837 Holland America Noordam Cruise Reviews

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
Sail Date April 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
Sail Date March 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
Sail Date February 2018
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
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
Sail Date December 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
Sail Date November 2017
We selected the transpacific repositioning cruise aboard the Noordam out of Honolulu which included not just south Pacific island stops, but Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart Tasmania but an additional 14 days around New Zealand. The showtime ... Read More
We selected the transpacific repositioning cruise aboard the Noordam out of Honolulu which included not just south Pacific island stops, but Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart Tasmania but an additional 14 days around New Zealand. The showtime entertainment couldn't have been better in the Vista Lounge. We enjoyed so many very accomplished artists. The ship's regular entertainment was excellent, but the same shows were offered several times during the different segments of the reposition cruise. The different musical venues provided great listening and dancing aboard the Noordam. The service of the crew was outstanding. The Lido deck staff was always prompt and helpful with a smile whether it was in serving up our meal or assisting us to a table. Dinner in the dining room was always lovely and it was fun conversing and getting to know other travelers like ourselves. Our stateroom was comfortable and afforded enough storage for our items. I loved having the tub/shower combo. Our stateroom attendants were always prompt and thorough. Our only comment would be that they schedule more and a variety of activities during the day on the many sea days. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We only went as far as Honolulu -- 11 days. The ship continued on to Sydney for the majority of the passengers, with some going on to New Zealand. The embarkation was a slow, tedious process involving a couple of hours slowly moving ... Read More
We only went as far as Honolulu -- 11 days. The ship continued on to Sydney for the majority of the passengers, with some going on to New Zealand. The embarkation was a slow, tedious process involving a couple of hours slowly moving forward in a long line. It was a busy weekend at the Vancouver cruise port and the line ups were mostly about security clearance. Wish they could find a better way to deal with it. Once on board the pleasure began. It felt like the entire ship and crew was arranged to suit our relaxation and pleasure. I had a few qualms based on some reports but everything was most satisfactory. The ship was clean and in good condition. Our cabin was small but functional. The food was very good and if you didn't care for something, there was always something else available. I would have liked to see better prepared vegetables and more choice. There seemed to be a vegetable of the day, one day both appetizers and main course vegetable would be green beans, next day, asparagus and next day zucchini. Loved the salad bar and the choices available there. The coffee seemed improved. This cruise had a lot of sea days but there was so much to do, if you so chose. The one board 'Hawaiian ambassadors' offered lei making, bracelet making, hula lessons, ukulele lessons, Hawaiian language lessons, sarong tying lessons -- all materials provided. There were lectures, diverse music offerings, trivia, and sports activities. Best music was provided by the Jukebox Rogues who performed in the Vista Lounge on two occasions. Outstanding! We don't patronize the spa, shops or photographer. None seemed very busy but I suppose they must generate revenue. Really, there was something for everyone. The cruise director and assistant cruise director were friendly and did a good job. I like the automatic print outs of your account available at the front office. We found the service excellent. As we didn't have any problems or issues we only dealt with the front office to change a $20 to four $5s. They were happy to do that for us. I want to provide a balanced review but I have difficulty in coming up with anything to complain about. We didn't see whales or dolphins leaping out of the water for our viewing pleasure in the Pacific Ocean but I don't think I can hold Holland America responsible for that. We look forward to our next cruise with this line. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
The ship needs a little sprucing but is due for dry dock this fall. The service and the meals were excellent as usual. The ship is lovely, newer and well planned. We loved the cruise. The last 2 weeks, the rain and fog had been present ... Read More
The ship needs a little sprucing but is due for dry dock this fall. The service and the meals were excellent as usual. The ship is lovely, newer and well planned. We loved the cruise. The last 2 weeks, the rain and fog had been present daily but for us, things changed and the temperature was very good for the whole week. The embarkation was a breeze and there was no crowds on the ship during the week and we never had to line up except briefly at some more popular food stations in the Lido. Entertainment was varied but a bit weak. The BBC films and special activities were the best. Everybody did a good job. The cruise was pleasant and we enjoyed ourselves. We went to the Pinacle and Canelleto and enjoyed both venues with local specialties of fresh fish and gorgeous steaks. The staff everywhere did their utmost to please us. There were amost 200 children on board but we hardly saw them and they never bothered us. All were well behaved. It was one of our best Alaska cruise so far. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This is our 5th Alaska cruise. We love going to cool and beautiful places in the hot summers back home. We usually go up and back from Vancouver, which is wonderful. This time we flew to Anchorage, spend a week there and in Seward and took ... Read More
This is our 5th Alaska cruise. We love going to cool and beautiful places in the hot summers back home. We usually go up and back from Vancouver, which is wonderful. This time we flew to Anchorage, spend a week there and in Seward and took the Noordam south to Vancouver. it was a wonderful experience, the best we have had. The ship was comfortable and very enjoyable. We upgraded to a Signature Suite for the first time and that gave us a larger cabin (we previously only stayed in a Veranda cabin) that we really enjoyed: 2 sinks in the bath, more cabin room, larger veranda, etc. We found that eating breakfast and dinner in the dining room was great, more personal, better food, and kept us out of the highly competitive Lido dining. We asked for and got the same table each evening so that meant our serving staff got to know us and we got to know them too. We loved the fact that HAL gave us a full wrap-around walking deck that we could enjoy each day. Three times around the deck was one mile, and the beauty of the surroundings made walking a few miles really easy. We love going to Glacier Bay with the National Park rangers on board and that is something everyone who cruises this way should enjoy. This was the first time we had stopped in Haines, instead of Skagway, and that too was a surprising joy. We rented a car from Captains Choice rental cars and struck out on our own day of discovery. We saw lots of whales and wildlife on our shore excursion out of Juneau, and suffered through another required day in Ketchikan. Every cruise stops there and it is crazy busy. The Noordam needs a bit of refitting and I understand that is planned. But overall, this was a great ship and a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
The embarking process was very organized. Our bags were waiting for us at our room. Service was awesome in dining rooms and cocktail lounges. I am a late night person and would have like to have the lounges open late. Room service ... Read More
The embarking process was very organized. Our bags were waiting for us at our room. Service was awesome in dining rooms and cocktail lounges. I am a late night person and would have like to have the lounges open late. Room service and front desk crews were friendly and helpful. The food quality and selections were above expectation-all plates were prepared as requested. The wait staff accommodated all requested changes to substitute menu items. The staff was able to arrange a table for our entire party (8) each night of the cruise at the same time, having the same waiter enhanced the dining experience. Housekeeping on the boat was excellent everything was kept clean. The quality of the entertainment was very good, but repetitious each night. The shore excursions were informative, the tour guides were knowledgeable and made the excursions interesting. My expectations for the cruise were high and the crew delivered. Holland America stressed the importance of good hygiene during the cruise that helped insure a safe and healthy trip for all. We would travel again with Holland America Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This was our first cruise, and first time in Alaska, and both were amazing! The land tour was the first part of the trip, and the highlights of that tour were spending a day in Denali (recommend hiking the Savage Alpine Trail) and the ... Read More
This was our first cruise, and first time in Alaska, and both were amazing! The land tour was the first part of the trip, and the highlights of that tour were spending a day in Denali (recommend hiking the Savage Alpine Trail) and the train ride from Denali to Anchorage. Excellent tour guides made the transfers from city to city fun and informative. Once on the ship, the embarking process was very organized and our bags were waiting for us in our room. Service was excellent in the dining room and at the cabana, and the food in the main dining room was delicious. The cabin stewards were great and fixed a couple of problems with our inside cabin right away (plumbing and air conditioning issues). We also loved the "towel animals" that greeted us each night! For entertainment, we really enjoyed dancing to the BB King All Star band, the games and books in the Explorations Cafe, and our cabana. We didn't book any excursions through the cruise line, but we enjoyed all the ports. Overall, great service, yummy food, and fun live music to dance and listen to made this cruise a fantastic experience for this 30-something couple! Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Have wanted to do an Alaskan cruise for years and this was just the right time for us to do the cruise. From planning the cruise with our travel agent, to embarkation, after the "land portion", to debarkation everything was well ... Read More
Have wanted to do an Alaskan cruise for years and this was just the right time for us to do the cruise. From planning the cruise with our travel agent, to embarkation, after the "land portion", to debarkation everything was well planned and taken care of. No worries and no stress made for an awesome vacation. Stateroom was just the right size for the 2 of us and what can one say about the food --------- AWESOME! Our nightly visits to the "dessert bar" on the Lido deck should be the telling factor of how we enjoyed this cruise. We could hardly wait in the late evening (early mornings some times) to return to our cabin so we could find out what "towel animal" would greet us. From the cabin stewards to the dining room staff everyone is awesome and you are well taken care of and pampered to the maximum. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
What a wonderful cruise. We went to Corfu, Santorini, Sicily, Croatia, Turkey, Athens, Rome. So many wonderful places. Used Viator.com for shore excursions and was terrific. They guarantee to get back to the ship on time. Private ... Read More
What a wonderful cruise. We went to Corfu, Santorini, Sicily, Croatia, Turkey, Athens, Rome. So many wonderful places. Used Viator.com for shore excursions and was terrific. They guarantee to get back to the ship on time. Private tours with experts in history made for an awesome tour. Holland America was outstanding. Service was great and food, entertainment was wonderful as well. The flight to Europe was good and Holland America provided transportation to the hotel and then onto the ship, no problems with all the connections. We were able to board the ship early and get settled in the cabin and have lunch before the ship even sailed. Highly recommend getting to Rome, our departure city a couple days before so you can explore it. Did use the ships shores excursions for some trips and they were very good. I would highly recommend this cruise and would definitely do this same cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This was our first time cruising so we have nothing to compare the Noordam to but we have no complaints. The ship seems well maintained, is a good size, and the services were fine. The crew was exceptional. Our children didn't ... Read More
This was our first time cruising so we have nothing to compare the Noordam to but we have no complaints. The ship seems well maintained, is a good size, and the services were fine. The crew was exceptional. Our children didn't particularly enjoy the kids club but did enjoy the covered pool and spa, the DVD rental program. We're glad we booked a cabana for the length of the cruise. The price was a fraction of the cost of a balcony cabin and we were able to enjoy Glacier Bay from our very own perch with a 180-degree view. The service in the cabana was attentive and we were never without food or drinks. The Explorers Cafe was a great place to cozy up with coffee and write. I'm not sure when we will cruise again but when we do, it will be with Holland America. I can't imagine sailing on any of the larger, louder, frenetic lines. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Cruise was wonderful. Ate in Lido market all the time. Very friendly helpful staff. Room stewards were wonderful in cabin change. Ketchican duck boat was convient & very interesting. Microsoft seminars were very helpful. Take a ... Read More
Cruise was wonderful. Ate in Lido market all the time. Very friendly helpful staff. Room stewards were wonderful in cabin change. Ketchican duck boat was convient & very interesting. Microsoft seminars were very helpful. Take a thumb drive. Were able to look thru lifeboat on fully obstructed view cabin to see beautiful scenery. Nice large sliding door size window. Inside cabin was dark but not in cabin that much. Great if you needed it dark to sleep. We folded a towel & put it in bathroom door & left bathroom light on. Maybe great for Alaska midnight sun. Found it handy to take flat post office boxes. Handy for stuff on shelves to just pull box out. Then if you buy too much you can mail at post office in port. Free city buses in Seward, Haines & Ketchican very nice. Eagle foundation in Haines is truly awesome. Great for kids as well. Lots of taxidermy mounts to see & learn about. We took alarm clock, power strip & even electric Emersion heater. Quick coffee in the cabin in the am. Canadian food laws are stricter than USA. No artificial flavorings. Load up on chocolate Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Over the summer of 2017, my family and our close friends took an Alaskan cruise on the Noordam boat. My whole family enjoyed it and we all wished it had lasted longer. Everyone in the group had a special occasion, including anniversaries, ... Read More
Over the summer of 2017, my family and our close friends took an Alaskan cruise on the Noordam boat. My whole family enjoyed it and we all wished it had lasted longer. Everyone in the group had a special occasion, including anniversaries, 13th birthdays and 50th birthdays. Families or couples should make an effort to cruise on the Holland America Line because the food is great quality and taste, the rooms are tolerable, the activities and entertainment are chosen well, and the staff and customer services are extremely nice and helpful. The food on the boat was great quality and great taste. We had many options to choose from including, a burger and hot dog stand on the pool deck, a buffet and a dining room. They were all located on the 9th floor except the dining room was located in the back of the boat on the 2nd and 3rd floor. The buffet was open from 5am to 2pm then opened back up at 5pm till 10pm. The food to choose from was, pizza and pasta, salad bar, sandwiches and soups, sushi, and Asian and Indian food. The dessert bar was almost always open, with fruit and ice cream, cookies, pies and lots more. For breakfast it was always crowded. Options at that time where, waffles, cereal, omelets, crepes (which were a BIG hit), bacon and breakfast meats, fruit, yogurt and all types of juices. There was always a big thing about getting window seats. Since our group was so big (15 people) I would always walk around and try to find tables near each other, but that didn’t always work. Toward the end of the trip we found out that the dining room served breakfast so we started to eat there in the morning for breakfast. It would have been nice if we could have known at the beginning of the trip that the dinning room did breakfast. They would served almost the same things but more detailed. Dinner in the dining room was always a different menu, especially on gala nights. If you didn’t sign up for reservations before cruising then there was always a wait for dinner. Our group didn’t sign up for reservations, and with so many people we didn’t always sit with each other. Sometimes on gala nights, we called the dining room early to make a “day of reservation” but we were put on hold a lot. Since we were cruising to Alaska, Alaskan salmon was always a special. The food portions were not as big but always kept you enough room for dessert. You could order several meals one after another. One time my uncle ordered 4 entrees. Overall food quality and taste was great. The activities that took place on the Noordam were chosen very well and the entertainment was really amusing. Almost every night the music and dance team on the boat would put on a performance. When the cruise staff didn’t put on there own show, there was a comedian and a magician, which were fantastic. Also on board were several bands, a piano bar, cooking shows, trivia, bingo and even a 5k that raised money for cancer research for when we were at sea for a whole day. There were also kids clubs for different age groups. There was an inside and outside pool with 5 hot tubs. There was a spa for scheduling a massage and a gym that has classes or you can work out by yourself. For always being a person who is quickly bored, I was never bored on this trip. Having so many activities probably made the trip more fun. The customer services on the Noordam were extremely helpful and the staff were very nice. Our first night we met our favorite waiter his name was Suef, with a silent f. He memorized everyone’s names at the tables. Any other time we saw him the would say, “How‘s it going Cali?” or “What's up Finn!” Our room service staff were extremely kind and anytime we asked for something, they would always follow up with a big smile. The customer service on the main floor were always there to answer your questions. This trip couldn’t have been extremely relaxing without the help of all the staff. From memories of elevators and stair races to our room, magnificent views out every window, to eating ice cream at least 3 times a day, I had the best time ever. There is not a day I don't look back to that trip. By the time the trip was over and we were sitting in the Vista Lounge waiting for our bus, it didn't feel like the trip was 7 days. It went by very quickly. I am sure that everyone else sitting around me was thinking that too, whether they knew it or not. Altogether the trip was amazing, and everyone had a great time. Holland America did a great job planning the trip. I will definitely, in the future, be looking for more cruises on the Holland America Line. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This cruise was arranged by a travel agent friend. We enjoyed every part: the shuttle from Anchorage to the boat dock, the cabin, food, activities, ports of call, efficient embarkation and debarkation and the congenial staff. The room ... Read More
This cruise was arranged by a travel agent friend. We enjoyed every part: the shuttle from Anchorage to the boat dock, the cabin, food, activities, ports of call, efficient embarkation and debarkation and the congenial staff. The room was equivalent to a upscale hotel room with private bath. The ship diagrams posted all over helped us get around. The overall route maps in the crows nest were informative. The food was plentiful and we always managed to find a place to sit, even at the busiest times. Crew members constantly greeted us with smiles and seemed happy to answer any questions we had. There were plenty of activities to appeal to varying interests,and the days at port were leisurely We did not have to wait to get on and off the ship. The crew did their best to prevent illnesses by providing plenty of hand sanitizing stations, and periodically disinfecting handrails. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Both the wife and I wanted to do a cruise to Alaska. Several friends that had sailed to Alaska on different lines recommended Holland America as the one we would enjoy the most. They also said to book a balcony as you could just watch the ... Read More
Both the wife and I wanted to do a cruise to Alaska. Several friends that had sailed to Alaska on different lines recommended Holland America as the one we would enjoy the most. They also said to book a balcony as you could just watch the world go by your balcony. We ended up with an aft corner Neptune. The cabin could not have been better. There was plenty of room to do whatever we wanted and the balcony was huge. We could walk up the side and see what was coming up or sit in one of the chairs or lounges and see where we had been. Our cabin stewards filled every wish and whim we asked of them. We had fresh fruit and flowers every day along with plenty of ice in the bucket. We chose "open dining" so that we could meet new and different people each night. We never had to wait for a table when we walked up at the MDR. We ate at the Pinnacle Grill one night and at the Canaletto one night. Of the two I preferred the Canaletto, and my wife enjoyed both equally. We met so many interesting people during the entire cruise and enjoyed seeing them later on and comparing experiences. We booked at least one excursion each port, plus walked around on our own. We enjoyed the totem poles, whale watching, and the train ride. The only downside of the trip was our accommodations at Denali Park. After sleeping on the bedding on the ship the mattress on both beds left a lot to be desired. They said accommodations were "rustic" but I think a $79 mattress from Walmart would have slept better! The bus ride from Seward to Denali was long! It was broken up by the commentary of the bus driver and spotting Moose, and other wildlife. The stories of all the excursion drivers were delightful and added a lot to the trips. Did you know there is a Walmart in Alaska that sells more than 200 miles of duct tape every year? The train ride back to Anchorage was much better than the bus trip out. When we left Denali it started snowing. For the NC woman I am married to this was a highlight not to be missed! The hotel we stayed at in Anchorage had a fantastic view from our room. The next morning we flew back to Seattle where we spent the night. We had an early flight out the next morning. One of the advantages of a Neptune Suite was priority boarding. In Vancouver there were two cruise ships boarding at the same time. We zipped past all the people waiting in lines and it took us around 10 minutes to have our cabin cards in hand and walking up to the ship. I have been told it sometime takes 3 hours of standing in line at Vancouver to board. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We got on at Vancouver and immediately say the huge ship at Canada Place (obvious where the ship was, but signs for where to get on the ship were less obvious). We got to the port early, so we had to stay in the waiting area around 90 ... Read More
We got on at Vancouver and immediately say the huge ship at Canada Place (obvious where the ship was, but signs for where to get on the ship were less obvious). We got to the port early, so we had to stay in the waiting area around 90 minutes. No added stress, no big deal. Disembarkation in Vancouver was even less stressful. Off the ship and in a taxi in a matter of minutes. Our verandah cabin and ship in general were well-kept and pleasant. The HAL crowd was older to be sure, but had a good number (around 30-40%) of people under 50, far from the Pacemakers R Us that other commenters would have you believe you are getting yourself into. Entertainment at the main theatre consisted of a comedian (off-colour, but hilarious... saw a few parents hastily escorting their teens after the first few jokes. Nothing that wouldn't be said in a middle school classroom for example, but that's their choice I guess), a magician with the standard cruise ship tricks, an excellent live music performance to scenes of animals in the wild, a crew performance, and broadway-style theatre, which was beyond amazing. They actually brought a broadway performer on board with CDs, autograph sessions, and everything. The more casual entertainment (string duet, game show, art lecture...) was great as well. Otherwise, the enrichment could be hit-or-miss. A few times nature interpretations would be listed as taking place on the pool deck, but once there the activity was not to be found. The staff were very nice and helpful on the whole. The front desk staff helped me more than once with great efficiency. The only downer was once in the Lido restaurant a server would serve all the tables around us (so we were in his section) but even after we flagged him down he promptly ignored our request for dirty dishes to be taken away. The cruise director was more than entertaining, and the cleaning staff were superb. We hit the ports of Juneau, Sitka, and Ketchikan. We did the ship's Mendenhall glacier tour, which was a stunning place but more than twice as expensive as joining your own tour from any of the kiosks on the pier at port. Sitka was our favourite port because it didn't scream cruise line; finally a break from every third person you meet wanting to sell you tanzanite rings. We didn't get to go to Skagway but got a few hours at Glacier Bay with some fantastic weather and finally went to Ketchikan. Did the crab feast, which served some very fresh, if over salted, crab. Speaking of crab, for great crab, go for the king crab shack next to the pier in Juneau. It definitely beats the frozen seafood on board; that said, food was of better quality than most. We enjoyed the dining room and the buffet. Personal favourites were the portobello burgers at the Dive-In and the bagged up sandwiches perfect for excursions. In all, would recommend the destination and liked the ship. Would love to see more of Alaska and British Columbia, not against going on this ship to do so. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Chose cruise because it was at the right time, and we didn't have to fly. The ship was lovely and comfortable, and the crew was friendland seemed very happy to be working there. I need gluten free/lactose-free food, and, as usual, ... Read More
Chose cruise because it was at the right time, and we didn't have to fly. The ship was lovely and comfortable, and the crew was friendland seemed very happy to be working there. I need gluten free/lactose-free food, and, as usual, this was accomodated cheerfully with delicious food. Just ask to preorder the previous evening or before noon, to make it easier for the staff. By the way, this also worked in the Cannaletto and Pinnacle restaurants. There is free stretch & abs/TBC every morning, which I liked. Team trivia was lots of fun, and educational. Our grandaughter and parents' room steward was a "saint": he rearranged their oceanview stareroom perfectly to fit a crib in a good place for them, and even sterilized the baby feeding equipment every day, and made their chaos into a pristine clean tidiness twice daily. Embarkation and disembarkation were handled smoothly. The ports were a real treat - we just choses to do walking tours becasue of the baby carriage, and there was tourist info. in each port to expedite this. In Juneau, I got off in plenty of time to take back to Invisible World an alpaca sweater which we had torn, which they had time to repair and give back to me the same afternoon. Great service all around! Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We chose this cruise to fit in with school holidays and to meet friends in Hawaii. The stateroom was excellent. See below. The ship was very lush and we enjoyed the ambience in every venue. All areas were well maintained and ... Read More
We chose this cruise to fit in with school holidays and to meet friends in Hawaii. The stateroom was excellent. See below. The ship was very lush and we enjoyed the ambience in every venue. All areas were well maintained and elegant. We knew the wifi would not be good, so we enjoyed having 2 weeks free of this. Dining. We could not fault any meal, whether it be in the Vista Dining room, Lido buffet, poolside or the specialty restaurants. We mainly ate in the Lido and always managed to find a seat at any time. There were little, if any, queues at each food station. We tried every station and were never disappointed. We never experienced food at incorrect temperatures. The food in the main dining room was very good, with small to medium portions which we appreciated. The Canaletto and Pinnacle dining rooms served wonderful food each time we visited them and the service was excellent. Entertainment. Every night we looked forward to the shows. There were great acts from Australia and at the end, a great a capella group from the USA. The acts were world class, (in our opinion) and were well received by the audiences every night. On a couple of occasions there was standing room only! Obviously the 8 o'clock crowd came back for more at 10pm! We were very impressed with all of them.We also very much enjoyed the BB Kings Blues Club on quite a few occasions. We had a great fun night on a "pub crawl" and enjoyed the piano bar a few times. Daytime activities were good, with our favourites being the daily team trivia, Happy Hour, food and wine pairing and a couple of culinary sessions and guest lecturers. We also enjoyed down time lazing in the aft pool, sitting on deck chairs and also on recliners in the Crow's Nest. We celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary with a Renewal of Vows ceremony. WOW! What a wonderful experience! The Captain presided over the ceremony(we were the only 2) and his wife was with him. We were overwhelmed with the attention to detail....champagne, finger food, corsage and buttonhole, photographer, wedding cake, dinner for 2 at the Pinnacle restaurant, flowers in our stateroom, swans and rose petals on our bed and a beautiful wedding album with our certificate, photos and mementos of the event. A magical night! Port excursions. We did a couple our ship excursions and 2 of our own. All were enjoyable (we were first timers to the South Pacific), even though the humidity was quite unbearable. I can recommend Ricky's Tours in Hilo, Hawaii. We met some wonderful people and thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. We would gladly go again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
This was our first cruise to Australia and the South Pacific. We rented an AirBnB in Sydney (near KingsCross) a week before the cruise to explore the many sights. As always with Holland America, the embarkation went smoothly and ... Read More
This was our first cruise to Australia and the South Pacific. We rented an AirBnB in Sydney (near KingsCross) a week before the cruise to explore the many sights. As always with Holland America, the embarkation went smoothly and quickly. Our luggage arrived to our cabin before we did and we were able to get unpacked and ready for our adventure. We set sail in the evening while taking in the beautiful night lights of Sydney harbour. We found the ports extremely interesting and we tried to learn as much as we could in the time alloted on shore. In Hilo and Honolulu we rented a car and travelled to the many sights which were noted on the ships shore excursions. There was no need to book an excursion in Dravuni as the passengers are tendered to the Island. Don't stay on the ship as you will miss this perfect Island! We hope to return one day to spend more time with the locals. Our ship couldn't go to two ports in New Caledonia because of typhoon season so we sailed to Vanuatu instead and went on a wonderful shore excursion to a small village. This was absolutely our favourite as we learned so much about the culture. When not in port, our days were filled with cultural activities and the speakers (Alan Wright, Paul Raffaele, George Sranko) were well informed as they shared a plethora of information to their captivated audiences. Certainly our favourite! The staff were professional as always and the food divine. If you are looking for a high energy cruise this one is not for you. If you appreciate a slower, more relaxed pace make sure you book this cruise. There is a large amount of sea days which allow you to do just that. Read, play board games and cards, sunbath, learn about different cultures and join in the simple daily activities offered. We loved this cruise and can't wait to do another!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We chose this particular cruise based on our schedule and desire to see Sydney, Tasmania and New Zealand after a week on Australia's Gold Coast. The Noordam cruise was perfect for us (our 10th cruise, and first on Holland America). ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise based on our schedule and desire to see Sydney, Tasmania and New Zealand after a week on Australia's Gold Coast. The Noordam cruise was perfect for us (our 10th cruise, and first on Holland America). Embarkation at the White Bay Cruise Terminal was fairly quick. Our boarding pass showed 12:30 pm boarding for a 6:30pm embarkation. However, we arrived at 11am by taxi (AU$20 from the CBD). We were in boarding group 2, and went through security at 11:30. Remember that you can take 2 bottles of wine or champagne in your carry on luggage when boarding. We were on board at 11:50, in time for lunch. Our room was ready, and our luggage was there when we returned after lunch. Very nice. Only downside to White Bay is that there is no wi-fi in the building; odd in a city that tends to have wi-fi everywhere. They need to get with it. We selected an aft balcony cabin on deck 7, so that we were not under the Lido noisy deck or over the theater or dining rooms; made that mistake on our first cruise and never again. Our room was quiet and peaceful; in 12 days, we saw our neighbors 3 times and only heard the people in the cabins next to us and above us only once. Our room stewards Dodit and Eko were fantastic, greeted us always by name, and maintained the room in perfect condition. The room was a bit on the small side, and only one of us at a time could walk between the bed and the wall. The bathroom had a tub with shower; very nice. Lots of storage in the bathroom and throughout the room. Plenty of closet space and shelves. The room was clean and the bed was very comfortable. The climate control system was easy to use and responsive. We really enjoyed the food on the ship. I'm a vegetarian, my wife is not, and there were plenty of choices for me for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We went to the Lido Market (buffet restaurant on deck 9) for breakfast and lunch, and to the Vista Dining Room for dinner each night. We chose the flexible dining option, and only waited more than 2 minutes on the first night. We chose to sit with others at tables of 6 or 8, which allowed us to meet a wide range of cruisers from all over the world. However, we did note that the dining room Maitre' D never sat us (we're from the USA) with any of the Asians, or had them sit at our tables when we were first seated. It was explained to me by friends later that Asians don't care to socialize with "whiny, pushy Americans". I don't blame them; I actually told the Maitre D' one night not to seat us with other Americans; they tended to complain about the littlest things, forgetting that we were on an amazing cruise ship and seeing a beautiful part of the world. We enjoyed the theater productions, as well as the entertainers that were brought in. Especially Patrick McMahon, the highest energy entertainer I've ever seen. He was a blast. The BB King Blues Band was excellent; their male and female singers were great. Best of all was the piano-violin duo called Adagio. These two female musicians were incredible, and played what the cruise line called "sophisticated music". Classical, some pops, always amazing. People would stop in the hallways to listen. We really enjoyed listening to them. Cruise Director Jeremy was great, informative, and entertaining. He answered a lot of questions for us prior to each port. There were 5 Maoris on board until we got to New Zealand. They had several days to provide us with lessons in basic Maori language, and how to do the Haka war dance. A very fun group that added a lot to the cultural part of the cruise and prepared us with knowledge of their culture prior to our first port in New Zealand. I used the fitness center at least an hour a day, and attended morning "stretches" and evening "stretches" or "circuit training". Personal trainers Namik and Heather were very good leaders and kept us motivated and moving. We always book our excursions through independent tour operators via the internet before the cruise, never through the ship. We go through the reviews here and on Trip Advisor for each port. We pay about half of what the ship's costs are, and get smaller and more personalized tours. The ship always cautions you that "if you're late on our tour, we wait for you, but not if you're on a non-ship tour". It's never been an issue. All of the independent tours get you back on time; if they didn't, their reviews would show it and they would instantly lose business. We had great tours in nice comfortable smaller buses, with small groups and very knowledgeable local guides. Not being gamblers, we did not visit the casino. One very nice thing that both Australia and New Zealand have are the "iSite" visitor information centers at each port. Almost all of them had wi-fi, which was very nice for making calls and checking emails. You can also book tours at these centers. Port Arthur, Tasmania and Akaroa, New Zealand require going in by tender boat (the ship uses its large lifeboats, which hold 50-60 at a time comfortably. Both tender trips were only 12-15 minutes. There were plenty of them, but you do have to get in line early in the morning to get a tender ticket if you want to be on a tender after people that booked the ship's tours. Shuttle buses are used in:1) Port Chalmers to get into Dunedin (there is a cost, but if you book any of the tours, they pick you up at the visitor information right by the ship, so there's no additional cost to get into Dunedin, about 5 minutes away), 2) in Wellington (free bus, 15 minutes to a stop downtown), and 3) in Napier (free bus, 5 minutes to a stop at the iSite visitor center and then 2 minutes more to the aquarium). Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This 14 day cruise with 4 days pre-cruise and 3 days post cruise was amazing. We were a little inimidated with the long, long flight(20 hrs) but we survived and everything went well with connections etc. The ship, the entertainment, ... Read More
This 14 day cruise with 4 days pre-cruise and 3 days post cruise was amazing. We were a little inimidated with the long, long flight(20 hrs) but we survived and everything went well with connections etc. The ship, the entertainment, crew, cabin, food, service excellent. Embarkation and Disembarkation very smooth. This is the longest cruise we've done, previously did 12 days and 3 days at sea was just the right amount of time to relax as we were quite busy touring the 9 ports. We previously did 7 cruises,not all on the same cruise line, as we tend to choose the itinerary that suits us and not the cruise line. So far we have been very happy with every one. Through experience, we have found that tours taken off ship(from the port) are more affordable. As we travel with friends, it's easy for 4 people to share a cab or hire a tour guide. The only complaint I would have is the internet on the ship. I find it very expensive and very sporadic. I also liked being able to purchase wine for our cabin when in port visiting wineries, and not being charged corkage. Also, we were never pressured into purchasing drinks while sitting by the pool or in any of the lounges. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
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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