife preserve where we say many of the native animals up close. Then we went to Mt. Aleyska Resort to spend the evening in the town of Girdwood. The resort was fantastic, very beautiful, high end with endless scenery. Many chose to go into town, we to the tram to the top of mountain and spent the evening eating dinner up there and enjoying the view. Then we went down and spent time exploring the hotel and it's many bars. After an enjoyable evening at Mt. Aleyska we boarded a bus for ride to Seward to board the ship. We got to explore Seward for a few hours before we boarded the ship which was easy and painless. We had a Verandah room with balcony on port side. Nice room, loved view from balcony, had lots of storage for luggage and clothes. Suitcases fit under bed and closets held a lot of cloths. Our room stewards Anom and Novi met us upon arrival and were great guys who did and outstanding job. Wonderful guy and people. The entire staff on the ship were top notch not a complaint on anyone, polite, friendly, helpful and boy do they keep this ship clean. We had great weather and smooth seas as we left port heading for a day at sea before Glacier bay. Glacier bay was phenominal being on port side we saw everything, Captain did a full two rotations at Margie glacier so everyone could see the glacier, I know we saw some calving it think everyone did, what a great day. Most of the cruise we had breakfast in suite with room service, it was hot an delivered on time. We enjoyed sitting on balcony having breakfast while we docked or pulled into port. Our first port of call was Haines, we had an exscursion planned, Portage glacier so we only had a few hours to tour area around ship. The excusion had a wonderful boat ride to the area of the glacier a bus ride to a camp where we suited up with life vests, boots and an oar (boy was my wife suprised) and hiked a half mile to ten man canoes. We only had to paddle about fifty yards before they could use trolling motor on back of boat. then we went ashore about a hundreds yards from portage glacier for pictures etc. Decent tour not sure wife would do it again, it was rustic, the outhouses were terrible. Juneau was our next port we had time to explore before and after our Whale watching excursion, with Mendehal glacier tour. I wish we had more than an hour at the glacier, theres a water fall Nugget falls thats walkable but its a two mile walk, I got pictures but I would've like a closer view. We saw five whales on our cruise to Orca Lodge for a great lunch and shopping (yes more shopping & the only place they don't have gift stores is the bathrooms in Alaska). It was a nice excusion, very well executed and narrated. We went to red dog saloon, I had five Duck fart shots which were very good, wife didn't care for them. Walked around Juneau for the rest of the day before heading back to the ship for dinner. We only ate in the main dining room once and it was very nice and good. Most of the time we were busy and just hit the Lido buffet which had similar items as main dining room, but finding a seat was a chore sometimes. Food was getting cold by the time we sat down. From Juneau we headed to Ketchickan where we saw first day of rain in some time. We had two hours to look around before we went to Neets bay for bear watching via floatplane. I was worried they may cancel flight but it went off without a hitch. The plane ride was great on the way to Neets bay. At neets bay we saw three bear up close and personal at the hatchery, evidently we were at the end of one salmon run and very beginning of another. The bears were within 20 yards but we were on observation deck. On the flight back to Ketchikan our pilot took us over some of the Misty Fjords and then thru some spectacular scenery, saw seals on rock, Dall sheep on hillside it was a wonderful flight back. Once back on ship we watched two adult eagles with a juvenile down on the shore line. Upon leaving Ketchikan we headed towards the inside passage in the rain and some rough seas. Once we got to the inside passage the seas smoothed out. Woke up saturday morning watched us pull into Vancouver which is a beautiful city for disembarkment. We had breakfast in room as we waited for our group to be called, we had a 9-9:30 time and we were at the airport by 10:15ish very easy. Overall it was a marvelous trip, I'd do it again in a minute. Holland America was very organized and terrific. The Noordam was well maintained, clean and the right size. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Noordam was a great choice for us. The size and number of people made getting around the ship easy. Staff were very pleasant and always helpful. Cabin 8085 was comfortable, quiet and very well kept up (Thanks Esha & Nougy!). Lots of ... Read More
Noordam was a great choice for us. The size and number of people made getting around the ship easy. Staff were very pleasant and always helpful. Cabin 8085 was comfortable, quiet and very well kept up (Thanks Esha & Nougy!). Lots of choices on on the Lido deck, the dining room was great with good menus and service, room service was terrific. We had a wonderful experience. Recommend booking a meal at the Pinnacle Restaurant-wonderful food, service and decor. We sat on our balcony most of the first day of the cruise watching the changing landscape which was a great introduction. All excursions were excellent. Ketchikan's Misty Fiords Monument, Juneau's helicopter to walk around on the Mendenhall glacier and then an evening whale watching, Skagway's Street Car Tour-a must!- and the luxury White Pass railway was well worth the price. Of course the day at Glacier Bay was spectacular. We ran out of superlatives! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I traveled with my 13 year-old daughter and 3 other relatives northbound to Alaska from Vancouver, departing mid August. After reading a few of the other reviews, I kept my expectations of the ship and its amenities/entertainment fairly ... Read More
I traveled with my 13 year-old daughter and 3 other relatives northbound to Alaska from Vancouver, departing mid August. After reading a few of the other reviews, I kept my expectations of the ship and its amenities/entertainment fairly low and was just looking forward to spending time with family and seeing the beautiful scenery. I was very pleasantly surprised with everything about the ship and its activities. The best part was, I didn't pay extra for Wi-Fi, so my teen daughter was deprived of her I-phone all week and forced to interact with us!! First of all, I cannot say enough about the ship's amazing staff! The Noordam's Filipino staff were the most pleasant, friendly, organized group of people I have ever come across. Every single person would smile and greet you. The dining and cabin service was top-notch. We loved the folded towel animals they left in your room every night! When I ordered a goat cheese omlet to the room for breakfast, someone actually called the room afterwards to check whether I enjoyed it or not. Unbelievable service. The Noordam itself is a very classic, elegant ship. Some reviewers complain about things like "worn carpet" but I didn't notice or pay attention to that - the ship was very clean and decorated with artwork and sculptures everywhere.The trivial things people gripe about amaze me. It's not like the ship can replace thousands of square feet of carpet but every so often. The cabin was very nice, we had an oceanview room on Deck 1. It was adequate for the 2 of us. It was pretty small, but I expected it to be. The shower was great and beds were comfy. I had coffee delivered to the room every morning and sometimes breakfast. In-room dining service is included with the price which was a nice surprise. Room service food was excellent (we only tried breakfast). The Lido Deck had a big buffet every day for all 3 meals, with some varying selections and certain items you could get every day. As expected, it is crowded. I have to laugh when people complain about this - you are on a ship with almost 2000 people trying to eat at the same time. I really enjoyed the ethnic lunch selections- they had Indian, Asian, etc that altered daily. The ship did a great job providing variety and appealing to diverse tastes in food. Yes, some things were bland or overcooked but that is often the case with mass quantities of food. Other items were very good. The main dining room food was presented beautifully, though the entrees often lacked flavor. Desserts were excellent, however. Dinner at the Pinnacle Grill (specialty restaurant) was fantastic. We had the lamb, salmon and a steak - all were top notch. I disagree with the reviewers complaining about the lack of entertainment - there were plenty of choices of activities. No, it's not a Carnival "Party Ship." We had no interest in that anyway. But we did see the comedian and magician evening show twice - both were very good. We went to the "America's Test Kitchen" and enjoyed the demonstration there. I went to the gym and did other things, wasn't expecting the ship to entertain me constantly. Disembarkation was as smooth as it could possibly be. Everything on this ship is extremely well organized. I highly recommend this trip. We were very lucky with the weather and it didn't rain. But it often does during late summer, so be prepared for that. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We have previously cruised with Holland America, and like them overall. Their mid-size ships are better (in my opinion) than the larger ships with sooo many people. The clientele is generally adults and families. We had previously traveled ... Read More
We have previously cruised with Holland America, and like them overall. Their mid-size ships are better (in my opinion) than the larger ships with sooo many people. The clientele is generally adults and families. We had previously traveled to Alaska with HAL; we went back because the scenery is awesome and we wanted to do Denali this time. The Noordam has mostly balconies, and does not have the Lanai suites that are on some HAL ships. Though you don't spend lots of time in your room, it is nice to be able to step out on the balcony and enjoy the scenery from there. Hotel service is outstanding as is so typical on cruises: rooms made up twice daily including evening turndown, plus fun towel animals. Our stewards were awesome. We had a suite and it included a whirlpool tub and two sinks. I was blown away (in a good way) to find this on a ship. There are multiple food choices. I am partial to eating in the main dining room. On vacation, I don't want to have to collect my food in a cafeteria line; I would rather be served. Service at dinner was super. We had a fixed seating with the same two servers, and they got to know our tastes and preferences. Breakfast was still nice, but we didn't feel the service was as good. They came by immediately after you were seated and brought juice, coffee, water, and pastries, but sometimes it slowed down after that. Still, in a dining room, you're not looking for "fast food." We did breakfast in our room once, because we had an early tour. They were right on time and the order was accurate. Food tasted good though the toast was not hot. I don't know if this is something that just the Noordam did or if they have changed it across the line, but I loved how they handled tour meetings. In the past, we have had to go to a lounge, get stickers, and wait. On this trip, the meeting point was on shore, and it was up to us to get ourselves off the ship and find the person with the sign for our tour. This was definitely preferable to the other way. It gave us flexibility to get off earlier if we wanted to walk around before a tour, and/or buy a coffee, or whatever. The cruise line offered ample tour options in each port. We like the assurance that the ship will wait if we're late, so we generally book with the ship unless we want to sightsee on our own. Probably our highlight excursion on this trip was the whale-watching in Juneau. The company with whom they have contracted (Gasteau Guiding) uses boats that are specially designed for whale watching, and there are only about 20 people on board. They guarantee you will see a whale. We saw multiple whales; it was truly amazing. We had little interaction with the EXC tours staff because we booked our tours online in advance. All of our tickets were delivered to our stateroom, so there was no standing in line, which was great. On excursions, I would also highly recommend the hop on/hop off bus with luggage transfer for Vancouver if your flight arrangements permit. We had wanted to see Vancouver, and were afraid we would have to spend a night. But the flight that HAL arranged was a "red eye" that didn't leave until 11:00 p.m., so we had all day in Vancouver. They provided us special luggage tags on board for checking our bags with the hop on/hop off people, and those people were in the cruise terminal as we exited. It was a fairly smooth process to leave our bags with them and get started on the bus. Then we had all day to see Vancouver, hopping off and back on whenever we wanted. The ticket includes both the park route and the city route. When we were finished, we hopped on the "Sky Train" (ticket included in the excursion) and headed for the airport. At the airport, we picked up our luggage from the hop on/hop off people (pick up point a little tricky to find but worked out ok) and then checked in for our flight. The hotel where they put us in Anchorage prior to Denali had great staff but needs an update. The hotel staff were awesome but the contracted tour people in Anchorage (who handle transfer to the train and optional excursions) were not real helpful. We paid for a transfer from the airport to the hotel and they ended up putting us in a cab with a voucher. In hindsight, we would have paid far less to just get a cab ourselves. We also did a pre-trip to Denali, which I definitely recommend if you have the time and $. The train trip up is amazing - on a special Holland America train car with upper deck seating for all and restaurant on lower deck. There is a guide and a bartender who serves, in addition to adult beverages, coffees and other items. They run a tab, and during the last hour of the trip, bring you your bill and you settle with your credit card. Very convenient and efficient! The ship had a variety of activities. The asst. cruise director, Johann, was particularly visible as he ran trivia games and deejay-ed in the evening. The string group, now called "Lincoln Center," was very good and very popular - you had to arrive early to get a seat for their performances. The main stage shows were varied, with two Broadway-type shows on our 7-day cruise, plus a comedian, a magician, and a BBC Earth film of Alaska with musical accompaniment (this was GREAT!). We felt that music was too loud for the mainstage shows & probably damaged our hearing but the performers were good. The cruise director himself did not seem to be very present on the ship, at least to us. (Maybe we just didn't go to the right places to see him?) He did work to minimize announcements, which I appreciate. Embarkation at Seward was amazing. Maybe there were more crowded times, but we basically walked right up to an agent, who had everything ready, and we were on the ship within about 5 minutes. Disembarkation at Vancouver was also efficient. I love that they let you stay in your cabin now until you disembark, which made it more comfortable. Re-embarkation at that various ports was also pretty efficient and smooth, unlike another cruise line we have traveled on that has larger ships but just one magnetometer, so it takes forever to get back on the ship! It appears the Noordam was last re-fitted/upgraded in 2006, and there were some signs of wear, but the crew was also continually painting, repair, etc. to keep it in ship shape. Overall, we are satisfied and happy with this Holland America Cruise.Every ship can have little problems, but overall, things went well and we definitely plan to sail with them again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We are first timers, so we were a bit apprehensive. However we thought ship was excellent esp. staff, service, food, and most of all the classical quintet in the Lincoln Center. Other plus points were the gym, quiet areas around ... Read More
We are first timers, so we were a bit apprehensive. However we thought ship was excellent esp. staff, service, food, and most of all the classical quintet in the Lincoln Center. Other plus points were the gym, quiet areas around ship, state of decor. The food and service in the MDR were top notch , including afternoon tea every day. The cabin service was very good, prompt and polite. A few negatives such as the show on the main stage which wasn't great, the rangers talks, the kitchen tour ( which was a very short walk through and a few words from the head chef). Overall the experience exceeded our expectations and we would recommend this ship. Although having said that we are first timers so we have no other cruise ships to compare this one with. We had room no. 5189 verandah deck at rear of ship and we were very happy with it . Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Our group of six couldn't be more pleased. The stewards (room and dinner) treated us like Kings and Queens. The daily service was exceptional in every way besides be so helpful and friendly, but truly respectful. When we go on a ... Read More
Our group of six couldn't be more pleased. The stewards (room and dinner) treated us like Kings and Queens. The daily service was exceptional in every way besides be so helpful and friendly, but truly respectful. When we go on a cruise again, I hope its this staff and crew. The ship was clean, the rooms always up to snuff. Oh the food, beyond our expectations. The dinner stewards that we had for our set dinner hour was top notch. Truly professional in all phases. Always there to please no matter what we asked, they provide without hesitation or difficulty. The set meals were four or five course dinners with all the trimmings served with the upmost standards anyone could accept. Our tour included several ports which were well organized with great organziation and throughput. We are truly amazed just how large Holland America line is. They of course have the ship line, sister line of Princes, along with all the land base hotels, were all owned by Holland America, which made every stop transparent and smooth going. No complaints there either. Just to notch in every since of comfort and price. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
The food in both the dining room and on the lido deck was excellent and always presented beautifully. Service was excellent. The ship was sparkling clean everywhere we went. I would highly recommend this ship. We liked our room with a ... Read More
The food in both the dining room and on the lido deck was excellent and always presented beautifully. Service was excellent. The ship was sparkling clean everywhere we went. I would highly recommend this ship. We liked our room with a veranda. It was not near the elevator, which is good. You don't want a room in the open hall by the elevators because when people get off the elevator they talk loudly and wake you up. We played a lot of trivia, which was fun, but the competition was stiff. We also liked America's Test Kitchen. This cruise was on the inside passage in Alaska, from Seward to Vancouver. The scenery was beautiful and we loved the stops in Haines, Juneau and Ketchikan. We went for a whale-watching day trip in Seward before the cruise and were not disappointed. We saw orcas, humpbacks, sea otters, seals, sea lions, and bald eagles. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Overall a great cruise experience , the ship well maintained throughout , the cabin was very nicely appointed and there was plenty of storage . In addition , the cabin steward service was excellent . The main dinning room food was average ... Read More
Overall a great cruise experience , the ship well maintained throughout , the cabin was very nicely appointed and there was plenty of storage . In addition , the cabin steward service was excellent . The main dinning room food was average , however the upscale additional fee restaurants were very nice and the food was excellent . As a blues fans we really enjoyed the excellent entertainment in the BB King lounge , it was really top notch . The main shows in the large auditorium each night were also very entertaining , a combination of dance and music. . The crew was attentive and eager to please . Very few children on this voyage , so it was relaxing and quite. Additional on-board activities included art appreciation seminars and an on-board art auction . There was also several classical music recitals that were well preformed and you had an opportunity to get to know the artists. The ports were all enjoyable and the scenery to and from them was amazing. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Experienced a wonderful vacation trip on the Noordam 7- night cruise to Alaska via the Inside Passage. Really enjoyed spending the day/night in Vancouver pre-cruise. The Alaskan scenery was just jaw-dropping, humbling, and we really hit it ... Read More
Experienced a wonderful vacation trip on the Noordam 7- night cruise to Alaska via the Inside Passage. Really enjoyed spending the day/night in Vancouver pre-cruise. The Alaskan scenery was just jaw-dropping, humbling, and we really hit it well for the weather. The cruise was definitely tilted towards older cruisers. My wife and I are on either side of 60 and we were completely comfortable. Food was excellent throughout. But the real difference makers were the Holland America staff. Without exception they were gracious, welcoming, helpful and seemed very genuine. Our only other cruise experience was with NCL in Hawaii -the experiences were completely, definitely at opposite ends of the spectrum. We were able to do some exceptional port trips. In Ketchikan I took a float plane trip into Misty Fjords Nat Monument with Mountain Air. An experience I will remember forever. Great scenery and a wonderful day - landed on a mountain lake and saw a brown bear mom and cub - WOW! In Juneau we took a whale watching/glacier hike/ photo safari. I'd go again in a minute Gastineau Tours are total professionals and provided us a great day. In Skagway we took a river raft float trip on the Chikat River. Again a beautiful day and trip. Couple of pleasant surprises for us were how easy it was to embark/disembark absolutely no hassle, very organized. The free laundry service is an underpublicized perk - I could have packed a lot lighter. Bit of a throw-back experience in that we dressed for dinner 3 nights - very enjoyable. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
I chose this cruise because it was the only cruise to go to glacier bay. I felt the ship was classic. Perfect size to not get lost and interact with others. Our cabin and bathroom was larger than other ships. The specialty dining in ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it was the only cruise to go to glacier bay. I felt the ship was classic. Perfect size to not get lost and interact with others. Our cabin and bathroom was larger than other ships. The specialty dining in pinnacle and the Italian were extraordinary. The dining room and vista lounge food was very good and service excellent. We had a beverage package which was good but wine choices were limited. The entertainment in the B.B. king lounge was the best talent ever. We went to every show every night. The other shows were mediocre. The comedian was funny but the ship performance was boring. A bit of variety in the dance would have made it a bit better. The excursions were ok and ports terrific. I traveled with r couples of family and friends. There were a few children on the ship but cloud was older which was what I liked. The test kitchen was a great contribution to the cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
My wife and I long ago started working on our travel list and have been around the world by air and land. We have had some great adventures and consider ourselves blessed. The idea of a cruise never appealed to my wife....(rumors of ... Read More
My wife and I long ago started working on our travel list and have been around the world by air and land. We have had some great adventures and consider ourselves blessed. The idea of a cruise never appealed to my wife....(rumors of crowds, lines, disorganization, media reports of fights, hurricane cruises etc) When Alaska came up we knew we had to do something different as it is best accessed by sea. After some convincing she agreed to give it a try. I researched the cruise lines and quickly discovered my alignment with HAL. In short Luxury at an amazing price point with the right size ships with our likes ( strings, art, lingering four course gourmet cuisine, wine, specialty dining, clean an comfortable accomodations, awesome service, great communication, scenic itinerary, a focus on safety, and always a smile) Shortly after boarding I asked the cabin steward what it was like to work for HAL. To paraphrase he indicated that he had worked for them since 1996 and felt loyal to the brand as they have treated me well. He went on to say we take pride in our ship, we are family, and this is our home. Really enough said. The leadership of this organization shines through from the Captain to the Cabin Steward. Bravo HAL, my wife said she felt like a queen. See you next year on the Mediterranean. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This was a last minute cruise for us - we wanted to get away for a few days so we were looking for something with a short flight to get there and then be able to relax. There were great prices on this 7 day Alaska cruise on the Noordam so ... Read More
This was a last minute cruise for us - we wanted to get away for a few days so we were looking for something with a short flight to get there and then be able to relax. There were great prices on this 7 day Alaska cruise on the Noordam so we grabbed it. We usually cruise on HAL, so we knew pretty much what to expect - and we enjoy what Holland has. We did fly in to Vancouver the day before just to be safe. I had been reading about difficult embarkation in Vancouver (long lines, luggage problems, etc), so we went down to the terminal about 10:30 AM. Our taxi dropped us off at the luggage drop off, and we went right thru that, then up to the HAL check in, thru US Customs (yes, US because we were cruising to the US), and then we were done - took maybe 10 minutes! We were on the ship by 11:30, so I've got to say the embarkation was about perfect! We enjoyed lunch in the MDR then took time to wander and explore the ship. The Noordam is a sister ship to the Zuiderdam, which we've cruised on several times, so no surprises there. Our cabin stewards were excellent and took care of our every need. The concierges in the Neptune Lounge were very helpful to answer questions and help solve anything that came up. We usually had lunch on the Lido (I love the DIVE-IN) and dinner in the MDR. The food was great, the service was excellent - and if you have the chance to have the Gianduiotto for dessert, ask for 2 right off - if you like chocolate, you'll think you died and went straight to Chocolate heaven! - THE BEST We used the ship's excursions twice - the whale watch in Juneau and the White Pass & Yukon raiload in Skagway - it was actually less expensive than the one we tried to book on our own. We loved the railroad experience - it was a motor coach up to Caribou Crossing/Yukon then back to Fraser, BC to get on the train. We saw great scenery both ways but wish we could have had the train from Carcross, insread of Fraser. We didn't go to many of the shows at night - not because they weren't very good, but we were pretty tired from such a full day and wanted to be ready for the next day. We did enjoy the Lincoln Center Stage each night - just wish the room was larger. It was very popular and lots of SRO. We did enjoy America's Test Kitchen but wish they would be able to share what they cooked. On past HAL cruises I enjoyed the Digital Workshops, but the ones offered here were ones I had done already - maybe they could get some new options for repeat cruisers. Disembarkation in Seward was good - a nice bus ride up the Anchorage (driver was very knowledgeable about the area and what we were seeing). We got to the airport in plenty of time to catch our 1 PM flight. We cruise on Holland America because we don't go on a cruise for the flowriders, rock walls, water slides, etc - we like to relax and enjoy the view. We love Holland America and will continue to enjoy their service and their "Classic" cruising. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Embarkation: Since we live in Hawaii, it was just a short drive to Aloha Tower. First of all, as far as Holland was concern, it was great and fast. Very friendly and they were so helpful. Now regarding security at Aloha Tower, that ... Read More
Embarkation: Since we live in Hawaii, it was just a short drive to Aloha Tower. First of all, as far as Holland was concern, it was great and fast. Very friendly and they were so helpful. Now regarding security at Aloha Tower, that was a different story. They told us were to go and when we got there, they told us to go back to another place. Without getting into details, I thought TSA was bad, These guys take the cake. Ship: Been watching YouTube a lot regarding the ship so I was a bit familar with the lay out. I feel that helped with what to expect. Personally, I like the midsize ship. That being said, the disclaimer is that I never been on a mega-ship yet. But it was nicely laid out. The only thing I wished was that the atrium area was bigger and had more activities. They have a bar but it was only open whenever they had a tasting. Ship was very clean. Had a few nice quiet places if you just wanted to read a book. The canopy over the pool was good when it rained a little and when the weather got a little colder. Dining: Since we upgraded to the Neptune Suite, we where able to eat breakfast in the Pinnacle Grille. It was nice and quiet, unlike the MDR and buffet. After all, we just got up! Breakfast had the same menu as the MDR. Did a couple of nights there for dinner. I rarely ever get full of crab legs but the King Crab legs they served......I almost couldn’t eat dessert. And It tasted good. Food in the MDR was excellent too. Buffet was good. I would say it was one of the better buffets we had. Activities: To be honest, there really wasn’t much. However, one of the reasons I wanted to try this cruise was to unwind. With 5 days at sea, I was wondering if I would be bored to death. On the contrary, during those days, I joined my wife at the America Test Kitchen, went to the Windows classes twice a day, did on trivia contest, a meet and greet, and hung out by the pool a little. They had some shows but we only went to 2 out of the 3. It was okay. Honestly, I was okay with all of that since I really just wanted to unwind. Perhaps a few more things would be nice. Shore Actitivies: Since we live in Hawaii, we didn’t sign up for anything. Just took a walk down Front Street in Lahaina and a very small shopping center in Kauai. Service: Excellent. In our case, the Neptune Lounge relationship personal, Stewards, waiters and bartenders knew us and addressed us by name. Felt they went out of their way to make us welcome. Disembarkation: Fast and easy leaving the ship. Terminal was a little confusing in find out transport to the airport but since our flight was in the afternoon, no big deal. One bonus was that Holland lets you stay in your cabin until your group was called. Overall Impression: After talking it over with my wife, YES, I would sail with them again. Concerning what I wanted for this cruise, I got it. Granted, If I was going with a bunch of my friends, I would go on another cruise line with more activities like NCL. But for what I wanted, this was great. Thanks again Holland America!!! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Firstly, disregard all the negative reviews of this ship. It is a meticulously maintained, modern ship with top quality food and staff. Many people reviewing relatively luxury cruise ships, like the ms Noordam, have silver spoons broken ... Read More
Firstly, disregard all the negative reviews of this ship. It is a meticulously maintained, modern ship with top quality food and staff. Many people reviewing relatively luxury cruise ships, like the ms Noordam, have silver spoons broken off inside them and tend to complain about ridiculous things, like slices of lemon. Holland America Line is by no means a party ship, or even a 'family-fun' cruise line. It is a cruise line designed for unwinding and relaxing with just enough entertainment to make you want to never go home. I am 30 and found this cruise to be fantastic, although I know a few party-animal friends that would be bored to tears on this ship. If you want to party, go on a carnival line. Also, I counted 9 children out of about 1500 people, and these children must have had their voice-boxes removed as they were quiet, obedient and barely noticeable. Ship The ms Noodrem is a modern, luxury ship designed to provide panoramic views without the weather disruptions (these ships were designed with cold-weather cruises in-mind). Expect lots of glass on the lido deck, overlooking the ocean. Expect heated pools and a sauna. The ship is exceptionally well appointed with modern amenities and brand-new trimmings. The ship has no worn carpet or torn furniture - that is a total lie. Cabin We had a balcony cabin just under the lido deck. The balcony was huge with good privacy and amazing views. I should mention we originally booked a balcony room on the 5th floor - I would not recommend this level due to potential obstructions from the tender/lifeboats found midship. The balcony room was large, comfortable, and well maintained. There were a few squeaks from the roof during rough seas but nothing to worry me. In the mornings and evenings, noise from above was heard but did not bother us in the slightest - would definitely book another room under the Lido deck. Dining Food was of very high quality except the odd dish, which didn't have much flavour. The formal dining room produced amazingly high quality food, with exceptional service. Worth noting, it takes about 2 hours from the time you order until the time you finish dessert in this formal setting. The lido market, the buffet, was fantastic. You could find a seat easily, unless you were fussy and wanted to sit near the huge panoramic windows (which we wanted to). Food was great although more variety day-to-day would have been nice. Entertainment This was probably the only issue I had. Entertainment varied from exceptional and hilarious to boring and embarrassing. The comedian was absolutely hilarious and the Noordam dancers were quite good however the guest singer, who did 2 shows, was embarrassing and ridiculous - she tried to be funny and was not. At all. I have seen some pretty amazing shows while at sea so I may not be the best person to judge the entertainment on the Noordam. Things like the BBC presentations were great but bingo was less energetic than what you would find at a retirement home. Again, I have played bingo on P&O, which, hands-down, is the most fun you will ever have blotting numbers. Service Service was the best I have ever experienced. Land or sea. The staff are courteous, friendly and attentive. They will bring you dessert without asking as they have noticed your favourite ones the night before. They were that dedicated and hard working, I often felt guilty. You could not fault any of them. Ports and Shore excursions. Although a little bit more expensive than other cruise lines I have been on, they were not over-the-top. Expect to pay 10-20% more for a similar shore excursion when compared to Royal Caribbean or P&O and about the same as what you would expect from Princess or Celebrity. Very good range and all the benefits of booking through the cruise line - cancellation refunds are instant should the excursion be cancelled, they'll wait for you if delayed and you're covered, somewhat, with their insurance. All in all, an exceptional cruise filled with friendly, traveled people who are happy to have a chat with you. Disregard the other reviews, you will love it, unless you're a teenager looking to party. If you are not sure if you will like it, you will, I promise. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Summary: We chose this cruise for the itinerary after first looking at a similar Oceania cruise; we saved substantially on HAL, and for this itinerary that was more important to us than the expected diminution of values relating to the ... Read More
Summary: We chose this cruise for the itinerary after first looking at a similar Oceania cruise; we saved substantially on HAL, and for this itinerary that was more important to us than the expected diminution of values relating to the cabin, passengers and food. We were very pleasantly surprised at the high quality of service we received from the Maitre D, Waiter and Assistant Waiter; cabin service was excellent and we found the crew as a whole very pleasant. Food and Entertainment greatly exceeded our expectations. Embarkation: We did not board until 2:30 as were were enjoying Sydney (we spent 4 days pre-cruise there and wish we had spent 6); when we did board the process was efficient and fast. We brought on board 6 bottles of wine purchased in Australia; we were charged for 2 immediately (and the others as we used them in the Dining Room). No issues there. Cabin: When we reached our cabin we received our luggage in short order; our cabin steward came by and we requested that the fridge be emptied as we were only going to use it to cool wine bottles and water; this was seen to very quickly and for the rest of the cruise the fridge, not being overfilled, worked quite well. Twice a day service kept the cabin in good shape. See below for more detail. Dining: We had an early assignment in the Dining Room as requested, and were seated at the higher level at a table for 4, but occupied only by us - this was better than the two top we requested. During the cruise the 3 course dinners were served very quickly (45-50 minutes) which was fine with us; we had time to go to the Lincoln Center and other entertainment thereafter if we chose. Service including water refills was excellent. If we wanted an additional appetizer this was never an issue. Given the temperature limitations of cooking meats on a cruise ship we thought the chefs did quite well; medium rare was usually medium rate though not as juicy as at a land based restaurant. Some of the dinner apps and mains were really excellent, including Veal Roast in a mushroom sauce, and perfectly prepared Tuna. Pretty much everything was good or better. We tried Canaletto one night; it was decent but not outstanding. Pinnacle was great for lunch, and good at dinner but the wonderful Bouilliabaisse served at lunch was unavailable at dinner. Sel De Mer (X2) was very very good, with the sweetest lobster with brown butter sauce, Torchon of foie gras, a heaping plate of very fresh seafood for from clams to crab legs for a measly $25, great truffled potatoes and a very good classic souffle for dessert. Cellar Master's Dinner was very very well done and a real bargain compared to more expensive dinners we experienced on Oceania's Riviera. Beef tenderloin had very good flavor. Desserts in all venues were usually quite good. We asked our Maitre D if we could experience an Indonesian dinner and he provided us with an off menu dinner one night and an Indian dinner another, both very enjoyable. Only had dinner once in Lido; had pasta and enjoyed it.We had all but one of our breakfasts in the Lido, which was very crowded; omelets were very well made in accordance with instructions; good smoked salmon every day; tried to get creamed herring every day but failed (despite promises); the only downsides at breakfast were absence of fresh berries and overworked wait staff making it hard to get beverage refills. The other down side, in virtually every setting, was the fact that we could overhear our neighbors, which was usually annoying and at times painful; I would vote for higher noise level so that we wouldn't have that repeated experience. The Ship: Noordam is not new, but we don't have a fetish about that and we found it and its condition more than good enough. There were a few leaks (one big one just outside the Lido) on rainy days but otherwise no issues. Covered pool area was nice on cool days; hot tubs being available early and last was nice. Music played in various public areas and the Lido was just a weird mix, though sometimes the crew liked to sing along. I was told that the same music is played in all ships which suggests that little though is put into it. Pinnacle thankfully had some quieter classical music. Compared to Riviera, the ship has fewer quiet public spaces but we found a few; there is at times a near claustrophobic feel especially when large numbers of people are rambling towards Vista Lounge for a show. The small cabins can get that way as well. Photography and Cruise Art areas which must be passed several times a day were tiresome as well (haven' been on a cruise with those in about 15 years), but this was a minor annoyance. Noordam still has a nice library (as of now). We had very good weather for the whole cruise and almost no rocking or vibration. Crew (Service) :Great, the Captain made timely and good announcements, Cruise Director was fine. Entertainment: Lincoln Center featured 5 very talented musicians playing different concerts 5 nights a week in a very nice dedicated space with good sound - a mix of classical concerts, and other types of music all played very well. This truly made a huge difference for us. BB Kings was enjoyable. The Comedian and Violinist who played at Vista were fun; I did not like the pianist "Hyperbole" Knight, who performed a Readers Digest version of Rachmaninoff, but I was definitely in the minority. Port information shows were very good. That's about it for entertainment for us: we didn't do trivia etc. We also didn't do bars. My wife enjoyed her one beauty treatment (expensive as expected). Ships' stores had a few pleasant items (magnets and earrings) but nothing serious. Ports and Shore Excursions: We did our own excursions except one ship excursion which was rather disappointing. Captain did a great job showing everyone Milford Sound. Very nicely arranged shuttle buses where needed. Passengers: the vast majority ranged in age from 50 to 75, with the largest number from the US, followed by Australia. The Americans were from all over the US, but the majority (from conversations we couldn't avoid hearing) were conservative and if they weren't comparing notes on their cruise experiences they would share their social observations; the group was much more conservative in their expression than any cruise I've been on; since we traveled in part to escape that it was disappointing. Aside from that e were very happy with this cruise. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We are an early 40's married couple who travel permanently and have taken about 10 cruises in the last 18 months. We have sailed HAL, Celebrity, NCL, P/O Australia and Regent. Our previous experience on HAL has only been on the ... Read More
We are an early 40's married couple who travel permanently and have taken about 10 cruises in the last 18 months. We have sailed HAL, Celebrity, NCL, P/O Australia and Regent. Our previous experience on HAL has only been on the Koningsdam. We chose this cruise to celebrate Xmas and NYE after loving a similar cruise last year and to see some of the south pacific we have not visited before. We had amazing weather on this cruise and very smooth seas which helped make it a great cruise. As with our other HAL cruise the average age of fellow passengers was quite high and the overall vibe of the ship more conservative than what we have found on Celebrity and NCL. We embarked in Sydney (where we are originally from) at the White Bay terminal. Embarkation was reasonably smooth bar the annoyingly condescending terminal staff who seem to suffer from self importance delusions. The Noordam is similar in size to most other ships we have been on. The layout was simple to follow. It is about 10 years old and probably needs a make over. The theme is nautical with dark colours. It was kept very clean and seemed to be maintained well. We loved the promenade deck which was a nice place to walk and a great place to relax in the shade and we had no problem finding a lounger. The explorations cafe is a nice large area with books and games. The crows nest was also a favourite and much better than on the Koningsdam. There were 2 pool areas on either side of the Lido. We had an inside cabin which we found smaller than other cabins we have had. The storage also felt less than usual. The bed was large and very comfortable. The tv was basic but we rarely used it. The shower was a bit small and we didn't like the use of a curtain. Also the layout meant that one person exiting the bathroom while the other was getting changed was completely incompatible and dangerous if a warning was not given of exiting the bathroom. Our attendant was superb. Dining: Breakfast we either used room service or the Lido. Room service was on time but the eggs were awful (powder I assume). The Lido had good options with different egg options, different bacon and plenty of smoked salmon with a reasonable selection of breads. We like that it is not self serve although it did make it slower. The layout of the tables etc was good and service was reasonable. We used the MDR for lunch on sea days and always prefer it there, food was basic but tasty. Other times we had a burger from the burger bar which are a high standard or a freshly made salad from the Lido (great healthy option). Dinner - we didn't use the specialty restaurants as did on our last cruise and found them to be inconsistent, it also annoys me that most of the other patrons are staff and officers and hence you feel like you are subsidising them. The MDR had good quality food (not bread) and in particular desserts were the best we have seen for some time. Service was generally very good although on the few occasions there was an issue they were poor at dealing with (eg a hair in one of the dishes did not receive an apology or even a change to another dish). The issue was the seating at the MDR, queues were common, reservations did not help as you still had to join the same queue. Requests to eat at other times didn't help either. The sommeliers were far too slow and often we did not get any wine until half way thru our main course and in the end I often left the MDR and got my own from nearby bars. Entertainment - we appreciate the effort the ship made for Xmas (lots of carols, decorations, xmas food, special cocktails etc) and nye (fun outdoors party). The production singers were of a high standard but some of the shows seemed very short and it would be good to see a live orchestra used more. Guest entertainers were mostly singers and generally entertaining. Jo Little was a highlight. The cruise director was friendly and knew us by name and we found him (Andy Knox) to be highly visible. He was usually at the tenders in the morning and could always be found fraternising after the shows. Erin the assistant cruise director was absolutely charming and took on a huge amount of activities and dj'ing. We enjoy activities and found this cruise to have less than normal especially in comparison to NCL or P/O. Some more dance classes would have been great. The cooking demonstrations were so tedious we didn't bother. The aboriginal art and didgeridoo classes were terrific. Service was generally of a high standard. The front desk was inconsistent in knowledge and generally rude in dealing with accounting errors (always their fault but always presumed it was ours). Bar staff was about average but generally friendly but they would at all times try and get you to order away from the bar and use a waiter. This is fine but then they would always give priority to those who refused and stayed at the bar. We bought the SBP, we think it is a good deal for us as we like to try a number of different drinks and allows us to get sparkling water regularly and plenty of specialty coffees. We also like that we can take unopened drinks back to our cabin. The wine choices were too limited. There is a 15 drink limit which is fine but there is a lot of confusion around whether this is only alcoholic drinks (all bar tenders say it is and front desk says it is not - poor policy) and there is no way of the ship keeping a record?? The itinerary was mostly beach oriented which was fine by us and we found some great snorkelling options. Noumea - xmas day so most things closed. We went to duck island using the lyvia HOHO. Very nice snorkelling. Isle of Pines - spectacular place - we snorkelled all over Kunamera Bay (not just the rock) and walked and relaxed on Kuto Beach. Private tours were available but not to the natural aquarium which was a shame. Lifou - we spent the entire day at Jinek Bay as it was a snorkelers paradise! Mystery Island - unfortunately blue bottles on the snorkelling side so just relaxed on beach. Port Villa - fought off the touts took a water taxi to town and then a bus out to the cascades. Nice place but expensive for what it is then walked to the Secret Garden which was ok. Luganville - ignored touts walked into town and finally found a fair taxi. Went to million dollar point, took canoe on riri river and blue hole and did water dance cultural visit. Champagne Bay - snorkelling and beach. Easo - only half day so went to the beach and snorkelled. HAL has price guarantee on tours but it was obvious they threatened local ports to not allow tour companies to offer private options. Disembarkation very easy. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Spent a few days in Auckland before boarding the Noordam. Embarkation takes awhile to get so many people onboard. Spent about an hour waiting in line. Once you get through the line, it is a quick process for getting your cruise card ... Read More
Spent a few days in Auckland before boarding the Noordam. Embarkation takes awhile to get so many people onboard. Spent about an hour waiting in line. Once you get through the line, it is a quick process for getting your cruise card and going through security. The ship is remarkably clean, and well maintained. Not a large ship, so it does not take long to walk from one end of the ship to the other. The crew is amazingly friendly and helpful. Incredible how so many crew can remember your name just after a few days. Really enjoyed the food and service in the Main Dining Room. Never felt rushed. Waiters were wonderful. Lido buffet for breakfast and lunch were always very crowded. Takes awhile to find a seat, but the food and service was also good. The cabin stewards kept the cabin clean and refreshed multiple times during the day. The production singers and dancers get and A for effort. Not the glitzy and highly produced productions you find on larger ships, but still fun entertainment. Comedians, vocalist, and instrumentalists filled the other nights shows, and were all very good. Piano bar entertainer was quite talented, and was fun to pop into at anytime in the evening. Great ports with beautiful scenery. A couple of tender ports that took some time waiting in line, but were handled quite efficiently. All in all a great cruise with a wonderful crew. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
If you are taking a cruise that takes over 20 hours to get to you should maximize your stay. We made sure we allowed for a couple of days in Auckland before the cruise and Sydney at the end of the cruise. Holland cruises are known for ... Read More
If you are taking a cruise that takes over 20 hours to get to you should maximize your stay. We made sure we allowed for a couple of days in Auckland before the cruise and Sydney at the end of the cruise. Holland cruises are known for catering to an older crowd and this cruise was no different. Being in our sixties puts is in the mean demographic of most of our fellow passengers. It was a diverse group that included passengers from all over the world. We always chose anytime dining and enjoy sitting with different passengers at every dinner. It makes for very interesting conversations. The Noordam has a large percentage of their cabins with balconies so the price to upgrade to a balcony is not very much and well worth it. The weather and the views make it a excellent place to enjoy the wonderful scenery. New Zealand is a magical place and one of the most beautiful places on earth. Tasmania and big brother Australia are also both wonderful places to visit. Not only are they beautiful but the people are some of the nicest you will ever encounter. You will never get lost in these places as somebody will always come up to you and ask if they can help. The ship was in great condition and as with all the Holland cruises we have experienced, the staff was wonderful. The Noordam carries only around 2000 passengers which these days is considered a smaller ship. The room was adequately sized with a very comfortable bed and our room steward took very good care of us. We never had to wait in lines for anything on this ship. The food was the consistent high quality I have always enjoyed on Holland both in the dining room and at the Lido Buffet. The Pinnacle Steak house if very much worth the up-charge for a intimate evening with your spouse. Selection was also excellent and should satisfy many different peoples requirements. Although onboard activities were limited due to the aggressive port schedule, Holland's association with Americas Test Kitchen was very popular and enjoyable. I would have enjoyed a bit more seminars on other activities like nature, finance etc. Entertainment in the main Vista Lounge I felt was a bit lacking although there were some decent one off comedians and musicians. The ships singers and dancers provided shows that in my eyes were just not contemporary and were boring. Holland has the B.B. King Blues Lounge which has three shows a night with a live R&B band. The house blues band on this ship and all the other Holland Cruises I have been on were excellent. Clearly, the most popular place in the evening for music and dancing. Holland offers port and shore excursions through it's EXC excursion product however we chose other operators Viator and AAA because we felt they offer better bank for our buck. All of our excursion were in smaller vans and were a bit more personal. We also prebooked some bike excursions that we enjoyed especially our tour with Bike Tour Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia. Steve Connor, the owner, gives you an excellent tour of his city. We were fortunate to have perfect weather for the majority of our cruise. This from what I have heard is unusual; however, we must have been blessed. We sailed into Fjordlands National Park in New Zealand without a cloud in the sky! Most of the cruise was in calm waters. If you like cruising, this is a cruise you should look into. 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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