131 Holland America Noordam Cruise Reviews

I can say without reservation that this was the best service on a cruise ship we have experienced. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The food in the main dining room was just okay. Gone are the days of elegant dining with ... Read More
I can say without reservation that this was the best service on a cruise ship we have experienced. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The food in the main dining room was just okay. Gone are the days of elegant dining with delicious food and large portions. This was our 24th cruise and this was the poorest main dining room food we've experienced. But on the plus side the casual dining on the Lido deck was some of the best we have had experienced. We like the fact that the food is served to you. The choices on the Lido deck were varied. The condition of the ship was and likely is not up to standards we have experienced and observed on other vessels. The carpets are worn in many areas. Many of the doors on the ship are banged up. The paint on the ceiling in the main atrium is deteriorating. The metal around elevator doors is banged up on many floors. When we arrived at our cabin there were several things we noticed right away. The shaver outlet in the bathroom was loose from the wall. A cabinet handle broke upon our first opening. One the handles on the bathroom sink was missing parts. And the coach in our cabin was absolute filthy. On the good side the coach was cleaned and the items were fixed within 24 hours. Last the activities on the ship were pretty limited and the entertainment not very good. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We decided to take a slow and indulgent route back to Canada from Australia and this cruise seemed perfect...and in general it was. Embarkation was quick and easy and the crew very welcoming. The ports were excellent with a great mix of ... Read More
We decided to take a slow and indulgent route back to Canada from Australia and this cruise seemed perfect...and in general it was. Embarkation was quick and easy and the crew very welcoming. The ports were excellent with a great mix of culture thrown in for good measure. The dining experience was very good, thanks mainly to 2 very attentive waiters and a section manager who really seemed committed to ensuring the best service for his passengers. The ship was good too with a fair mix of things to do in the evening...not always to our taste, but you can't please everybody. Without doubt the staff, as is usual for many cruise lines, are the stars of the show, making our time on board a very relaxing experience...until we went back to our cabin each night. As we readied ourselves for bed we would wonder what time the noise would begin in the morning For some reason HAL decided to upgrade us from the large inside we'd chosen at booking to an obstructed outside, despite us requesting 'no upgrades'. Most mornings we were woken by either Deck Hands noisily rearranging furniture, engineers carrying out maintenance on the lifeboat or gear outside our window, or others readying the lifeboat for tender duty. Yes, I appreciate that all these things have to happen, but at 6am in the morning it's not funny...and precisely why we chose an inside cabin and requested 'no upgrade'. We complained at reception, but I try to be polite and respectful and probably didn't make enough fuss. We were told there was no alternative cabin available...but strangely the following day another couple who were being quite loud and angry were attended by a manager and got moved. Oh well, maybe I need to attend 'assertiveness training'. I'm glad we did the trip and we did have a great time, but the cabin situation did spoil it somewhat. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
The cruise was the type of itinerary that I was Looking for, within in the time period available to me. This was our first time cruising and My Wife and I were really looking forward to our first cruise. I will preface my remarks by ... Read More
The cruise was the type of itinerary that I was Looking for, within in the time period available to me. This was our first time cruising and My Wife and I were really looking forward to our first cruise. I will preface my remarks by saying that I am easy going by nature and not overly fussy. Embarkation was from White Bay Terminal Sydney. This was handled very well and I have no complaints at all. The cabin was of adequate size in need of refurbishment, The cabin was clean and tidy. The TV was a complete joke. Dining was adequate, the better dining areas attracting a fee(surcharge). With the entertainment being very ordinary we read for most of the time. Entertainment was esoteric with charges applicable to many of the activities. Most of the activities were of no interest to myself and after talking to others on board they were of the same opinion Service was good overall except for the ubiquitous tipping. Applying a 15 per cent fee added to the final account at the end of the cruise while applying 15per cent tip on purchases made during the cruise. I would rather they pay the staff a proper wage, include the extra cost in the advertised price of the cruise. Ports of call:- due to inclement weather a number of ports had to be missed. This is out of the control of Holland America however days at sea were boring and tedious. Holland America line excursions were way too expensive, I was able to book my excursions on line before we left home and they were great at fraction of the price wanted for the ship excursions. Disembarkation was handled very well, and we were glad to get off. There were a number people who were of the same opinion as myself. Holland America should take note that most people do not complain they remember. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Only our second cruise, had previously sailed from Hawaii to Sydney in 2016. We were so impressed with that cruise, the brand and the ship. So we choose to revisit with HAL and the Noordam again, this time the New Zealand leg of the ... Read More
Only our second cruise, had previously sailed from Hawaii to Sydney in 2016. We were so impressed with that cruise, the brand and the ship. So we choose to revisit with HAL and the Noordam again, this time the New Zealand leg of the Pacific Cruise. We love the size and style of the Noordam, and having sailed before felt really comfortable with layout and facilities. Our cabin was on the main deck 1050, we were 3 males travelling together so the cabin had twin beds and the cabin attendants converted the sofa to a third bed every evening. Bedding,size of cabin were all really comfortable. Both trips I loved the dining facilities on-board, preferring the main dining area for most meals, breakfast and dinner. The quality, portions, presentation & service were outstanding. Don't like the Lido deck much at all, but that's just my preference. The Dive In by the pool makes the best burger, hot-dog and fries ever for a lunch time snack! The entertainment was quite boring this trip, liked the Noordam singers & dances but only performed irregularly. Piano bar was excellent, BB King's is good, the disco was appalling and the rest of the entertainment revolved trivia and an odd dance class. The cooking classes were good on the last trip but this time around a "new" commercial partnering left us bored. I felt this trip there had been a significant cultural shift in service, staff and management, and this was collective impression by us. Our "impression" was there seemed to be less people doing more work, staff seemed to be pushed harder, slightly stressed and less friendly. Found the entertainment director and his associates somewhat condescending and patronising at time and management generally the same. The service standouts were without doubt the dining & drink servers in the main dining room plus the bar staff in the Crows Nest. Ports visited were all interesting with Milford Sound first day outstanding! Due to the size and nature of the ports it was difficult to dock and weather reliant. We booked 2 excursions with the ship both outrageously expensive. The first was Wellington and the tour was very good, the second was Auckland and was cancelled due to weather conditions. The cruise was plagued by difficult weather conditions and can understand it comes with the territory. On the way up the coast we missed Napier due to bad weather, we missed Auckland and Bay of Islands due to weather, the captain retraced our steps and came back to Napier which was nice. Overall made us question if we would travel HAL again, and would certainly look at a fly drive option as a better way of seeing NZ Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
BACKGROUND: Took my mom on this cruise. It was #1 on her bucket list to travel to Australia. I’m 50 , she’s 71. We chose this 12 day cruise based on itinerary, not cruise line. It covered South Australia including Tasmania and was ... Read More
BACKGROUND: Took my mom on this cruise. It was #1 on her bucket list to travel to Australia. I’m 50 , she’s 71. We chose this 12 day cruise based on itinerary, not cruise line. It covered South Australia including Tasmania and was round trip from Sydney. I normally cruise on Silversea but have also cruised one time each on RCCL, Paul Gauguin, Celebrity and Azamara. HOTEL: We stayed for 3 days pre cruise at Hotel Intercontinental which is a fantastic location and beautiful hotel. I have been to Sydney 4 times and this was by the best location. Circular Quay really is the heart of Sydney and is the easiest location to venture to other parts of the city. Definitely will stay here again or Marriott which is also right there as well. EMBARKATION: very easy. Porters met us as soon as we exited limo. We went inside, filled out health questionnaire and proceeded to desk to check in., No lines, very nice staff. In a matter of minutes we were on board. FIRST IMPRESSION: I had low expectations honestly . Having read cruise critic before trip and I had googled photos. But much to my dismay, the pictures I had seen actually made it look nicer than it really was. I knew it wouldn’t be modern and shiny like Silversea and Celebrity but was shocked the second I walked on. It was terrible. Ugly dark blue carpeting, with bright red accents and the lighting was literally yellow with ugly brass sculptures and trim. I know this ship was built in 2006 but cant imagine it was even stylish back then. We made our way to deck 6 and as we walked aft to our room , I couldn’t believe how ugly even the hallway was. Ugly wall covering, peeling in most places, cabin doors that looked like cork and ugly blue funky carpeting. My heart sank..The ship is so dated and worn. I know it’s going in to dry dock for a refurbishment in May....but I’m not sure HAL will do enough to make this ship really competitive in the industry. There are so many new ships out there and ships being remodeled, I would think HAL must be losing ground. I noticed when I got home they are advertising a lot and wonder if they are beginning to have trouble filling up ships with all the stiff competition out there. CABIN: See below on cabin review...but we had a Neptune Suite 6177. LOVED LOVED the huge wraparound veranda. DINING: i prepaid 6 specialty restaurants ,,,3 for Pinnacle and 3 for Canaletto. I was happy to find out that we had the same 2 top reserved for the whole cruise in the Main Dining Room . I dont know if that is normal, a suite perk or our travel agent set it up for us, but it was a lovely surprise. I loved the food on this cruise. I thought it was better than Celebrity and not too far off from Silversea. There were lots of choices every night. After eating one night each in Canaletto and Pinnacle, we decided that although very good, I dont think they are worth the upcharge as the MDR was so good and I dont think they were better than the MDR in my opinion, so we canceled the remaining reservations at specialties. We also had very good service in the MDR>. Loved our waiter and asst waiter and we felt the service was quicker in the MDR and a bit slow in Pinnacle and Canaletto. I dont like to linger at the table for hours on end during dinner, so I appreciated the quicker service in the MDR. Every meal I had was good (except room service). The only thing we didnt like at the restaurants was a ginger chocolate cake one night for dessert. Had no flavor, seemed a bit “wet”...just blah. It wa like a major ingredient was left out . We only ate at LIdo Buffet twice as I hate buffets. We did salads for 2 lunches and they were good. LIdo Buffet dining room was always packed and hard to find a place to sit. Decor looked straight out of Golden Girls episode. ROOM SERVICE: Definitelly needs improvement. Without going into detail on each item we ordered....just seemed like it lacked someone doing quality control. Missing or short ingredients in salad, food not to temperature, omelette bathed in butter/oil, only hot milk brought for cereal, Every time we got it, we were disappointed. Fortunately, we had access to Neptune’s Lounge and there are always snacks and sweets there all day long. ENTERTAINMENT: I dont normally like cruise ship entertainment, so i didnt go to any shows , so I cant really comment . I can only say that friends I made on the ship didnt have anything good to say about the shows. SERVICE: Noordam really shined here. Everyone from our cabin stewards, to our waiters, to bartenders etc, were all excellent. Everyone was so nice and friendly and even though it’s a larger ship than what I m used to, i was surprised at how many workers knew my name and used it frequently. The only place where employees werent friendly was Explorations Cafe....I felt like I was in the “soup nazi: episode of Seinfeld. Order quickly then move down counter to collect your coffee and pastry. They didnt smile, didnt seem like they enjoyed their job, seemed annoyed if you didnt know what you wanted right away. OVERALL: It was such a mixed bag of experiences. While I loved the service and the food and the passengers were pretty social (unlike Silversea sometimes). The dreariness of the ship tarnished the experience. I loved the pool aft, big open space and never crowded. I never did the midship pool because it seemed like every time I walked through it, the roof was closed and they were doing some type of sidewalk sale from the shops and there were tons of people clogging up the space and being noisy. I loved that HAL has happy hour from 4-5 and 9-10. The bars were packed and a lot of fun and dare i say a great value for dinks on a ship! I got 2 gin and tonics or old fashioned s for $11 total including gratuity. Celebirty is outrageous...so I was very pleased. SPA: so while i dont do spa treatments on cruise ships as I think they are way too expensive, my mom loves pampering herself and so I encouraged her to enjoy. What I will say is that on day one, we did a tour of the spa and fitness area and was totally turned off/irritated. There was such a hard sell on this ship like I have seen on no other. I dont like when they wont take no for an answer. I had to get pretty curt in order to overcome their hard core selling pressure. My mom did 5 spa services and after the first one , she came back to the cabin with hundreds of dollars of unneeded and overpriced products. She’s very soft and easily influenced and the spa crew definitely knew her number. I was furious...feeling like they take advantage of an older person. GYM: old equipment and too small of a free weight area. PORTS: SYDNEY...MY FAVORITE CITY IN AUSTRALIA...BEEN 4 TIMES, LOVE IT! MELBOURNE: feel like it is overrated. Surprisingly, I didnt care much for it. We did our own thing...lots of locals at port to help with tourism advice. We uber’d Everywhere and it was easy. We did the Royal Botanic Gardens...Amazing!! It’s huge and gorgeous. Probably the best I have done anywhere. Then we went to St Kilda Beach. A great beach town south of town. Beach not as nice as many in Sydney, but clean. The village there has lots of local boutiques, restaurants etc...kind of a funky, hip town. Had a good lunch there in one of the many sidewalk cafes. Then we went to city center for some shopping. Ugh, what a mistake. Felt like just another huge city, with too many cars , people etc....it was claustrophobic....didnt feel like it was unique or interesting. General consensus of my happy hour friends that night was the same....Melbourne was a bit of a disappointment. ADELAIDE: we overnighted here. However, it’s a 45 min train ride into the city, so not as convenient. Train was free that weekend....it isn’t usually, but for whatever reason, that line was free. We loved all the beautiful architecture in Adelaide. It’s a smaller city which I liked and easy to walk. We also did the botanical gardens there which were very nice as well. Shopping is good ...they have a huge pedestrian mall/street there with anything and everything you would want...and lots of restaurants. Seemed to be the hub of the city. . Would definitely go back. PORT LINCOLN: small town of about 15k. Did a ship excursion that gave us a bus tour of the highlights of this fishing village. Then we walked around the town, poked in some shops. Some might not like it since its small and not a lot to do, but i love small towns and enjoyed the slower pace very much! KANGAROO ISLAND: wow....this was probably everyone’s favorite destination. Anyone we talked to , raved about this island. You go here for wildlife. We did a ship excursion..but you could easily do it with a rental car as my friends did. It’s a sparsely populated island and easy to drive around and see the same sights we did on ship tour. Its gorgeous, the seals are amazing, seal lions, koalas, birds , kangaroos etc...it was a very long day, but absolutely stunning and magnicient. PORT ARTHUR TASMANIA: We did a ship tour. It was an eco cruise along the coastline for about 3 hours. It was a wild crazy fun ride. Swells were huge.....but it was such a gorgeous ride. A couple people got seasick...but the rest thought it was exhiliarating! HOBART TASMANIA. We did ship tour here to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. They only gave us 1 hour here which was disappointing. Lots of kangaroos to feed and pet. But lots of other Australian wildlife. This place isi great and no one wanted to leave. Then we went to historic town of Richmond....no tour...just dropped us off the bus and gave us an hour to walk around. Town was boring...even the shopping wasn’t very good. My big purchase there was a Red Bull to keep me awake. Once back to Hobart, we walked over the city. REally cute quaint city...in particular the trendy area of Salamanca....beautiful old buildings turned in to cool restaurants and shops...loved it. DISEMBARKATION ...super easy and quick....took the ship arranged bus to Sydney airport for flight home. We had an amazing vacation and loved our trip, our time together, the food , the amazing new friends I met on the ship...just wish it had been on a beautiful ship where I felt more upscale and special. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
For the itinerary of southern Australia, which was great. However, we felt Holland is not as good as in past cruises. The main complaint is Dining Room (We used anytime) menu which is so limited and quit frankly other then the beef not ... Read More
For the itinerary of southern Australia, which was great. However, we felt Holland is not as good as in past cruises. The main complaint is Dining Room (We used anytime) menu which is so limited and quit frankly other then the beef not really good. Vegetables all cooked to death and hardly any green ones, like broccoli, green beans, etc. and you didn't even get more then 5 string beans or 3 halves of brusell sprouts. I know it is not quantity, but vegetables are good for you and go with a meal of meat. Pastas at lunch quite good but not offered each night in dining room. The daily offerings need to have shrimp cocktail back on it , many nights I went without appetizer, as nothing was to my liking. The service has not been as good as in past, like a shortage of help. Wine stewards slow in getting to tables. Room and Cabin Stewards no complaints in fact some of the best we have had. Casino was good and so was most of the entertainment. Holland needs also to get with the Wifi service and offer it at better pricing or as a perk for booking. And work on those menus. Acutally Lido meals were better then dining room offerings. I am a 4 star but will look to become that on another line that offers better food and perks for bookings. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
15 day Christmas and New Year cruise on the Noordam it sounded wonderful we had sailed with Holland American befor but it was our first time on the Noordam We Decided to pay the extra and book a Signature suite but was upgraded to a ... Read More
15 day Christmas and New Year cruise on the Noordam it sounded wonderful we had sailed with Holland American befor but it was our first time on the Noordam We Decided to pay the extra and book a Signature suite but was upgraded to a Neptune Suite we were very excited with this came prioritie boarding it was so good we got on the ship so fast.The first impression of our suite was fantastic,large room extra large wrap around balcony we were at the back of the ship good location .Our problems started from the first day . We had a good size bathroom .I noticed a great deal of mold between the tiles in the shower and on the floor I called our room Stewart and asked him to clean it before we would use it he did twice then a maintenance person came to inspect it and we were informed it wasn't mold but the bathroom needed grouting this person came to do the job and he stated it didn't need grouting it was dirt and he reported it again again they tried to clean it this all happened befor we left port not a good start and it's not what you would expect to happen in any cabin category.Then we tried to use the toilet on the first day but found problems with flushing they came and fix it we hope our toilet broke down every day for the first ten days out of a 15 day cruise we often had to find a public toilet to use we weren't happy this issue causes us a great deal of stress.Our bed doona was dirty,stained and it smelled I had to request all the linen to be changed at once .Then on top of all this I sent a new skirt to the cleaners and it came back with a big cut and no explanation. On board the staff are limited to what they can do to help if something goes wrong once I returned to Sydney I have sent several emails to Holland American head office but have had no reply or acknowledgement of my email it would seem they don't want to know You once your cruise has finished .Now about the ship good size very friendly staff food is basic ,room service is good but the menu is the same daily, not much to do on see days that doesn't involve money,excursions are expensive if you book on the ship We booked all our excursions On sure for a fraction of the price you can also do deals with taxi drivers to take you around we did and had a wonderful time and if you can get extra people to go with you you can split the cost. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Great itinerary but lack of on board activities, minimal cruise staff after cutbacks, and lack of live musical entertainment. Many of the activities in the program were actually revenue advertisements such as art auctions and spa ... Read More
Great itinerary but lack of on board activities, minimal cruise staff after cutbacks, and lack of live musical entertainment. Many of the activities in the program were actually revenue advertisements such as art auctions and spa promotions. The jazz trio (formerly known as "The Neptunes") and the solo guitarist/singer were sorely missed. Piano bar musician Stryker did a great job of keeping the Piano Bar packed out. There was no fitness instructor or location guide for half the cruise. The price of tours seems to have risen with the new tour company. The little niceties seem to be disappearing such as a daily quiz in the library, the pillow cards with good night wishes and time change reminders and also no Captain's Cruise Log any longer. Despite these disappointments the beauty of the ports and the passing scenery made up for some of what was lacking and the service of the staff was outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
I would rate the Noordam excellent for the stewards responsible for room, dining, and buffet. The ship was clean, food good and service excellent. BB King club was great. The itinerary, weather and seas were perfect for us. The problem ... Read More
I would rate the Noordam excellent for the stewards responsible for room, dining, and buffet. The ship was clean, food good and service excellent. BB King club was great. The itinerary, weather and seas were perfect for us. The problem with our balcony. An outside vent was so strong in odor we couldn't open the door for even a moment. After twelve days they finally covered it with tape and plastic that took five minutes. It fixed the problem but I still can't believe it took constant phone calls to the front desk to get them to do that. You could also smell the odor in other parts of the ship but not as strong as our balcony. If Holland would have fixed the problem when it occurred I would have been fine. Like I say it took 12 days. Sour note on the trip. Lost a lot confidence in Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Free drinks with the HAL means a poor choice of low quality wines with excellent food. This is not a good combination. Even with a group of 7 guests ( 7 x $ 9 = $63) they do not offer you to order a bottle or 2 with a better quality. ... Read More
Free drinks with the HAL means a poor choice of low quality wines with excellent food. This is not a good combination. Even with a group of 7 guests ( 7 x $ 9 = $63) they do not offer you to order a bottle or 2 with a better quality. The free drinks package means 15 drinks. Max per drink is $ 9. They don’t offer you the premium package if you booked explore 4 in advance !. For a suite if you don’t take explore 4 they offer you a $ 500 discount, which in our case is a better deal. The problem with the shops on boards is that the assortment is similar on all Carnival ships ; little choich for men. The hotel in Anchorage was far below the standard of the HAL, especially when you booked a pinnacle suite. In our suite we were surpised with polished shoes from another suite and the same with laundry, but then 2 times. The pinnacle suites on the HAL re just twice the size than a balcony stateroom and that's it. Not really a suite like with other cruise companies like Celebrity and Oceania. Regards, Peter Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
The stateroom, amenities and food were excellent. The entertainment and activities were a bit disappointing, but the primary purpose of the cruise was to see Alaska, not participate in shipboard activities. The entertainment was ... Read More
The stateroom, amenities and food were excellent. The entertainment and activities were a bit disappointing, but the primary purpose of the cruise was to see Alaska, not participate in shipboard activities. The entertainment was adequate. We took advantage of the casino, the Piano Bar and the Adagio classical presentations, as well as informative talks about Alaskan flora and fauna, an overview of Glacier Bay and the Native American culture. The trivia games, bingo and America's Test Kitchen were on our tentative itineraries, but we had so much to do that we never made it to those venues. Unfortunately, we had a sick traveler on our day in Glacier Bay. Seeing the ship's doctor, cancelling the remainder of the trip and getting ourselves home was a nightmare I will never forget. Although we had the Platinum Protection program, we had to pay for all charges up front (over $3,600) and then file a claim. Three days after our return, I'm still waiting for claim forms. Additionally, I did not make it home with a large jewelry item purchased in AK. I believe it was taken from our cabin during the cruise. In short, this cruise was very costly and did not end well. I would advise any U.S. senior citizen to take a cruise on a domestic cruise line. Holland America is a foreign line, and medical crises are a real issue. I will say that the doctor was competent and helpful, so there is quality healthcare. However, Medicare doesn't pay the bill in most instances, so if you did not buy the Platinum travel insurance, the treatment will cost quite a bit. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
I chose this cruise because HAL is reported as one of the best cruise lines for Alaska and I wanted to try a smaller ship. I looked for long port times and I heard that HAL always gets the best dock in town. I enjoyed Alaska and I ... Read More
I chose this cruise because HAL is reported as one of the best cruise lines for Alaska and I wanted to try a smaller ship. I looked for long port times and I heard that HAL always gets the best dock in town. I enjoyed Alaska and I would consider another Alaskan cruise in the future. The Noordam was disappointing and "just average" to me. The ship is dimly lit with low ceilings. Signage is small and the cruise just didn't seem to have much "life". Entertainment in the main theater was average and even had entertainers repeating during the week. I spent more time listening to Adagio and in BB Kings. Food was average and staff/crew didn't seem very friendly or energetic. As a solo traveler, I've had much better ship experiences on another cruise line. Noordam did take me to Alaska which is what I planned. I will say that HAL seemed to do a good job on the transfers after my cruise which was the train to Anchorage and transfer to my hotel and then transfer the next day to the airport. I have to wonder what my impressions would have been had I done Denali and a cruise with HAL. HAL may excel on the land tour portion. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
My husband and I just returned from an HAL Alaska land/sea cruise aboard the Noordam. Seeing Alaska is very ambitious and something we could not have navigated on our own, there is just too much land to cover. I think the two-week package ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from an HAL Alaska land/sea cruise aboard the Noordam. Seeing Alaska is very ambitious and something we could not have navigated on our own, there is just too much land to cover. I think the two-week package met many of our needs. However, I didn’t find it a perfect experience To start with our first hotel in Fairbanks was the WestMark and it was DISGUSTING. We slept in our clothes on top of the bedding. For the first two days much of the group could only talk about how gross our accommodations were. We were convinced we made the biggest mistake of our lives booking this tour. Fortunately, things got better. As with all organized tours, there has to be a spirit of compromise. We didn’t find everything interesting but we were part of a group and it wasn’t all about us. The staff was great with the luggage. We would leave our luggage outside in the morning and always find it waiting in our room at the next stop. This was great because we packed a lot, (Alaska was really part of longer vacation). We paid for a breakfast package and that was a good investment. But at our last hotel we had to pay for a breakfast because the hotel said they were not part of Holland America’s network. I can afford it and I don’t really care too much but I was told all the breakfasts were included and it wasn’t. The once we boarded the ship we were able to settle in and unpack. The ship itself is getting old around the edges and can use some TLC. There was some good talent at the venues. The cabin attendants were attentive and hardworking. The food was only mediocre; nothing was great. I also hate waiting on line for food so the Lido didn’t do it for us plus the food there reminded me of an average college cafeteria., You could get a decent omelet but lousy fruit, bacon and sausage.. Also, as members of the Starbucks generation, we love strong coffee; there wasn’t a decent cup of coffee available at any of the restaurants on board. We used to buy coffee and add two shots of espresso to make it acceptable. The main dining room and the other two speciality restaurants were better (still not great) and we would have returned to each one but we couldn’t get another reservation at either of them. In summation, I don’t regret the trip because I saw Alaska but I will explore other cruise lines before I cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We have cruised a variety of lines- Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Disney- and were really looking forward to trying Holland America for our Alaska cruise. Unfortunately, a serious dearth of on-board activities and entertainment ... Read More
We have cruised a variety of lines- Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Disney- and were really looking forward to trying Holland America for our Alaska cruise. Unfortunately, a serious dearth of on-board activities and entertainment left us struggling to find things to do any time we weren't on land. Good things about this cruise: the public areas are nice, embarkation was smooth and friendly, food was definitely a cut above what we have experienced on other lines, and the service was impeccable. Bad things about this cruise: itinerary was just okay (we loved Glacier Bay, thought Juneau and Skagway were okay, and got absolutely nothing out of Ketchikan), and as I mentioned in the overall comment.. there were so, so few activities on board. The daily programs that were delivered to our cabin each night after dinner could have fit on a cocktail napkin. We aren't the kind of people that need to participate in belly flop contests or need a rowdy crowd to have a good time. But it's nice to have SOMEthing to do when you're on the ship. We found ourselves bored and aimless quite frequently. The TVs haven't been upgraded yet and our stateroom's TV was fuzzy and of poor quality, so even relaxing in our rooms before bed wasn't as enjoyable as it could have been. HAL could take a cue from Celebrity in this regard; it's a stately, refined crowd, but there are all kinds of cooking demonstrations and informational lectures and different get-togethers that make being on-board and at sea enjoyable. Usually sea days are our favorite parts of cruises; on this cruise, we came to realize that once we weren't setting foot in Alaska, our options for entertainment and amusement decreased sharply. What's particularly frustrating about this is that I can see many of the same complaints on these boards, so HAL has to know that they're coming up short in this regard, but they do nothing. All I can say is, if you're thinking of booking a cruise with HAL and wondering if the negative reviews you're seeing that mention no entertainment or activities are true, let me assure you: there is truly a serious lack of entertainment on this ship, lovely and well-serviced though it may be. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
My wife and I were looking for a quick get-away. We booked our cruise five weeks before departure as a package. The booking process went smoothly and all arrangements turned out as described. The boarding at the Pier in Honolulu was ... Read More
My wife and I were looking for a quick get-away. We booked our cruise five weeks before departure as a package. The booking process went smoothly and all arrangements turned out as described. The boarding at the Pier in Honolulu was efficient as there were only about 300 people joining the ship at that time and our photos were on file from a previous cruise with HAL. Our veranda stateroom was on the 7th deck had ample storage space and the main room was spotless. There were, however signs of wear and tear on the furniture and the wallpaper. There was a musty odour in the bathroom that we expected would dissipate as the day progressed. When it did not go away, I mentioned it to the room attendant who promptly attacked it with a spray and poured something in the drains. The odour returned and we reported it to the front desk. Again, it was attended to, but to no effect. I suspected that there was a water leak behind the bathtub or in the floor area that required a more intensive approach. I need to note that when we mentioned it again to an attendant at customer service when we settled accounts, she did not seem to note our concern or to really care. We did this so that the problem could be seen to before the next occupant of the room was subject to the same odour problem. A second problem emerged as the cruise progressed from the heat of Hawaii to the cooler waters of the North Pacific. The air vent in the room continued to blow cold air in our faces as we lay in bed and the temperature in the room became quite uncomfortable. Adjusting the thermostat had no effect. Calling customer service had no effect. I finally went down in person to voice my concern and a maintenance attendant soon appeared to adjust the fan and the thermostat. We did get some warm air for a few hours and then the unit returned to blowing cold air over us. Again, when we mentioned the problem at the desk on check out, we were met with an apathetic response from the customer service representative. The public areas of the ship were generally clean and in good shape. We had the early seating in the main dining room. When we arrived at our assigned table on the first evening aboard we met four other passengers who had just embarked and were assigned to our table. Unfortunately we also encountered another couple who had been assigned to that particular table since New Zealand. It was embarrassingly obvious that they had expected to retain that seating for the whole voyage. They were accommodated elsewhere, but did not seem too pleased, and with good reason. Our servers at dinner were very attentive and pleasant. However this was not always the case for breakfast and lunch in the dining room, when we had different attendants. Some days it was great, other times we had long waits for food and really had to search for a second cup of coffee. My wife and I were not overly impressed with the food on board. Portion control was inconsistent and generally the meals were not up to the quality that we expect from this line. On the evening that we had surf and turf, the meat was barely recognizable as filet mignon and came very rare instead of the medium rare that we had ordered. The lobster tasted and appeared to be undercooked. We were not expecting the same quality of dining that could be found in the specialty restaurants, but do expect well-prepared food served at an appropriate temperature. The entertainment on the Noordam was at best, spotty. The B.B. King Band was the best show on board. They are very talented musicians who put tremendous energy in to each performance. Of the main stage acts, only one stood out: a pianist, who was skilled and who also put a lot of himself into his act. The others could be described as “lame”. (I thought that we were beyond “fat” and “drunk” jokes.) The one production show that was scheduled had to be cancelled because of a problem with a computer. It was rescheduled but at a very inconvenient time. Perhaps it was just us, but the other activities did not have much of an appeal – attending a lecture about the “Indians” of the northwest, playing very expensive Bingo, or learning to make poutine was not what we were looking for. Other cruises that we have been on seemed to have a better selection of shipboard activities that suited the ages and stages of their guests. My overall impression was that the ship and crew were tired. The cruise began in New Zealand, proceeded to Australia and then through the South Pacific to Hawaii where we embarked. At each major port, some passengers left and others came onboard. On cruises where the whole contingent of guests turns over at the start of the voyage there seems to be an energy and an striving to impress that permeates all departments. This is what I missed on this cruise. Given the right itinerary and value, we might choose to cruise with HAL again, but I would need to be convinced that the myriad of difficulties that we encountered would not be repeated. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary - 9 ports in 14 days in both New Zealand and Southeast Australia. The ship is in pretty good shape for its age, but a little gaudy for our taste. Staff was very pleasant and ports were ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary - 9 ports in 14 days in both New Zealand and Southeast Australia. The ship is in pretty good shape for its age, but a little gaudy for our taste. Staff was very pleasant and ports were great, when the weather cooperated. We only signed up for one of the ship's excursions (due to the high price), but that excursion was very good (Melbourne). We primarily used Viator and several other local tour companies. We were amazed at the age of the passengers. I would say 80% were over or well over 60. Many were handicapped or needed wheelchairs, but the ship and crew handled this well. Signature suite was nice, but not that much bigger than a veranda room. Food n Highlights: 1. Ports, particularly Sydney, Dunedin, Tauranga, Akaroa and Hobart. 2. Pinnacle Grill 3. Embarkation and Disembarkation 4. Fiordland National Park, although we missed Milford Sound due to weather 5. Hobbitton and Rotorua 6. Sydney harbor cruise 7. Wiaheke wine tours (Auckland) 8. Bonarong Wildlife Reserve (Hobart) 9. Added time and later than scheduled departure in Hobart 10. Sydney Opera House Disappointing: 1. Average age of passengers (older than we expected) 2. Little to do on sea days, unless you like the spa or trivia 3. Entertainment was, at best, average 4. Christchurch 5. Prices in Auckland and Sydney - very expensive 6. Lines to get into dining room for anytime seating Having read many Cruise Critic reviews of the Noordam, we really didn't have high expectations for the Noordam, and were generally satisfied with the overall experience, apart from being pretty bored on sea days (we are port people). I would not cruise on Noordam again, but would likely give another Holland America ship a try, if the itinerary was good. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. The few issues on the ship that occurred were handled and resolved promptly which we appreciated. The staff was courteous and the food was good. Good variety of ports, however, the excursions were ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. The few issues on the ship that occurred were handled and resolved promptly which we appreciated. The staff was courteous and the food was good. Good variety of ports, however, the excursions were absurdly overpriced. We used outside tour companies that cost a fraction or we went on our own. Entertainment in the show room was the poorest we have experienced on any cruise. The dancers and singers were terrible, off key, imbalanced, and lacked experience. Daily activities offered during the cruise were lack luster and few in between. Our cabin was fine for what we paid. Glad there was enough storage. Our cabin steward, once he knew our requests and preferences, worked hard to deliver good service. The same went for our waiters in the dining room at dinner time. We were fortunate to have fantastic table mates that made dinner something to look forward to each night. Not to say we would not sail on Holland America again, but it would not be our first choice for cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
A repositioning cruise that took us 36 nights from Auckland/Sydney/Honolulu/Vancouver with no ship problems...so that is a very good and great thing! But service overall ('anytime' main dining) was a big hit & miss for the ... Read More
A repositioning cruise that took us 36 nights from Auckland/Sydney/Honolulu/Vancouver with no ship problems...so that is a very good and great thing! But service overall ('anytime' main dining) was a big hit & miss for the whole cruise - often 3-4 hr dinner service, cold coffee (both breakfast & dinner service), orders not taken right or forgotten, lots of cold and unappealing food served, dry and overcooked food - including fish, cold eggs benny (or solid eggs benny). More often than not dinner entree plates had been sitting 1/2 made up for some time with lumped, cold & glutinized rice or starch on the plate waiting for the meat portion. I never did get a caesar salad that did not have some problem like wilted warmed lettuce. By the end of the cruise nearly everyone was talking and experiencing the same problems in anytime dining....so much so that I've never cruised where so many people stated they'd removed their gratuities. Five star mariners were complaining and writing pages to the front office. Also people were saying never another Holland cruise and some couples cancelled a future cruise they were so upset. By mid cruise we figured out it was better to eat in the Lido...except so many were doing that, it was crowded all the time and you were always walking around looking for seating (breakfast and lunch too)....but at least the food was hot and you could pick and choose what you wanted. All over the ship there were many very cold common areas. And there were many areas where water constantly dripped from the ceilings above - interior Lido area, the spa area, Sports Bar, etc. Seating in the sports bar had pails on them, the Lido walkways had yellow cones where water was on the floor. Carpets in the spa area were sopping wet (and not from pool water, but water from above). And as well seating in the thermal spa area was soaking wet from above.The staff kept the interior shone and very clean, but many areas were in need of repair, carpet replacement, many seat cushions need repadding, etc. No librarian or bridge master anymore. The cruise director - Jeromy Whitehead was lack luster to say the least and his side kick - Marshall, not any better. Usually a cruise director can liven things up...change or set the tone of a cruise...but not this one...he was pretty much not seen and boring when he was...in a suit with a "talking" orange tie is about all. Ship board life got quite boring real fast for the lack of things to do of any real interest. Holland needs to greatly improve in this area - I blame the cruise director. The Neptune party at the equator crossing was put on with no great effort, nor thought compared to others I've experienced. The Crowe's Nest - a great venue onboard - sat empty EVERY night but one of the 36 night cruise!!! - nothing going on. Except for the nightly Vista Lounge entertainment, there was little of to do after dinner after you'd spent a night or two with the Adagio classical duo, or the piano guy, or covered your ears to look in at the BB Blues Band who were way to loud to be enjoyed or anywhere near for long. Even the casino was dead! The passengers who only went from Auckland to Sydney got short changed during the day with presenters as the Vista Lounge was not utilized during the daytime, instead the Queen's Lounge was used - ill-suited for the number of people wanting to attend...so people stood and listened, could not see and left. Even the Maori team were complaining about the wrong venue...but it was not changed. It was terribly crowded - seating/chairs all wrong and uncomfortable. This included using the venue for movies too...nearly unworkable, or any comfortable seating to see anything. The cultural groups aboard (Maori & Hawaiian) were very good and well received....were of great interest and variety...but the 3-4 lecturers were not that great after listening to them more than once. Their topics were just boring and dry...it just became a place to go and sit, kill some time for the most part. They seemed to be 'old hacks' with 'worn' material who were on a 'free' cruise. Holland needs to bring on people who are current, new and not so so boring. I sat at dinner with one of the them as he explained how he was selected (from his agent) and what little work he had to do to change up his presentation to meet some relevancy, but it really was a free cruise and his wife was already looking at choosing and sending another cruise request to his agent. The one thing that Holland does very well is embarkation and disembarkation as well as tendering - on time, smoothly organized. The ship's office is on their game with proper information to your cabin and it runs smoothly and that includes passport and visa work also. And how can I forget to mention the "GIFT" that the Noordam gave nearly all its passengers - a cold/flu virus that morphed to a terrible chest congestion and cough that spread like wildfire. At times in the Vista Lounge all you could hear was coughing...this continued the whole cruise. While I can't entirely blame staff, I can blame quite a few passengers for not remaining in their cabins for a few days and for coughing and sneezing directly into their hands while in the Lido - then proceeding to touch chair arms, serving spoons, etc and spreading it throughout the boat. Also, I saw Lido staff wipe down table after table with the same (now) dirty cloth, then proceed to place clean water glasses upside down onto a wet table top. I also greatly fault Holland for not making any mention of the situation...or for not asking to passengers take and adhere to better precautions. My 2 cents worth. While it was not a cruise from Hell, it was not the cruise I had longingly looked forward to either....despite the good port calls. It will be some time before I cruise with Holland again....from my experience Celebrity or Princess do it so much better. This was my 2nd more than 30-day Holland cruise. Perhaps it was just this cruise, this ship - Noordam, but after reading many other negative reports from Noordam passengers, I know the experiences I had first hand and agree with the negative comments many, many others have also written....so beware!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Don't get me wrong; this is a beautiful and well-maintained mid-sized ship, inside and out. It is well mannered in rough seas, the cabins are adequate but the verandas are small. Food is terrible if you are a healthy eater; fatty, ... Read More
Don't get me wrong; this is a beautiful and well-maintained mid-sized ship, inside and out. It is well mannered in rough seas, the cabins are adequate but the verandas are small. Food is terrible if you are a healthy eater; fatty, sweet, salty; few green vegetables and almost no nuts, terrible tea. The biggest group of passengers (in more ways that one) were from the USA and they were fairly old; there is nothing on this ship that would appeal to families. The ship has a troupe of dancers who are probably competent in what they do and appeal to the age/cultural demographic of the majority of passengers. We enjoyed the visiting artists who came on between ports much more (they were all Australians). There are a couple of excellent bands. Apart from the usual seminars flogging stuff (gems, Windows 10, botox etc), there were no lectures of general interest. Our cruise was only spoilt by a bunch of ship's officers using foul language in the Pinnacle Grill on the last night of our cruise. That was bad enough, but no-one would give us their names, and we were fobbed off at the Front desk with a suggestion slip when we asked for a complaint form. We got off the ship disgusted and angry. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We always find the South Pacific to be a beautiful and very relaxing place to visit and the people are so friendly. Always glad to return to the South Pacific... wish it was closer as the flight is long. We stayed 2 nights precruise at ... Read More
We always find the South Pacific to be a beautiful and very relaxing place to visit and the people are so friendly. Always glad to return to the South Pacific... wish it was closer as the flight is long. We stayed 2 nights precruise at Ovolo Woolloomooloo hotel, very clean and quiet (on the HOHO bus line and walking distance to Circular quay and parks. We hit a heat wave in January. We did not realize that this is summer break for the Australians so there was a lot of children onboard so keep in mind if this is a concern to you. Hope the following youtubes are of help to you in your planning of the ports we visited https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLVmQFwCb0y4quUfQWyoCQsieQQ6hF6szd 1. NOUMEA, New Caledonia --took the HopOn/Off bus around -$10.pp/USD at cruiseport. Enjoyed the Market and all the different produce. Also shops by market took USD and AUD$...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eus4rvE8AJE&t=2s 2. LIFOU, New Caledonia -Melanesian experience tour... see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2doAVL7j4K0 3. PORT VILA, Vanuatu -Around the Island Safari /interesting tour -enjoyed the Iarofa Cultural village...see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGUvRreGTsQ 4. DRAVUNI ISLAND,Fiji -only 150 people on island; took boat ride around the small island/$10 USD/pp. Went for a swim in the warm waters. Enjoyed the people...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gR1fNjp-e68 5. LAUTOKA, Fiji -Took Oolala Savala island day cruise - fun -however, there was not enough seating for everyone. Water is very very shallow-hard to swim without touching coral. Be sure to use lots of sunscreen here ...see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRmByxKUn-0 ** We took South Seas Island tour on next cruise and there were better swimming conditions and enough seating for everyone on tour ...see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDoUOCRe93k 6. ILE DES PINS, New Caledonia - Pretty island. We just walked around and went for a swim...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMcFUGECrUk Feel entertainment was poor in quality except for the Explorers Lounge. Food quality has really gone down on HAL in last few years. We got off Noordam and got on RC Voyager of Seas the same day for our back to back cruise and we really saw the difference in quality of foods. Service was good on HAL. Found we could use USD$ and AUD$ at all ports. Definitely recommend a South Pacific cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was very misrepresented in the website and available information from the cruise line. It was only "back to back cruises" not a separate all in one cruise. entertainment and activities were mostly repeated the second two ... Read More
This was very misrepresented in the website and available information from the cruise line. It was only "back to back cruises" not a separate all in one cruise. entertainment and activities were mostly repeated the second two weeks (which were slim pickings even the first two weeks). Everyone had to disembark in Sydney and could not get back on the boat until time for new passengers to board. Would have been good to understand all of this before deciding to book this cruise. Destination was unbelievable! Did almost all private prearranged tours and really saw New Zealand. 10 days of port calls there! First time on Holland America. Best a embarkment, allowed on early and went straight to rooms! Excellent disembarkment also. Very nice staff. Staterooms have a lot of storage space. Beds and linen amazingly comfortable. Free room service wonderful, but could have had increased selection of items. Buffet eating with staff serving made utilizing this area much nicer and safer (decreased germs from passengers!), so much more comfortable utilizing this option than on many other cruise lines. Loved Explorers' Lounge area, except puzzles and may items were old and missing pieces. All need to be thrown out and new ones bought. Excellent Microsoft classes and teacher! Added more new computers after trip completed, but not enough and not enough space for these popular classes. Culinary Center was beautiful, but most times was empty and not well utilized. Salad bar and pasta bar were excellent, but terrible pizza and premade Italian dishes. Many of foods in buffet area were not warm when served. Salmon was always great, as well as shrimp. Ship is old and staterooms not completely updated and our balcony had several large rusty holes in it that were not even covered with rugs to protect us (we had to ask for this). Pictures very old and not worth looking in stateroom area and halls. Entertainment was very poor. I love entertainment on cruises and not much by cruises' performance staff and only one act that was great one night. Only showed movies in theater during port days while docked! Stateroom TV's and system were antique and very poor reception on top of that. Menu was also antique and slowly scrolled three hr span, but you had to watch time spans already completed and next day before getting to your time, then info screen then start all over and you were so bored you blinked and missed the time you were looking for! This was really disappointing. Activity choices were slim pickings! Except for the occasional item in the Culinary Arts Center, local related program and Microsoft classes there was nothing much going on activity wise on the ship! Most of my time spent walking on the outside walking deck (did help me eat too much and keep the same weight though!). Vegetarian menu was nice to order from. Should have had menus more easily available, as well as ordering options improved for days did not eat the night before in the dinning room. Also, "Dive in" eating area by pool should have other vegetarian choice such as regular vegetable burger, not just mushroom burger and grilled cheese would be nice. Signature Suites were very misrepresented online. Often read about "Suites" and thought this referred to all suites, but only was for non-Signature suites. Extra space and separate tub & shower were great. No concierge ,no pillow menu or choices and not much else. Food and choices were very nice the first few days, but declined as cruise continued. Much smaller portions and presented as two course meals, though you can order a three course meal or whatever you want. Quantity was good for me, but many who have more of appetites or binge on cruises will be surprised compared to other cruise lines. Not many standard choice that are available every day. Thank goodness the salmon was good and I could eat it. One of the few entrees available most days, but on gala nights/ special occasion nights, the menu was had even less choices and the daily items were not available. Invited to many special occasion lunches/ meals but expected to eat provided meal, even if on a special diet. No one cared to even try to eat dietary needs these days. Many days after the first week, I was tired of the vegetarian choices and had nothing I could eat on the regular menu and they did not care enough to fix something for me as always do on other cruise lines. Desert choices were slim, especially on gala nights (which is good for the waistline, but not what I expect on a cruise. Only once got a real piece of regular cheesecake which is so unusual and most of their ice cream is not worth the calories to me with most days having only vanilla, chocolate and strawberry plus sometimes one other choice. ( which is very unusual from what I am used to when sailing!). Not many vegetables served and in the dining room it was only like a garnishment (except potatoes & rice were always available). Never had so many of the staff being fairly close to the start of their contract. Tried to be helpful, but not aware of many things when asked. Always nice, but just did not display that "at your service/ cruise ship" attitude I am used to.. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We’d like to provide our thoughts on our 27 day South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand cruise-which is our 16th cruise and our 5th on Holland America. The itinerary was perfect-great port stops-and the food was exceptionally ... Read More
We’d like to provide our thoughts on our 27 day South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand cruise-which is our 16th cruise and our 5th on Holland America. The itinerary was perfect-great port stops-and the food was exceptionally good-perhaps the best we have had on any cruise line. We enjoyed the Lido buffet, the main dining room and both the Canalleto and Pinnacle dining rooms as well as the beautiful and plentiful foods in the Neptune Lounge. The staff service was also among the best we have encountered. Our cabin stewards were great and the two Neptune Lounge concierge attendants were also competent, helpful, and cheerful. We also like the fact that the Casino is now smoke free-a particular issue with us on past cruises. Our disappointment with the overall cruise and our reluctance to book another HAL cruise centers on the on board entertainment, or lack of it, as well as the marketing direction that Jan, our Cruise Director, indicated HAL is taking. In several discussions with Jan, he advised us to find another cruise line more suited to our taste since HAL is committed to eliminating social/ballroom dance venues in the Crow’s Nest and Ocean Bar and replacing them with carpeted areas with kiosks for researching shore excursions and providing more videos. He indicated that there will be more BBC videos shown (the same ones I can get on my cable television at home) and these will provide a significant portion of HAL’s entertainment offerings. We were also disappointed to learn that HAL has eliminated the dedicated dance combo we enjoyed on past HAL cruises. The result of this on our cruise meant that the orchestra was providing dance music (excellent by the way) but only on nights that they were not performing in the VISTA Lounge. This left many nights without pre and post dinner musical entertainment including a GALA night that had no entertainment because both the orchestra and Adagio were doing live music as a BBC video was being played. The ship was like a funeral parlor-hardly gala and many people commented on how dull and boring. It is interesting to note that the dance lessons provided by the ship’s dancers were well attended-usually 80+ per class and while elementary in nature, they indicated a sincere interest in dancing by many people. Yet we are told that HAL is eliminating these and the dance venues as well. There were huge gaps in many evening’s entertainment with nothing going on except for the ship’s dancers and singers which by the way repeated the same dull performances during the 2nd leg of a “Collector’s Voyage”- a title that still baffles me. Our Cruise Director said he would try to fill in some of these but the only option he had was to schedule more Adagio performances. While we enjoyed these excellent classical musicians, there is a limit to how many of these concerts you can enjoy. Jan indicated that HAL’s marketing direction is committed to providing top quality entertainment on board yet we saw little instance of this. Many of the performers were merely 2nd rate and some were downright bad. Better screening and more selective decision making is needed. Why doesn’t HAL consider eliminating the ship’s dancers and singers altogether and replace them with top drawer entertainers? I must mention that the sound level in BB King was totally above acceptable DB limits and painful to ourselves and many of the guests on board. I have administered hearing loss programs in industry and know prolonged exposure to levels above 85 DB result in permanent hearing loss. If I were a staff member assigned to that venue night after night, I would be filing for Worker’s Compensation due to hearing loss. Jan indicated he told Seattle that many guests had complained about the sound being too loud but Seattle’s response was that they were within the contract limits so Jan could do nothing about it. Hardly makes sense to me to have a field commander overruled by Washington bureaucrats but that happens also. To summarize our concerns, the ship’s atmosphere was just plain dull, the entertainment was mostly second rate and many times nonexistent, BB King venue too loud to enjoy for more than 30 seconds and I am not exaggerating, the Crow’s Nest was empty at night -we remember dancing with a DJ till late night on other ships and not in a dark hole like the Northern Lights that is allocated to the DJ now. It took approximately 30 days for Holland America to reply to my concerns and they offered no encouragement that any if these issues would be changed. We have cancelled a suite booked on a July trip to the Norwegian Fjords on Koningsdam and have booked with another cruise line. We d not anticipate booking with HAL in the future. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was our 3rd cruise . We have previously cruised on the Disney Fantasy in 2014 and then Royal Caribbean Legend of the seas in 2015 . As we are still quite new to cruising we are keen to explore several cruise lines but we have been ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise . We have previously cruised on the Disney Fantasy in 2014 and then Royal Caribbean Legend of the seas in 2015 . As we are still quite new to cruising we are keen to explore several cruise lines but we have been warned by fellow cruisers already that we started with one of the best cruise lines so everything by comparison is going to be difficult to measure up . The departure was from Sydney and we arrived a couple of days before so that we could explore Sydney and enjoy the lead in time before starting the cruise . The ship left from White Bay terminal which is a little out of the CBD but an easy trip via taxi . The cruise terminal is well laid out . There were plenty of staff to greet you as you turned up at the terminal so we were directed to the bag drop off.which was a breeze but we did get there quite early around 11am so that may have been a factor . The staff at the entrance to the terminal then handed the customs cards and health check forms that we needed to fill out, Once inside the terminal there is plenty of seating and there is also a cafe , we managed to grab a table and had a coffee while we filled out our cards , then it was just a matter of waiting to start the registration process and get our photos taken and ship cards issued . Once commenced the entire process was very quick and painless , the boarding procedure was handled efficiently and before you knew it ,we were on board and exploring the ship and heading up to the Lido Market for lunch . One of the main things I liked about this ship is that it feels spacious enough to easily cater for the approx 2000 passengers , you never felt really crowded . The decor of the ship is looking a little dated , I felt that it was a little over the top but then again I suppose they have to make some grand statements with design to try and get the wow factor . The layout of the ship is quite easy to navigate once you have been on board a couple of days . All of the areas appeared clean and generally in decent condition but there were some signs of repairs and maintenance needing to be done , some of the areas of the carpet were looking somewhat worn , along with the interior of the staterooms that we were in . We stayed on deck 7 , we decided on this deck after reading several reviews of the ship and weighing the likelihood of referred noise from the restaurant, theater or deck 9 where the Lido Market and swimming pool is located . When deciding on your stateroom I think you always need to look at the entire layout of the ship and consider all possibilities of where noise is generated . We were a family of 4 and we stayed across 2 different staterooms . We were unable to get connecting staterooms but we settled on 7103 and 7112 because they were far enough away from the lifts and 7112 was a couple of doors down from a utility room that could have become noisy when staff started accessing it early in the morning . The cabins overall were quite good , they were inside staterooms , this is the first time we have done inside rooms , in the past we have had verandah and sea view , having done this I would always at least have sea view because not having any natural sunlight is not something I found enjoyable . The argument is that you only sleep in your stateroom so why do you need a sea view but there is something natural with your body clock that just makes me feel better if I wake up to sunlight . The size of the rooms was a little on the small size with no real seating other than one chair with a very small table and one stool at the desk area . The wardrobe space is very good and the size of the bathroom was also very good . As with most ships the space under the bed is a great situation for storing those suit cases . The decor of the cabins is a bit ho hum and overall I think the ship is definitely due for a refit . The beds were very comfortable and the pillows also great . quality of the towels when changed was variable , some really soft and luxurious others a bit scratchy and older . The lovely waffle texture robes provided for use during your stay was a nice touch and the beach towels provided during those beach shore excursions also a nice touch. On the evening of 7th Jan I had an issue with stateroom 7112 . There was an extremely loud banging noise which started between 9.30 pm - 10 pm and this continued until 6.45 am on 8th Jan . My son and I tried to get some sleep but it was impossible . I phoned the front desk at 2 am and I was offered earplugs having been told that nothing could be done until an engineer became available which would not be until we arrived at our next port at approx 6.30 in the morning . Now wearing the ear plugs we tried again to get some sleep but to no avail , I ended up getting up and going down to the desk . I was told that we could not be relocated because there was nothing available , the only spare cabin was being used for a medical emergency . There was no engineer available to attend to the issue and I had accepted the offer of earplugs - this made me feel that it was now my fault that because I accepted the earplugs they didn't bother trying to get it fixed . It turns out that several cabins were affected by this noise and it was some problem with a heating pump for the swimming pool . The next day for our port of Dunedin was ruined because my son and I were operating on no sleep . As an apology I was left a bottle of red wine - this was supposed to make up for no sleep for the entire night and a port day ruined due to exhaustion . I took the wine back as I don't drink red wine , I was then offered 2 meals at piccalo cafe - long story short I had to battle to get a small credit put onto my account of just $54.00 which I hardly think makes up for the cabin that was not fit for purpose for 1 night . The TV in the cabin was not great , my husband had a problem with the TV in his room , there were vertical and horizontal lines that made viewing very unpleasant , we phoned to get it seen to and the technician felt that it was fine , we pressed the point and said it was not good until it was finally changed over by a somewhat surly technician . Clearly they don't like being told when something is not up to scratch. We had problems with toilets not working in both of the staterooms and when talking to other passengers , it seemed that this was a persistent problem , again possibly a maintenance issue ? On a plus note the dining experience was for the most part fantastic , the quality and variety of the food was excellent . the Lido Market on deck 9 which is essentially the buffet is really well layed out with duplication of structure both sides . The think what HAL is doing really well here is having greater control over the hygiene of the food . Rather than having an open buffet style layout where people are serving themselves everything , you go to the various stations and say what you want and you get served , for breakfast there are some serve yourself situations for things like croissants , danishes and muffins ,but if you want bagels or toast you get served by someone , if you want omelettes made you pick your ingredients and they make it for you , this means you don't get people touching things with their fingers or sneezing or coughing into a bowl of bacon or eggs . I think the system is really going to cut down on people getting sick. The vista restaurant is very nice and the menu selection quite good although I did not think much of the entrees . There is the Dive In burger and hot dog station which was fantastic , the burgers were amazing and it only takes around 15 minutes for your order to be ready . Explorations care does amazing coffees and frappe's . overall HAL gets a big tick of approval for the food . Out biggest dissapointment on this cruise was the entertainment , there just didn't seem to be enough of it . The Noordam singers and dancers were very good and the shows that they put on were very good although one of the male singers had a much weaker voice than the others but they harmonised well . The guest entertainment was a mixed bag. there were only a couple that were any good . There was a band playing in the Atrium in the late afternoons and Adagio near the explorations cafe in the evenings . BB kings was quite good but after being on board for almost 4 weeks their sets became quite repetitive . This was a real issue for me because we were sold this cruise as being a 27 night cruise but in reality it is 2 cruises back to back so all of the shows from the Noordam singers and dancers that were performed for the NZ leg were then performed again for the Pacific Islands leg . I don't think they have really made maximum use of the atrium area , it would be nice if there was musical entertainment there or near the pool from around 11am . There was a good array of books , puzzles and board games at explorations cafe but this place got very busy , I think this was evidence of a lack of entertainment as well . What was a big negative was that there no real cinema on board , they did show movies in the vista lounge on port days but really there were no current movies being shown . You had your usual fair of trivia quizzes and the dancers did dance lessons in the observation lounge on deck 10 but I get the feeling that the entertainment is operation on a lean budget . The worst effort was the Japanese ventriloquist that was booked , I have never walked out of a show but I walked out of this one , it was absolutely disgusting . Overall the service was pretty good . Our room stewards did a very good job and were friendly and helpful , the bar staff were overall pretty good but a few were a bit surly and grumpy to deal with but some were absolute stars . We felt overall there the ship was operating on lean staff numbers which could be putting those staff that are there under increasing pressure . There were times when public bathrooms had not been cleaned or they were closed due to maintenance problems . The staff at the front desk were less than fun to deal with on occassions. When trying to sort out my issue with the noise problem in my room I was met with almost a robotic response from the staff . I think there is a real problem with their training because they deal with confrontation by having a wooden , distant and non emotional response which then comes across as being arrogant and unfeeling . The ports that we visited were all great and we know NZ quite well so we were well equipped for our various stops , it was very useful to go to the talks about the various stops on the Pacific Island leg of the cruise but we never booked any excursions via the ship because the mark up is ridiculous . One of the things we did have to fork out a bit of money for was the laundry service . for the 27 nights it costs USD 196.00 for unlimited laundry . The quality of the work was wonderful and the clothes arrived back the next day beautifully folded with shirts etc on hangers , this was a great service but again very expensive . The reality is that they keep the cruise fair down to a reasonable cost but boy do you pay for everything else . We paid the USD 12.50 per person, per day gratuities fee even though we did have the option to reduce it because we did not want to penalise the staff that did work very hard even though management decisions on how things are done is damaging the overall experience for the guests . Overall we did have a good time but HAL can do better and I feel that if they want to get return customers , particularly in what is becoming an increasingly competitive market , they need to seriously look at some of the decisions they are making, there is a lot of room for improvement and one of the key areas they need to work on is that customer relationship when things do go wrong. I feel that they need to fairly compensate the guest when they are inconvenienced . I have come away feeling that although, yes I did get the benefit of everything else that the cruise had to offer , what sticks in my mind is how I was treated with the noise problem and the lack of compensation for a cabin not fit for purpose for 1 night . One final note - I think it is fitting for the captain and master of the ship to make announcements as to weather and conditions arrivals and departures along with rules and regulations and by all means remind people about hygiene and wash those hands , however I think it demeans the position for him to act like a salesman and promote going to the casino or spending those last holiday dollars at the shops . You are the captain not the marketing manager . Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Xmas and New Year at sea. What more could you want. You want to take that special bottle along with you, and if you are flying in from interstate then don't share your baggage. Your baggage is going to be confiscated because ... Read More
Xmas and New Year at sea. What more could you want. You want to take that special bottle along with you, and if you are flying in from interstate then don't share your baggage. Your baggage is going to be confiscated because you have bought more than your allocated share of alcohol on board and you are not going to get your bags until you go and get them. The lines of people waiting for customer service are horrendous so be prepared. We finally got our bags at 11PM. The ship is probably in need of an upgrade, however the cabins are very comfortable and you could not ask for better service from the cabin stewards, but once again things fall apart. If you want room service the wait could be 45 minutes for a coffee There is no where to get one close to your room. Breakfast room service was on time whenever you wanted it and great if you wanted to just sit out on the balcony without having to try and hustle to get a table at the Lido Buffet This did not deter the positives. Dining In the Main dining area was exceptional so if you want a good memory then book this in when you first book. The service in this area was also incredible so I am not being over critical Entertainment. B.B.King.Bar. WOW. What a great show. New Years Eve. Truly a night to remember. It could not have been bettered. Well maybe the fireworks at the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The night was something that Holland America can be proud of. Ports. I think everyone tells you about the Shore excursions. We along with everyone else took our obligatory photos. Fiji and the environs are known for their people and the pristine waters. They lived up to both. The people are wonderful. I am glad we have them as neighbors. The waters abound with beauty and you can't not like it Then all of a sudden you are on your way home and it sinks in that the holiday is almost over. Yes it has been good. It could have been great . What can I compare it to?. I can only compare it to some of the hotels of Asia or Europe, after all this is a big floating hotel. Did it live up to some of them?. I have stayed in some places that Holland America could take some lessons from in customer service. The service desk on board was abysmal. The Hanoi Elegance Group and even the Bich Duyen in Ho Chi Minh are pillars of high standards of service that this ship could learn from. I am home now. I open my bag of duty free alcohol. Only to find. No it could not happen. Yep they have given me the wrong one. Several emails over the next few weeks have gone unanswered by Holland America. Did that make me feel like a small fish in a big pond?, Do they even care? Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Had a great time and met some great people on the boat, unfortunately one band for the whole entire 28 day cruise, they were an excellent band and they rocked new years like you wouldn't believe, but for the whole cruise, come on!! ... Read More
Had a great time and met some great people on the boat, unfortunately one band for the whole entire 28 day cruise, they were an excellent band and they rocked new years like you wouldn't believe, but for the whole cruise, come on!! and only two comedian shows for the 28 day cruise. I was expecting a lot more as I had been on other cruise ships before. Spoke to one of the staff and they said that it was hard to get entertainers at that time of the year, I think that it was lack of planning. Food was outstanding and I am now five kilos heavier. Trying to get a drink up on the back deck was a bit hard sometimes, staff was run off their feet. Italian restaurant was outstanding and Pinnacles was good also. The main restaurant got busy at times and there was a bit of a wait, the food was excellent and the staff were friendly Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
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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