2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
we wanted to see Australia and New Zealand and also have some cruise days. We read a review The Noordam is a germ machine. It is true. My wife got a cold the firs day of the cruise and the last day. I got a flu right in the middle of ... Read More
we wanted to see Australia and New Zealand and also have some cruise days. We read a review The Noordam is a germ machine. It is true. My wife got a cold the firs day of the cruise and the last day. I got a flu right in the middle of the trip. I think that the Noordam tries to minimize this and warns folks to use the hand sanitizer, etc. But there were a number of ill guests. The staff was very nice and helpful. Very friendly with a sincere desire to made our trip pleasant. We saw some lovely beaches. New Zealand was extremely cold and had a hard time going to see it. My wife had a cold and the weather was cold and rainy so we stayed on the ship and let her rest. We liked the entertainment, except for the magician. We made some friends on board. A couple in their late 80's. Husband had a slight hearing problem He really wanted to see the magic show and sit up front. The magician asked me to stand up and pick a card out of his deck. i pointed to elderly husband and said choose him. He really loved magic. Magician addressed husband (I dont want to share his name without his consent) and told him to stand up and pick a card out of the magician's deck. he stood up. But said "What did you say, I didnt hear you" Magician snidely said "I dont like you. You can't hear. Please sit down". I thought that this was rude and uncalled for. There was another guest, a lady who was an english as a second language speaker. He asked her to stand and asked a question and she didnt understand him at first and he rudely told her to sit down. How do I report this to HAL? One of his "tricks" was to pound a bottle with a hammer. He pounded it with a hammer and said" I hate you dad, I hate you dad, i dont want to be a lawyer. I want to be an entertainer" I think he should think about entering the practice of law. His personality is suited for it. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Travelling with Qantas from ATL, I flew to LAX then on to SYD for arrival same day as sailing. This was a 29 day collector's voyage travelling to Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, other So Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand. I ... Read More
Travelling with Qantas from ATL, I flew to LAX then on to SYD for arrival same day as sailing. This was a 29 day collector's voyage travelling to Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, other So Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand. I was a solo cruiser taking my longest voyage to date and the furthest from home. I had booked the transfer to the ship. Upon arrival, I did not find the HAL representative and after travelling for 22 hours, just decided that I wasn't going to sweat it and took a taxi. I had exchanged money prior to leaving and had AUD on hand to pay the $60 taxi ride. Upon arrival at the pier, I was checked in and at my cabin within 15 minutes. Having sailed with HAL before, I knew there would be a pleasant staff, but this group far exceeded my expectations for helpfulness and willingness to assist a passenger. I was in a Neptune Suite and experienced nothing but pleasure to help from the Concierge JR and Saldi. The room stewards, Made and Yuba were aware of what I needed before I even knew. I've sailed extensively and this has been the best staff to date. The ship was nice. I chose this sailing for the itinerary and was more interested in where we were going than how I was getting there. My Neptune suite was very roomy, especially for one person with plenty of space for 29 days of "girl stuff", after all there were 6 gala nights. The main dining room was for the most part had great service. There were a few nights that the service was on the slow side, but having good dining companions made the time seem less. If I wanted to make a show, I just went earlier. Room service needs improvement - no attention to detail paid when setting up the trays. Wrong items, items omitted, wrong quantities, etc. It happened more times than should have. There are only so many times one can speak with the maître d and see no improvement. When calling in room dining to pick up the trays, there was never a response after being told they would send someone. I called the concierge desk to call housekeeping. They happily came to pick up. Food overall was good. Being there for basically two sailings did cause some overlap with menus, but it was a chance to try something different. Entertainment was really good. The singers and dancers were great. They had a Q and A period and were also found to be very passionate about what they do and willingness to help out outside of the stage. The Piano Man Mike was good. He was entertaining and had a way to pull the audience together for good laughs and not so good singing from the groupies. The BB King band was really good. I just felt kind of bad that on several occasions I witnessed they had opened up with only a handful of people in the lounge. They still performed like it was a packed house. I heard from many other passengers that they felt the music was just too loud to go back a second time. The mentalist was fun to watch. I still don't know how they do that! I was reluctant to go to a destination speech, as I thought it would be a shopping guide. No, it was very informative on the history, culture etc. I'm actually glad I went and went to several. I gambled and lost my allotted $20. Never went after that and walking through, it appeared to be used by a handful of people each night. Activities were limited with not a lot to do on sea days. It was a nice relaxing time. Disembarkation was smooth. It was well organized and most all guests went when and where they should have which made for an easy departure from the ship. Overall, it was a great cruise. The ports were fantastic. I am glad that I experienced the So Sea Islands, but not sure if I would recommend them to others. Australia/New Zealand I would tell anyone one that can go, should! Read Less
30 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
This is my review of the Holland America MS Noordam cruise from Auckland New Zealand to Sydney Australia departing on November 8, 2016. My review is intended to be honest and give some advice to future cruise passengers, I will try and ... Read More
This is my review of the Holland America MS Noordam cruise from Auckland New Zealand to Sydney Australia departing on November 8, 2016. My review is intended to be honest and give some advice to future cruise passengers, I will try and keep realistic in my comments. Firstly if you Google details about the Noordam like we did there are internet posts saying the Noordam was refitted in 2015, this is not true the refit was postponed until 2018 so Noordam is showing it’s age in relation to 2016 styles, fashion and technology. We bought this cruise for two reasons, first it is a bucket list worthy cruise if we had a bucket list. My Wife and I have never been to Australia and New Zealand and it’s about time we did, secondly this was a Holland America Top 10 offer, the price was a steal for a 14 day cruise in a Verandah state room, we paid Canadian $1600 each, just too good to pass up. A tip here Verandah state rooms on Noordam do not get the little extra touches that they do on a Vista class Holland America ship, so no slippers, flowers, binoculars and bigger balcony (six feet). The price of our Verandah stateroom was a guarantee room from the top 10 sale, so we were pleasantly surprised to be allocated a cabin in the midships on deck 5, the balconies on deck 5 are shorter around four feet deep but with a glass railing instead of the solid metal we had technically bought, still adequate but a little snug. Our stateroom was tired, I was disappointed to see the opening door to the balcony had been scratched extensively into “artwork”, the scratches were into the window film they use. That’s the worst, everything else was OK, no thread bare furniture just old tired like an older style Days Inn Motel on a popular Interstate. The room Stewards make it great, they try incredibly hard to give you a special vacation, I had pre ordered a bottle of Scotch so everyday day and evening my ice bucket was full of fresh ice without asking. Everything was cleaned as well as could be expected, we tried to help our Stewards by putting the room service card in the door as we left and if we saw them saying good morning and that we were out to breakfast, so we always came back to a freshly made up room. This is our third cruise this year with Holland America, we have been on the Veendam, Volendam and now the Noordam, when lining up at the port if you are a one or two star mariner, make sure you ask for mariner preference for boarding. If you expect to attend the Mariners lunch you need to be lining up at 11.00 to 11.30 am on the dockside. Sailing out of Auckland, New Zealand was great the city skyline is nice to see, there were local beer and wine from New Zealand available to buy on the rear deck and the weather was great, a good start to the cruise. My suitcase was held up for a long time as I had a bottle of wine in it, you are meant to have the wine you carry on in your carry on luggage. Another learning point, each cruise this year we have been on has had a different set of rules for boarding. The items we purchased before boarding the ship were in our room when we arrived, some scotch and beer. We found out as were cruising around New Zealand and Australia that liquor is heavily taxed in the local stores so buying the liquor from Holland America before hand turned out to be the cheapest option. We found the Lido restaurant to be overcrowded and the wait staff to be indifferent to us, we did notice if you were Asian or had pretty young women in your party then the service to those clients was excellent. The Lido was good for quick casual food service and they had 90% of the items in the main restaurant. What we really enjoyed this trip and had not used before was the Dive In fast food counter at the pool area, the burgers and fries were the best and the choices very good, we had them for lunches and were never disappointed and the service from ordering was quick, they use a beeper pager to let you know when your order is ready. We mostly booked day trips privately as we found the HAL prices at the top end and the day trip itineraries short in comparison. For instance at Picton the HAL wine tour went to two maybe three wineries and was priced in U.S. dollars, whereas our private tour went in a 12 seater mini bus to 5 smaller wineries that were not busy and had a wine tour host extremely knowledgeable about the area and wineries and priced in NZ$ so we won on the exchange rate also. We found this tour through the Cruise Critic Role Call for our cruise in their forums from other passengers. The entertainment on the ship was good, we went to the evening show mostly to the Noordam dancers and put on a very good show with singing and dancing and it lasted just long enough, a nice finish to the day after dinner. We never made it to the BB King show as it was too late. We don’t expect a Vegas quality show on a cruise ship. Most of the presentations for the ports of call we went to made by David the Port guide did an excellent presentation in the show lounge and primer for what we could see ashore and refreshingly he was not trying to sell us tours but just educated us about the town or area we would visit. He used a lot of his own photographs to show us major landmarks. I didn’t go to the Windows 10 seminars but did pass by the room before and during the classes and they were standing room only and very popular, we saw people lining up at least thirty minutes before the room opened to get a seat with a computer. I use Mac computers so had no interest in the Windows 10 or surface products and software. We did buy some coffee at the Explorers cafe mostly Latte or Cappuccino and got a few cakes from there, the coffee was good and not that expensive compared to buying ashore in both New Zealand and Australia. Cruising through the sounds, the crew opened the forward deck area that is normally off limits to passengers, so we could get a unobstructed forward view, they also on this day laid on the Dutch pea soup which was thick and hot on a very chilly overcast day on this forward open air deck. If you buy the Navigators wine package and see that they have a Sauvignon Blanc as a choice for white wine and bearing in mind that we are cruising in New Zealand where the best SB comes from and the name of this wine is a New Zealand award wining winery, you are not getting this wine instead you get a Californian Sauvignon Blanc of the same name! That was our only big argument of the trip and a disappointment but the Cellar Manager did substitute another New Zealand SB for us in the end for which we were grateful. This is what we did find on the Noordam that the staff were prepared to try and make things right if they could. The main dining room experience for us was faultless, our theory especially on a ship with 1900 passengers is to go for the first sitting when the crew are still fresh and keen, our ticket was for open dining and we went at 5.30 pm and requested a table for two, we got one just where we wanted, the waiter and his assistant were extremely attentive also our wine waiter fussed over us each night. So after the first night on the way out of the dining room we always stop by the Maitre D who records your attendance at the front of the restaurant and ask very nicely if we could have the same table, same time the next night they nearly always agree and then that becomes our table for the cruise at dinner time and the servers get to know us well and things go extremely smoothly. Room service, every morning we had either breakfast or coffee juice and pastries delivered around 6.30 to 7.00 am. We would have breakfast if we would be arriving in port for the morning or going on a shore excursion and a full fry up breakfast is the same in your room as the main dining room. A tip if you like coffee - the menu has a tick for coffee if you tick it you get a smaller carafe, so tick the box and write next to it “large carafe please”, then the coffee you get is twice as big, if just one of you takes cream, order two creams as the cream container is quite small. I used to joke to my wife when we were ordering breakfast on the room service menu at night to hang outside our room, “have you ordered the large Giraffe”. We highly recommend a balcony on this cruise as there is a lot to see from your room, especially as we were entering some ports very early, nothing like standing on your balcony in your dressing gown drinking hot coffee watching the arrival. We also stayed on our balcony for the third sound we cruised in, Milford and didn’t have to fight for space to photograph from. The increase in some prices isn’t very nice especially on an older ship, happy hour now is $2.00 for the second drink instead of $1.00, the beer, wine and liquor prices went up in July this year. All speciality restaurants went up in price, but we still went to Le Cirque at the Pinnacle Grill and to be honest it was worth the price. So for the price we paid the cruise was well worth it, we met some great fellow passengers had fun and saw a destination we might never had got to, was it perfect , no but close to it. The ship needs a refit it is outdated the stateroom TV’s are antiques, the picture and sound bad but it was value for the money we paid. The staff worked hard for all passengers and made your requests possible if they could. A shout out to our stateroom stewards Han and Yogi, our main dining room steward Arnest C. and assistant steward Temy, Cellar Manager Miguel and our wine waiter Eric. At the last Gala dinner we did get surf and turf (lobster), I asked Arnest if my wife could keep a copy of the menu and he said yes but took it away and later returned it with a very nice personal message to us, that typified the level of service we received. I could complain at the Tasman sea for being rough as we crossed from New Zealand to Tasmania or for being disembarked in Sydney at an out of the way port but it was no big deal really. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
We have previously cruised 4 times with P&O from Southampton,though we would prefer a Departure port in the North, but we had wanted to cruise New Zealand in particular to celebrate a number of personal landmarks and the itinerary for ... Read More
We have previously cruised 4 times with P&O from Southampton,though we would prefer a Departure port in the North, but we had wanted to cruise New Zealand in particular to celebrate a number of personal landmarks and the itinerary for our cruise met our wishes. Our cabin which was a signature suite on deck 6 was very good and whilst our stewards,there were 2 of them working as a team,maintained the room well we did feel at times they were keen to get us out of the room so they could finish their work especially in the evening when we didn't go to dinner until after 8 but not much after. We ate downstairs in the main restaurant, partly because our first encounter with the lido deck restaurant was chaotic and even more so at breakfast,when you couldn't necessarily get your full cooked breakfast from one station, but mainly because the service in the formal restaurant was very good. The restaurant reception staff and waiters were very friendly and most welcoming.The food was good rather than excellent though if you like your vegetables especially greens then don't hold your breath and nor would I recommend bothering with the afternoon tea which compared to P&O was a big disappointment. Our ports of call were interesting throughout our trip though the weather was not always so kind.We had prebooked two exercusions,both related to our like of the Hobbitt and Lord of the Rings but the price,over £700 for just two of us seemed very expensive,the fall in sterling to the dollar didn't help ,but even so it was still costly and put us off booking others though we did really enjoy both trips.The fact the sun shone both days helped.We made our own way at the other ports but bad weather at Wellington and Picton and to a lesser degree Dunedin meant we were restricted in what we managed to see outdoors though in Wellington we did spend an excellent few hours at the Te Papa Museum We didn't make full use of the evening entertainment partly because our itinerary was for port after port for the first 6 days and we didn't want to stay up late but also because we weren't particularly excited by what was on offer.What we did see was OK but no more tthan that except where we treated to a one off performance of the didgeridoo which was fun as well as entertaining. Whilst the initial cruise costs was reasonable the add ons of the gratuities 27US dollars per day and the 15% service charge on drinks seemed excessive when the latter was not cheap to start with. One gripe was that we were scheduled to go to Burnie then Melbourne but this was changed.Although we were informed a few days before leaving the Uk we had ,and we know of others it affected ,arranged to meet people,in our case relatives in Melbourne on the Saturday.Due to the change we were only able to meet up with our cousin but not her husband.Whilst the reason given though only after we had been on board a few days was that there were insufficient immigration personnel at a Burnie to process all passengers into Australia I would have thought this would have been known much earlier and to be honest at the time the cruise details were first put together.The irony was there were not that many in Melbourne to be honest! Did we enjoy our cruise.Yes.would we use HAL and the Noordam again.Yes but only in the right circumstances as overall we would still prefer P&O if in a Europe especially a boat like the Arcadia which is similar in design and layout to the Noordam but we feel has more character. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Flew from hometown to San Diego to embarkation. Met my roommate in San Diego airport. We only had time to get luggage and then catch the shuttle to the ship. We were promptly put aboard and our cabin was ready for us as well as ... Read More
Flew from hometown to San Diego to embarkation. Met my roommate in San Diego airport. We only had time to get luggage and then catch the shuttle to the ship. We were promptly put aboard and our cabin was ready for us as well as Invitations for dinners, drink cards, chocolate covered strawberries (never was sure who sent them)and our cabin stewards, Setyo and Nita, greeted us before going to lunch. We dined in the Pinnacle the second night aboard. The food was perfectly presented and excellent in flavor. We had room service often for breakfast and it was delivered right on the time we requested with a smile and good morning from the waiter. All or our dining experiences were positive and enjoyed every meal. We didn't do many excursions until New Zealand and we were off at every port.. Beautiful country neat and clean with the most friendly assistance as well. All of our off shore experiences were positive as well. This was a bucket list cruise and it was a wonderful experience. Also, met some lovely people on board, The cruise critic Roll Call was well attended, I thought. There were three from San Diego and a great way to meet some of the others on cruise critic.. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We booked the cruise many months ahead when great fares were offered for a trip of this length. The ship is 10 years old and is showing signs of wear in some areas. The Lido Dining venue needs new furniture. Our cabin was located on ... Read More
We booked the cruise many months ahead when great fares were offered for a trip of this length. The ship is 10 years old and is showing signs of wear in some areas. The Lido Dining venue needs new furniture. Our cabin was located on Deck 5. It was very comfortable and quiet. The verandah added a lot to our time at sea because the weather was very pleasant most of the journey. Our cabin stewards, Hary & Sri, provided excellent service keeping things spotless and well organized every day. Dinner in the dining room was pleasant and not crowded or noisy during our visits around 8 p.m. Food was good to very good with more than a sufficient variety of choices for a long cruise when menus, by necessity, are repeated. Sanjaya (the maitre' d) and servers Paulus and Dewa provided great service. Abigail provided excellent service in the Pinnacle Bar. Service in the Lido was spotty. There didn't appear to be enough staff to handle rapid turnover of tables at during breakfast. At times, things appeared a bit disorganized. Main Office staff were extremely professional and helpful. We, and several other passengers, complained about Internet service. Some software upgrades were made to the ship's system shortly after we departed. Following this activity AOL and YAHOO mail-server customers were unable to access email accounts. This situation wasn't rectified before we left the ship. Given the high cost and slow speed of Internet access, this was an unfortunate management decision that created a lot of ill will. As with our prior HAL cruises, we were impressed by the constant maintenance activity. Paint, varnish and other exterior finishes always look clean and in good repair. This creates an impression of a very well-run ship where passenger comfort and safety are a primary goal. A well-organized, complete program is published daily. However, the cruise director made at least two announcements, broadcast throughout the ship, each day. When I provided feedback about this he explained it was HAL policy to do this. I understand part of this effort is directed at increasing interest in activities that generate revenue. That said, I believe this is unnecessary, redundant and disruptive. We greatly enjoyed the captain's daily updates about our position, progress and weather. The staff work very hard for many hours each day. Nearly everyone had a smile and friendly greeting as passengers approached them in the corridors or public areas. Kudos to HAL! The training and coaching that support these behaviors added a lot to our enjoyment of this cruise. Overall, I believe we received excellent value. We'll sail with HAL again. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
My husband and I chose this cruise because it fit into our timetable and allowed a visit to Vancouver. I sailed with HAL several years ago on an older ship and did not have a good experience but since it fit we decided to give it another ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise because it fit into our timetable and allowed a visit to Vancouver. I sailed with HAL several years ago on an older ship and did not have a good experience but since it fit we decided to give it another try. The Noordam is a newer ship and exceeded our expectations. We upgraded to a signature suite and found it to be quite spacious with 2 sinks in the bathroom, balcony roomy too. Finishes are nicer in Celebrity solstice ships but overall it was very good. Service was excellent in all areas. The several talks about Alaska and what we were seeing were great. Food demonstration and galley visit also very good. Food in the main dining room and Pinnacle very good. Room service excellent for breakfast...real oj and good coffee. Lido terrible for breakfast. Watery coffee, fake oj , noisy and it smelled like McDonalds. It was fine for lunch especially Asian dishes. Piano bar and Blues were excellent, comedian very good but the singers and dancers were terrible! Nice gym and Indonesian tea. We did not book shore excursions but did go with Juneau tours in Skagway and they were great. Overall a very good experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2016
My wife and I took "Double Denali" package in July on HA. We spent the night in Anchorage then took the breathtaking and comfortable McKinley Explorer train to Denali National Park. Each glass-domed car has a narrator/guide, a ... Read More
My wife and I took "Double Denali" package in July on HA. We spent the night in Anchorage then took the breathtaking and comfortable McKinley Explorer train to Denali National Park. Each glass-domed car has a narrator/guide, a bartender (of course) and a waitress. Our guide was excellent. The scenery was magnificent. The sky was clear making Denali and the other mountains clearly visible.The lower level of each car contained a dining car and outdoor viewing platforms. We stayed at the McKinley Chalet Resort owned by HA. It's a vast property with great public spaces and decent food. There are a variety of good restaurants across the road from the main entrance to the hotel, as well as extensive and well maintained trails. Unfortunately it's not air conditioned and our room was stifling, even with two fans going. The next day we got up very early (again-it's a good thing Alaska's three hours behind CDST) to board the seven hour Tundra Wilderness Tour. To be honest I had some trepidation about spending seven hours in a bus in the middle of nowhere but it turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. The scenery was amazingly pristine and the wildlife viewing was beyond our expectations. The bus makes regular bathroom/stretch your legs stops and we were able to get good, reasonably priced box lunches at the hotel. Again we were lucky to have an entertaining, knowledgeable driver/guide. Another overnight in Denali then up early (again) for a "10 hour" bus ride to Seward where we would embark. Again I was pleasantly surprised that it actually didn't take quite that long and again the driver/guide did a great job. Embarkation took much longer than we expected but once we got on board it was fantastic. The stateroom, food and service were top notch. We had Signature Suite which gave us a roomy balcony and an upgraded bathroom (though many people on the ship wouldn't have fit in the shower stall). One obvious sign of the ship's age is that the stateroom's audiovisual amenities are really dated. The TV's are small and poor quality (and poorly positioned). The selection of channels is pathetic. If you want to watch a movie in your stateroom you have to call the "Front Office" and ask someone if the DVD is available to rent. If it is you have to get it (or I think you can ask them to have someone deliver it). An on-demand system would offer a better selection without having to deal with discs. Generally speaking the service was excellent. Our room was made up twice daily and was supplied with fresh fruit. Bottled water, which my wife consumes in great quantities is not free and the one problem we had with service was trying to get someone to understand when we wanted more water and when we didn't. The Alaska scenery was fantastic. In Glacier Bay you sail so close to a glacier that you can hear it groaning and cracking, The entire voyage was quite smooth, suitable to motion-intolerant people. Port of call were Haines, Juneau and Ketchikan with disembarkation in Vancouver. The food was generally excellent but I would advise you to skip the Pinnacle Grill. The service was very slow and people all around us were complaining of that and the fact that when the food finally came a lot of it was sent back because it wasn't cooked as ordered (like mine). The manager actually came around to see how everything was and we told her. There was no offer of compensation. All in all it was a fantastic experience. Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We went on a land/sea cruise with Holland America to Alaska, starting first with the land portion. The package deal provides one night in Anchorage before you set off for Denali National Park. We choose to extend our hotel stay to two ... Read More
We went on a land/sea cruise with Holland America to Alaska, starting first with the land portion. The package deal provides one night in Anchorage before you set off for Denali National Park. We choose to extend our hotel stay to two nights in order to give ourselves a little longer to adjust to 10 hours of flying and 4 time zone changes. Holland America puts you in the Anchorage Westmark Hotel because it owns the hotel. The Westmark will not be the highlight of your trip. It is showing lots of wear and tear. The staff was friendly, but always seemed overwhelmed with the number of people. The Glacier Brewhouse is very close by and we had a good dinner there, but get reservations or you have an hour long wait. The departure to the train station for the trip to Denali is very early in the morning. There is a Starbucks in the restaurant, but with limited staff, it is very slow. There is coffee available on the train, as well as other soft and hard beverages and food items/service. If you have opted for a double night in Denali, the schedule calls for an 7-8 hour train ride to Denali, a 7 hour bus tour of the park the next day, and then a 10 hour bus ride (with a lunch stop) down to Seward to join the ship the day after that. It can be three long days of riding. If you have been to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Anchorage before starting the trip to Denali, you may find the day-long tour of the park repetitive and without any up-close animal sighting. The bus around the park stops frequently when someone thinks they see sheep, bears, or other animals, but the animals are a long way away. You do learn about the ecology of the park on the tour. You will be advised to get a box lunch for the bus tour around the park. It can be purchased in the lobby of the McKinley Chalet where you will stay, but you need to order it the night before and the line to pick it up in the morning can be long. The Park Service bus you take on the park tour provides snacks and water. If you stick to the schedule that Holland America has for those days, the only time for excursions is at night and you have no control over when your bus leaves the next day -- and they can leave as early as 6 am up to 9 am. Our night of river rafting left us with a very short night before the bus tour of the park. The Chalet at Denali is actually a collection of buildings. Our room was in a building a good walk away from the main lodge where you were picked up for various trips and the walk includes a substantial hill. There were three shuttle buses that provided service around the property, but they did not work well when you are on a schedule. The two small ones filled up quickly and the bigger bus was a slow trip to the lodge. The rooms were alright, but rather dark. The bus to Seward was comfortable and our driver played a DVD on the Iditarod to help the time go a little faster. Lunch was pleasant and well organized. We had traveled on a sister ship of the Noordam two years ago so found the ship and our verandah room very familiar and comfortable. We really enjoyed Glacier Bay and Haines. Glacier Bay gave us great views of the glaciers and Haines seemed such a genuine Alaska town. The Mayor of Haines even greeted us as we got off the ship!! The town is small and is not inundated with shops for tourists as you will find in Ketchikan, but that made it all the more pleasant to see. There is a shuttle around the small town. Our bus driver talked with great pride about the extent of medical care available in the town, despite its size (2,500), and their award-winning library. When we got back to the ship (around 5:30), there was a group of native dancers performing at the dock. They were very friendly and answered all our questions. It was just nice to see a real Alaska Town! We have made several trips to Alaska, but always enjoy the beauty of the landscape and the chance to see so many things we never see in urban America. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We joined the Noordam in Seward for one way to Vancouver after doing the land portion to Denali. We had a signature suite on deck 6 which was quite spacious with plenty of closet and storage space. The bathroom had double sinks and a ... Read More
We joined the Noordam in Seward for one way to Vancouver after doing the land portion to Denali. We had a signature suite on deck 6 which was quite spacious with plenty of closet and storage space. The bathroom had double sinks and a separate tub and shower. All in all the suite was extremely nice. Our room stewards Dada and Zulu were exceptional and responded to every request promptly. They were always pleasant and wanted to make certain we had what we needed or wanted. The captain of the Noordam is the most communicative of any captain we have ever had prior, either on HAL or the other cruise lines we have sailed. He pointed out special points of interest, informed us of where we were, where we were going and where to look for wild life. He always ended his dialogue with "Wash your hands", which became humorous but was much appreciated as there did not appear to be any illness on the ship. The food in the dining room was very good and they even made certain that my peanut allergy was noted and that I did not get any items which might contain any peanuts. (THANKS for that). The ports we visited, Haines, Juneau and Ketchikan, were interesting with new things to see and do even though we had been there before. The excursions were very interesting, some of my favorites this time were the animal rescue and rehab, the Cristal gardens (a do not miss excursion) and the Totem Village. Disembarkation in Vancouver was the quickest and easiest I have ever experienced. We did the land portion of this cruise and land package first and I would highly recommend this as getting onto the cruise ship after the land portion allows some time to rest from all the land portion activities. We were booked into the Hilton in Anchorage (an absolutely gorgeous city) and actually arrived a day early as it is a long flight from Nashville to Anchorage. This gave us a free day in Anchorage and we took in the sights there. We did the trolley trip (1 hr) in the morning and I would highly recommend it as an oversight of Anchorage. The Hilton is basically one block from the trolley stop and an easy walk. We had a very knowledgeable tour guide and learned a lot about Anchorage. We saw Earthquake park and even saw some moose along the highway. Very interesting. That afternoon we did the Seward Highway Turnagin tour with Salmon Berry tours. This tour is OUTSTANDING and John H. was an exceptional guide. We traveled one of the most scenic highways in America, saw Dall sheep and the high tides, we rode a tram to the top of Aleska (?) mountain, which afforded gorgeous views. Lunch was provided and consisted of delicious tomato basil soup, homemade sourdough bread and the yummiest cinnamon rolls ever. John even served our lunch and cleared our tables. Next we went to an animal rescue area and saw moose, bears, caribou, wolves, foxes and even Peggy the porcupine. It was very informative and entertaining. All in all a wonderful tour. Thanks John, you made our day in Anchorage. The next morning we were taken to the train for our trip to Denali. I so enjoyed the train trip with the domed cars which afforded great views and the seats were very comfortable for the long train trip. HAL owns the cars and they are first class. Lunch in the dining car was very good also. Upon arrival in Denali we were checked into the McKinley Resort which is absolutely beautiful. Comfort is first rate and the suites are spacious and inviting. The entire resort is outstanding. The only bad experience in our entire 11 day trip was that night when we went to the Theater and Dinner Show at the resort. Ok I realize the actors are amateurs and it shows painfully. That I could have tolerated but the food was terrible. The salmon was served basically as a whole fish with the skin on it (yuck) and the bar b que was some dried out baked chicken with some bar b que sauce thrown on it. I would skip this one by all means. It quite definitely is NOT worth the price and you will get a better meal in the dining room of the resort. The next day we did the Tundra trip to Denali, which is amazing. We saw so much wildlife, including grizzly bears, caribou, moose, ground squirrels, foxes and even a red eagle. Our tour guide was great and she definitely knew her stuff. It was a beautiful day and we could see Denali which we were told only happens about 30% of the time. One thing to note, it is a full day excursion and they only provide snacks so order a box lunch at the resort the night before and take with you. You will be glad you did. At one point on the excursion, we could not get off the bus due to the fact that a grizzly was very near. Very exciting to see one so close. This is a must do (don't take the short trip as it does not go very far into the park) . That evening we did the Husky Homestead tour and it by far was one of my favorites. YOU GET TO HOLD A HUSKY PUPPY. Just a little ball of fur and so adorable. Jeff King is very knowledgeable and entertaining and gives insight of the huskies, how they are trained and the Iditarod race experience. Very enjoyable. The following morning we boarded a motor coach for the long trip to Seward to join the ship. If you have a good coach driver who knows when to talk and when to be quiet this could be fairly pleasant. We did not.....I can tell you this guy's whole life story, his wife's life story and he even got into politics. Not what I wanted to listen to for about 8 hours. We did have a nice lunch provide along the way and finally made it to Seward. Our driver kept telling us how he is always the first one there (there were several coaches) however we were the LAST coach to arrive at the ship. Glad that part was over and ready to board the ship. All in all this was a once in a life time experience and I am so glad I did it and would recommend going through HAL for the Land and Sea Alaska adventure to all my friends. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We chose this back-to-back Alaska cruise based on the exceptional last minute price. We have sailed to Alaska numerous times and are never disappointed with the beauty. We arrived in Vancouver by air and quickly transferred to the ... Read More
We chose this back-to-back Alaska cruise based on the exceptional last minute price. We have sailed to Alaska numerous times and are never disappointed with the beauty. We arrived in Vancouver by air and quickly transferred to the Skytrain (public transport) which whisked us into the city centre, a 5 minute walk to the cruiseship terminal. Embarkation went quickly and smoothly and we were soon onboard in familiar territory. Because of the price point, we chose an inside cabin based on the available videos and brochure pictures. Apparently this was a mistake, as the cabin was the smallest we have ever encountered in over 40 cruises. It did not look like the pictures and was very small and cramped for double occupancy. We had the cabin steward separate the beds to create a narrow "hallway" so that we could both stand up in the cabin at the same time. Very awkward and uncomfortable. Avoid Cabin 6007 and others like it, unless you are traveling alone. We ate most of our meals in the main dining room as we prefer to be served our meals instead of self-serving in the Lido. Portions are not large so one can enjoy all courses. The food was very good, well presented, and the service excellent. Lunch in the Pinnacle Grill was exceptionally good and highly recommended. Holland America's entertainment is not of the highest quality, especially the stage singers and dancers. They are just very loud. The guest entertainment, a comedian and a magician were so-so. The comedian was the better of the two. The crew shows were, as always, excellent and highly entertaining. Holland America are now in partnership with the BBC and the Planet Earth series, and the resulting programs are outstanding. We were lucky to have been on the first ship to preview the programs and we understand it will be fleetwide later in the year. The service on the Noordam is excellent and friendly, throughout the ship. Having been to Juneau, Ketchikan, and Skagway before, we did not take any tours, but walked around on our own and enjoyed the general ambience of these picturesque spots. The weather on our trip was exceptionally good. We were delighted to visit Haines after not being there for several years. A truly magnificent and unspoiled place, which few cruiseships visit. Most shore excursions are on the expensive side. We were not travelling with children, but have done so in the past and highly recommend the Club Hal program for children. Some passengers embarking in Seward were sick with Norovirus but the outbreak was dealt with and was confined to under 2%. There was great transparency of the unfortunate event and fortunately we did not become sick. Our hands have never been so clean! Sailing with Holland America is like visiting an old friend. We know what to expect and they never fail to deliver a positive experience overall. Nothing is perfect, but Holland America comes close for us. We look forward to doing this trip again next year. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
Before my father passed away last year he told my sister and I to take a cruise after he was gone. My brother in law has been to every state in the USA except Alaska. We chose the land and sea Alaskan package through Holland America. ... Read More
Before my father passed away last year he told my sister and I to take a cruise after he was gone. My brother in law has been to every state in the USA except Alaska. We chose the land and sea Alaskan package through Holland America. Everything was very good through Holland America. They provided details about cruise excursions, as an example how long the excursion would be and what level of activity. The only thing we didn't know is on the land portion, there was a lot of walking, bus rides, going up and down steps. We didn't have problems with this, but someone older with limitations, it would be nice to know ahead of time. We arrived at Seward, AK by train. Holland America gave us our sea pass on the train, all we had to do was wait in line to go through security. They only had 1 lane opened, which took about 45 minutes to get through. Expect to wait in line for a while. We had a suite and it was a great size. We have traveled on Royal Caribbean and their junior suite was smaller than Holland America. We had a double sink, separate shower and bathtub/shower in the bathroom. We found accommodations on Holland America very nice. We had open seating for dining and we never had to wait to be seated. We did notice however, it was difficult to get cocktails in a timely manner, so we learned to bring one in with us to the dining room. As activities go, they were okay. With the open seating we were able to be at the earlier shows. Every excursion we went on was great, we did whale watching and saw several whales with their babies, we were able to go places on our own to find the history of Alaska and we went on the Crab fishing boat, which was the best. If you do any excursions this is the one that was worth the money. I don't want to spoil anything for anyone, but the crew had a personal touch and showed us more than how they crab fished. Just a side note, Holland America had a generator go down in their sports bar, so the ship had to get into Vancouver early to repair for their next cruise. We also felt that once you are going through the disembarkation process the crew were not very friendly, they left you an impression of "get your stuff and get off". We traveled with 4 adults and no children. We are scheduled to take another cruise in February on Holland America, because I won a free cruise playing Bingo onboard, so yes, because of the free cruise we are traveling on Holland America. Would I choose Holland America again if I didn't win the cruise, the answer is yes. Room was bigger, food was very good. Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We are in our mid 60's and are not interested in noisy entertainment ship life. Travelled around Yukon and Alaska with HAL then returned to Vancouver on Noordam. Boarding at Seward very quick, with just the security check. Ship is ... Read More
We are in our mid 60's and are not interested in noisy entertainment ship life. Travelled around Yukon and Alaska with HAL then returned to Vancouver on Noordam. Boarding at Seward very quick, with just the security check. Ship is beginning to show its 10 years old but not a real negative yet. We had used HAL about 10 years ago (Volendam - about 900 passengers) and found Noordam too large. All dining was had in Lido Bistro as we are not the dinner dress up types, but you had to be early to get table with view. Service was good, however food was generally too sweat for our Australian tastes. Wife spent most nights in piano bar as it catered for music from 50's through to current. We found the service by cabin staff very good as they kept our cabin (6039) very clean and remembered how the wife liked her bed made each day (not tucked in, and like a tidy disaster area) and bistro staff possibly over attentive at times. Over all we had a good stay on the Noordam and I only have one minor whine, that was the A$1 per minute for casual WiFi usage (plans were available from US$50 for 100 minutes) so I used free WiFi available in at coffee lounges at each port of call. Disembarkation at Vancouver was well planned and coordinated with priority going to those who needed to meet other transport. We waited about 2 hours mainly in cabin and bistro. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Make no mistake. The star of this trip is Alaska, not the Noordam. We left from Seattle for a bus trip to Vancouver to meet the ship. Embarkation was a tad frantic at Canada Place, but reasonable. The Noordam was in fine shape and ... Read More
Make no mistake. The star of this trip is Alaska, not the Noordam. We left from Seattle for a bus trip to Vancouver to meet the ship. Embarkation was a tad frantic at Canada Place, but reasonable. The Noordam was in fine shape and the crew worked hard to please, but I have had better experiences on Royal Caribbean. The ship was simply a means to an end. Holland America came highly recommended by our travel agent, plus they had the cruise at the time we wanted to go, so we used them. While we we not disappointed, we were no blown away either. Our veranda cabin was clean and comfortable. Our room stewards were attentive without being bothersome. Dining room staff was fun. More to say about food later. The best spot on the ship was the Crow's Nest. The views from there were fantastic. Holland America offered us a free beverage card (15 drinks per day, up to $8 max). That was very useful. As a recovering alcoholic, I did not use the alcohol drinks, but my wife enjoyed the different wines. We were also "given" a free dinner at the Pinnacle restaurant. Save your money if you are paying extra to eat here. We were disappointed. In a fancy place like that I expect a steak ordered medium rare to come that way, not well done. We ordered room service breakfast most days. They usually got the order right, but not always. The Lido restaurant is frantic and a place I would avoid if I could, but sometimes it is the only food choice. Food in Vista dining room was varied and fine, although I thought some portions seemed small. Entertainment was just so-so, but the crowd was mostly seniors and seemed to enjoy the offerings. The cruise Director Kelsey was lot of fun as was "Jazzy" the DJ. The lady who "explained" debarkation in Seward was so confusing that many passengers had no idea after her presentation what we were to do. Our shore excursions included salmon fishing in Ketchikan. We caught only one one as the salmon run had not yet begun. In Juneau, we took the spectacular Tracy Arm Fjord tour. Clearly this was the best tour we took - right to the base of the glacier, where we watched 6 icebergs calve, and saw all sorts of wildlife including whales and seals. In Skagway, we took the train ride. Just lovely on a rare sunny day. After arriving in Seward, we headed to Danali for two nights, then back to Anchorage. In Danali, the recently renovated McKinley Lodge was excellent. The Westmark hotel in Anchorage, however, is shopworn and weary and in great need of an update. While in Denali, the tundra wilderness tour was great. We left at 3 PM, not returning until after 11 PM, but saw lots of caribou, Dall sheep, and spectacular scenery. After Anchorage, Holland America flew us back to Seattle. They even paid the luggage fees. All in all, I rate the experience as very good. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We did this cruise a part of a Land and sea journey. While there were some bumps on the land part (if I see never see a bus again I will be thrilled), the cruise was wonderful. Embarkation was the absolute easiest one we have ever had. No ... Read More
We did this cruise a part of a Land and sea journey. While there were some bumps on the land part (if I see never see a bus again I will be thrilled), the cruise was wonderful. Embarkation was the absolute easiest one we have ever had. No lines at all and we walked directly onto the ship into our cabin. It was our second Alaska cruise and it didn't disappoint. The food was great, service fantastic and we had a great time in the piano bar nightly. You really need a balcony for Alaska - the views are just incredible and the show never stops. We lost count of how many whales, orcas, sea otters, mountain goats, etc. we spotted while cruising. We never turned the tv on once the entire cruise. We typically pass on ship excursions but did enjoy the Kenai Fjords boat trip prior to embarkation and the Glacier Point Wilderness Safari - highly recommend both. We had the unlimited beverage package as part of our booking and while it was nice to have the fancy coffee drinks included (which other lines do not), we found the wine selections by the glass to be lacking. The theater shows were average however the piano bar was a lot of fun. Even better the casino was nonsmoking so we actually went in! Usually we avoid it due to the smoke. Room service breakfast was wonderful (and at no charge unlike some other lines) and a real treat - especially on disembarkation morning. We look forward to another trip with HAL! Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We had never been on a cruise and an Alaska cruise had been on our bucket list for many years. We chose Holland America because the ship was a little smaller than some of the other lines and the average customer was a bit older. The ... Read More
We had never been on a cruise and an Alaska cruise had been on our bucket list for many years. We chose Holland America because the ship was a little smaller than some of the other lines and the average customer was a bit older. The cruise was very good and we would do it again. We arrived in Vancouver the evening before the cruise to get a small taste of this great city and to ensure we wouldn't literally miss the boat by arriving too late due to a flight delay or bad weather. We embarked at Canada Centre and it seemed to go very well. Total time for embarkation was probably under two hours. Our luggage had been transferred from the hotel to the ship and was already in our stateroom when we arrived on ship. The ms Noordam was just refurbished a couple years ago and it's quite impressive. Lots of art, including an Andy Warhol print at the front information desk, and some truly beautiful spaces. I enjoyed the Ocean Bar and the Explorations Cafe. Both were beautifully decorated and nice places to just hang out during the afternoons. The external elevators were a nice touch, too, giving you great views of the surrounding mountains and islands. We used them much more than the inside elevators. I was impressed with the quality and selections of food, both in the Lido Restaurant (buffet style) for breakfast and lunch and in the Vista Dining Room for dinner. Since we don't drink a lot we skipped the prepaid drink card and purchased alcoholic beverages individually (hot tip- take advantage of the happy hours). The only thing that wasn't quite right was the grits, which were under-cooked and way too runny. The Lido Restaurant can be quite busy, with window seats at a premium, so get there early if you want a good seat. The nightly entertainment was great. We spent a little time each night in the B. B. King Blues Club, caught two shows with comedians (both were very funny) and one of the musical shows, which was much better than I had anticipated. I would advise you to arrive early as a lot of the shows were standing room only and there are several spots where columns block your view. We had great service from the cabin steward, the information desk, and the waiters and staff in the restaurants. Everyone seemed to have a great attitude and made dealing with them a pleasure. The highlight of the cruise was probably Glacier Bay. The weather held out for us (no rain) and we spent a great day cruising one of the truly beautiful natural places in the world. Marjorie Glacier was the star but Reid Glacier, Johns Hopkins Glacier, Lamplugh Glacier, and yes, even Grand Pacific Glacier were awe inspiring. Our excursions were the Mendenhall Glacier and Whale Watching Tour, in Juneau, and the White Pass and Yukon Route RR Yukon Expedition in Skagway. We booked both through Holland America. Both excursions were very well done, the tour guides were great, and we had no bad experiences on either of the excursions. The weather was great, we saw a lot of Orcas and Humpbacks on the whale tour and we did see a black bear on the Yukon Expedition. The scenery alongside the White Pass and Yukon Route RR was incredible. The ports were what you would expect - rain in Ketchikan, beautiful scenery in Juneau, and a lot of interesting historical points in Skagway. Anchorage is probably one of the prettiest cities I've ever visited. Debarkation was very well done and everything was handled for us. We were continuing on to Denali and our luggage was in our room when we arrived. We were able to go straight from the motor coach to our room, with no stop at the hotel check in desk. Since this was our first cruise and we weren't sure what to expect, we were surprised at the number of "opportunities" on board to spend your money. We managed to avoid all the jewelry, botox, spa treatments, etc., as well as the casino and came away with a reasonable on board charge. We came home with relatively few physical souvenirs but lots of photos and memories. All in all, it was a great experience. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Just returned from our first ever cruise. First week of May to Alaska. We had nothing to compare to, so it was all a big adventure for my husband and me. We chose Vancouver as our port because we are Canadian and it was easy to fly ... Read More
Just returned from our first ever cruise. First week of May to Alaska. We had nothing to compare to, so it was all a big adventure for my husband and me. We chose Vancouver as our port because we are Canadian and it was easy to fly there direct. We also spent several days after the cruise visiting with family in the area. When we got to Canada Place we were happy to hand over our luggage to be stored until it could be loaded onto the ship. We were too early for embarkation at this time, so we wandered around the area and enjoyed the sunshine. Upon our return, we faced several hours of long line-ups. First through immigration, then through the check in with HAL, and then to register the two bottles of wine we were bringing with us. We later discovered that some people were given the opportunity to sit for part of this process, but we weren't. We were quite exhausted by the time we got on board the ship. Luckily our stateroom was ready for us. The stateroom was great. We had a verandah, which we enjoyed despite some cigar smoke wafting down on to it. HAL really should not allow smoking on the verandahs. The bed was very comfortable and the storage was plentiful and efficient. We enjoyed our room very much. Our stewards were great too. Only complaint was the brown bananas that were deposited in our fruit basket one morning. We did have a bit of an issue with a smoke smell in our cabin when we returned one evening after dinner. My husband dialed 911 and it took them about 5 minutes to respond, at which time they sent one of the girls from the front desk who knew nothing about what to look for. Once she called her supervisor she was able to tell us that several people had called about this issue and that it was being addressed. With reluctance we left for the evening show. When we returned everything was fine. Luckily this wasn't more of an issue as the response was rather slow for smoke smell! We enjoyed the food on the ship. While some people have complained that the portions in the dining room were small, we both felt that there was adequate food. And it was possible to order several appetizers, desserts, or even main dishes. All was prepared well and we had no issues with the food. Even the Lido made decent food, although the lines were sometimes slow and often it was hard to find a place to sit at peak times. We went to most of the evening entertainment shows and most were okay. A comedian was quite funny, and the rest was okay. My husband and I did not go to the Casino, the Spa, the Gym, or to any of the activities on the ship. Our purpose was to enjoy the scenery and relax. We did relax, and we did enjoy the scenery--when there was some. And this is our biggest disappointment with this round trip 7-day tour. With so much territory to cover it is inevitable that the ship has to travel at night. Because of this, we missed some of what would have been gorgeous scenery because we were asleep. Rejigging departure times and the amount of time spent in ports might solve this issue. I would rather sleep while the boat is in open waters than when it's going through narrower channels and straits. I was also disappointed that Tracy Arm was on our itinerary when we booked, on the promotional materials, and on the check in printout from HAL, but the captain simply sailed right by and gave no explanation why. He also chose to go on the Pacific open side past Sitka (in the night) when the sea was particularly rough instead of opting for a more protected inner channel. Not sure why. Anyone interested in Alaskan scenery should check the itineraries very carefully before choosing a cruise to ensure that they don't miss some of the actual inside passage. We booked excursions independently because we were told it would be more economical. For Alaska, I don't think it made a big difference. We took a shuttle bus to the Mendenthall Glacier in Juneau. It was a beautiful day and it was lovely walking around the area. We opted for the Chilkoot Trail hike and float down the Taiya River with Skagway Float Tours. Brooke and Brian were great and it was a fun little excursion. In Ketchikan we booked a sea kayaking trip through Southeast Kayaking. We had a private tour as we were their only customers on that rainy afternoon. It was fun despite the rain and we were thrilled that a humpback blew and then sounded very close to our kayaks. Glacier Bay was awesome, but rainy and cold when we were there. We weren't aware until that day (THursday of our week) that channel 43 on the TV broadcast all ship announcements. We could've easily stayed in our cabin, heard all the commentary, and gone out for unobstructed viewing of the glaciers had we known in advance. Sigh. Disembarkation was very smooth and took no time at all. HAL should consider some sort of embarkation process that is similar if possible. We did enjoy our adventure, despite some of the disappointments. I would've liked to be able to bring my 2 bottles of wine to dinner without having to pay corkage. After the initial two, fine, but at least that much would've been nice. Most people we dined with opted to have only water and I think that was largely due to the high beverage prices. Less paper in our "mailbox" about sales on ship would've been nice too, considering the brochures go on about HAL's eco-consciousness. And of course the annoying smoking. It shouldn't be allowed on verandahs and Noordam should relocate the smoking room (Oak Room, I think?) as they have it venting onto the promenade deck in the one spot where there are several deck chairs because it is wide enough for people to lounge. Everytime we walked by there all we could smell was smoke. Ugh. The early sailing was a bonus in the ports. We were the only ship in port all three times and that made visiting the towns very pleasant. I would like to cruise to Alaska again, but if we can, we will look into a smaller boat that can actually really get into the inside passage and all its beautiful nooks and crannies. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
This was my celebration cruise for my retirement and it was the perfect way to celebrate! We were upgraded to a Neptune Suite upon embarkation and everything from there was amazing! The food was excellent and, even though we ran into ... Read More
This was my celebration cruise for my retirement and it was the perfect way to celebrate! We were upgraded to a Neptune Suite upon embarkation and everything from there was amazing! The food was excellent and, even though we ran into some bad weather along the way, the captain did a great job of keeping us out of the worst of it. Plenty to do during time at sea and the islands we visited were gorgeous. Truly the trip of a lifetime! The only complaint would be the cabin steward and I would have expected a much higher level of service for Neptune Suites. He paid no attention to details and we never got clean robes or beach towels unless we specifically asked. You would not want to use the same robe for 24 days at home and these should be changed out weekly, at the very least. Often our cabin was not cleaned until the afternoon, even though we had requested service for earlier so that we could feel free to nap in the afternoon if we wished. Otherwise, the entertainment was good, not spectacular, but enjoyable. The music was tailored to a bit older crowd, which was disappointing, but we managed to find plenty to do to keep us busy throughout the entire time. Read Less
28 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
This is our third cruise with Holland Cruise line. We have enjoyed all of them but a little disappointed this time because we had to miss two ports that we were looking forward to visiting. The ship had "Mechanical issues" and ... Read More
This is our third cruise with Holland Cruise line. We have enjoyed all of them but a little disappointed this time because we had to miss two ports that we were looking forward to visiting. The ship had "Mechanical issues" and we had to remain in Napier overnight. It was very stressful because it was first announced that the ship had problems but that we would be underway soon and that we would reach Auckland on schedule. Then no more announcements and we were still docked in port. We went to bed that night only to wake up still docked in Napier. There was such a long period of time before the Captain informed us that we would be remaining in Napier and that buses would we available to take people into town and that we would be leaving at 1030pm AND would miss Auckland (no berth available) AND Bay of Islands ( not enough time to cover distance) (????). Mechanical problems happen. The lack of timely communication was my issue. We received credit for the port charges, excursions and $100 OBC as well as 20% off our NEXT cruise. To Holland's credit, they did allow us to use that 20% credit on a cruise that we had previously booked. The food was good in the Lido but they stop serving dinner at 8pm. The MDR food was excellent on the two occasions that we dined there. The Pinnacle Dining was fantastic. The food was above average with great service. The Shows were very good (some better than other's) the Holland Staff Accordion Player, she was a Great show all by herself and the BB King Band and Singers were Great. We went to the BB King lounge several nights and we didn't hear the same songs over and over. They changed it up with a variety of numbers. Very entertaining. We were every lucky to get an up sale to the Neptune Suite 5190 which was the aft wrap. The suite is well appointed with so much space and storage. A dressing room with 3 closets, as well as 4 closets in the main cabin. On a couple of nights during heavy rain and winds, my husband said the vibration of the ship woke him up. I did feel the vibration one night, but it in no way took away from the enjoyment of the cabin. I would take that up sale again in a heartbeat. The Neptune Lounge with Michelle and Anne was great and they both helped with everything. They happily made my call to Sydney so I could confirm a post cruise reservation for us. The Casino staff, Roxanne, Julia and Ernest were the greatest. We always book Holland excursions and the excursions that we did take were well organized. One suggestion that I made, was that there be a more visible Holland port guide on the pier, because in Akaroa (Christchurch) we had trouble finding our pickup point. Embarkation was smooth, (Neptune status helped I'm sure) because otherwise there were lines everywhere. Disembarkation was so fast, We were off the ship and in a cab before we knew it. The service on the ship everywhere was great. The Lido Pool Terrace Grill food is great with fast service even when they are busy. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Bucket list cruise including Australia and New Zealand. We arrived in Sydney a week early so we could explore a bit of Australia before the cruise and we truly enjoyed every day. We spent most of our time in Sydney, but did take a train to ... Read More
Bucket list cruise including Australia and New Zealand. We arrived in Sydney a week early so we could explore a bit of Australia before the cruise and we truly enjoyed every day. We spent most of our time in Sydney, but did take a train to The Blue Mountains to visit friends who live in that beautiful area. Our hotel was on Darling Harbour (PARKROYAL Darling Harbour....Club room was quite nice and the Club Room was great for food, beverages all day long) and we certainly were glad we chose that area as it was convenient walking distance to so many places. We boarded the Noordam in Sydney for our 14-15 day cruise around New Zealand and what a beautiful cruise it was!! The weather was perfect and the views were amazing We booked a lot of independent tours in NZ and each and every licensed tour guide was professional and we had such great tours of this beautiful country!. Although we have cruised on HAL before, this was our first experience on the Noordam and that class of ship, we've always had the larger, newer ships. All in all, the Noordam was in good condition and the Signature Suite we booked was well worth the cost because this was a lengthy trans-pacific repositioning cruise. After our New Zealand portion we returned to Sydney for the day and then embarked on the Island hopping to Vancouver, Canada. Honestly, some of the islands were simply not that interesting at all, but we did have some good experiences. Of course, Hawaii was delightful but by then, we had had enough of shipboard life and wished we had chosen to disembark in Honolulu as quite a few others had chosen that option. The food onboard the Noordam was quite good overall, the entertainment was better than we expected but the piano bar was disappointing. A big disappointment was the size of the TV and variety of movies offered..we are spoiled with flat screens on the Eurodam and Niew Amsterdam) We also enjoy going to a "theater" for movies and this ship doesn't have a theater, movies are shown in the BB King Blues theater, so seating is less than ideal but certainly adequate. Several of the lecturers were excellent! Repositioning cruises in general don't have a big variety of activities but we did enjoy the trivia, the pool, the gym, the cooking shows ETAL. I wish there had been more to do that wasn't a sales pitch but that's so true of all the midrange cruise lines that I can't fault HAL alone...it's a trend we'd love to see end . As usual, the service on Holland America was exceptional. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
I've been on 5 cruises, 4 of them 13 nights or longer and Noordam has the best cruise director, Kieron Humphrey. Kieron could double up as on-board entertainer anytime. I dare say he was a better comedian than some of the featured ... Read More
I've been on 5 cruises, 4 of them 13 nights or longer and Noordam has the best cruise director, Kieron Humphrey. Kieron could double up as on-board entertainer anytime. I dare say he was a better comedian than some of the featured comedians. He dressed well and sang wonderfully. Made a great trivia/game host too. Christina, the culinary host was fantastic too. She was enthusiastic, organised and kept me engrossed and entertained throughout each cooking activity (I attended all of them). The recipes were well chosen (simple and tasty) and her choice of demonstrating chef/crew were excellent. If they could not express themselves effectively, she was fast and clear in interpreting their thoughts. The onboard entertainment cast was very average. lets say I would prefer the singers to sing and the dancers to dance and not do both. Crew was excellent! Toiletries in the cabin toilet is not too bad but the soap can be done away. It took a long time to wash off so should be replaced with liquid hand soap. Smoking is allowed on the verandah but a no no to me. It's not pleasant to open the balcony door and smell smoke instead of fresh sea air. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We sailed on the Noordam in Cabin SS6109 ( a Signature Suite) as a novel way to spend Christmas and New Year and avoid all the hype that can be attached to buying and preparing expensive food and indulging in the giving of unwanted ... Read More
We sailed on the Noordam in Cabin SS6109 ( a Signature Suite) as a novel way to spend Christmas and New Year and avoid all the hype that can be attached to buying and preparing expensive food and indulging in the giving of unwanted presents. It could not have been much better. The small suite is quite spacious with a remarkable amount of storage and a very comfortable cabin and spacious bathroom. The shower could have been bigger but I have yet to find one a cruise ship that is big enough to suit me. I also think it is about time that shower curtains were replaced with b-fold doors. The balcony was large with enough space for four people in comfort. Cabin staff were very attentive and met all our wishes with a smile and professional service. The food was five-star. We opted for a late-sitting in the main dining room with a dedicated booking for two. The food and wine waiters were first class. The range of food was remarkable and we never found selecting a fine dining experience difficult. We opted to pay extra for one night $29 more), a lunch in the Pinnacle Grill and another in the same venue for The Cirque ($49). None was really necessary as the food in the restaurant for evenings and in the Lido (mainly buffet) were excellent. The only surprise in this department was in the Caneletto ($10 surcharge) for Italian fare which was very special. We tried to book another night but it was booked out. The ship was full but there was plenty of space most of the time. Entertainment was a bit ho-hum although a couple of specialty acts turned out to be better than expected. Drinks can be expensive although we shared a bottle of wine over two nights. Ou before dinner drinks comprised a litre bottle of gin and three splits for around $40. Excellent value. Of course, this is a ship which uses $US and insists on standard gratuities in US Dollars. When translated into Australian currency it can be pricey. We did not undertake any of the Holland America tours. We mostly had visited the ports of call previously and were happy to our own thing. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Our 7th cruise but the first with Holland America. We normally book a balcony room but as the choice was so limited when we booked we went for an ocean view and were very happy with the cabin. The bed was the comfiest we have had on any ... Read More
Our 7th cruise but the first with Holland America. We normally book a balcony room but as the choice was so limited when we booked we went for an ocean view and were very happy with the cabin. The bed was the comfiest we have had on any cruise , the bathroom layout was very good with both a bath and shower and the window was much larger than expected. The room was at the very front on the bow so we had the wonderful view of the ship going forward, if you are tend to suffer from motion sickness i would say this room would be one to avoid though as it did get a bit rocky on a few occasions , for this reason we did not spend as much time in the cabin as we would usually do. There was a door near our room to allow access to the small balcony on the bow and i was concerned that people would be out there looking in our window , i was told by the cabin steward that it was only very rarely unlocked and the window was made so you could see out but no one could see in. As it happened they opened the door to hose it down while we were in a port and they allowed us to have a look so i can confim all you see is your own reflection when looking in from outside. But It was never unlocked again any way. We enjoyed the food in both the dining room and the Lido buffet, the Lido was set out really well with staff serving everything so not the usual free for all grabbing that we have experienced on other ships. Some passengers said the entertainment was poor but we were surprised to hear this as we were out every night till very late and there was always somewhere to go and some entertainment going on, we loved having a few drinks listening to the piano man then spending some time in the BB King bar or the crows nest and there were plenty other bars a casino plus a show every night in the Theatre. There were movies shows to go to , sports bar with big TV screens and a classical music Duo which was always well attended. For the very late nighter's there was a small nightclub styled bar as well . The Ports of call were very good and there were plenty of tours to choose from though we did think they were over priced and mainly did our own thing . We thought the organisation on and off the ship was great and everything went very smoothly for us. We are looking forward to going back on the Noordam or trying another HA ship. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
This was our seventh cruise on HAL but our first on the Noordam and certainly our longest at 39 days. We thoroughly enjoyed it, which is why we keep coming back to HAL, but are concerned that the cutbacks in service are continuing. At ... Read More
This was our seventh cruise on HAL but our first on the Noordam and certainly our longest at 39 days. We thoroughly enjoyed it, which is why we keep coming back to HAL, but are concerned that the cutbacks in service are continuing. At some point we pray that HAL will stop cutting back and maintain the quality that we have come to expect. We experienced the first cutback just after boarding the ship in Vancouver when we we told that there was no longer an embarkation lunch for Mariners, but a "welcome reception" at 2pm in the Crow's Nest. Since we hate eating in the Lido, we sorely missed the leisurely delight of lunch in the dining room. Sorry HAL, a glass of cheap champagne is no substitute! When we raised the issue with HAL staff, we were told that the embarkation lunch is offered at the discretion of the captain. Well I'm sorry Captain Draper, but the embarkation lunch is clearly dbescribed as a Mariner perk on the HAL web site. Perhaps the Mariner Rewards table should be updated to say "Embarkation lunch depends on the Captain"? Since we cruised last year, the dinner menu has been reformatted to suggest three courses instead of four by lumping the "soup & salads" and "appetizers" all into one group of starters. Most people still ordered two first courses, but the new format is clearly designed to encourage cruisers to order only one item. Access to Internet is a necessity for most people these days. Sadly, the on-board internet continues to be frustratingly slow and overpriced. HAL could easily charge by the MB downloaded, but instead continues to charge by the minute. US$275 for 500 mins is more than many people pay for six months of high speed internet back home. Yes, we know it's via satellite and that's more expensive, but to watch the minutes go by whilst watching a rotating icon is cruel and unusual punishment. At least do what Princess does and offer free minutes to higher star Mariners. Well, having got the above gripes out the way, I won't bore you with a list of everything that HAL does well (the food, the service, the entertainment). After all, that's why we keep coming back and give this wonderful cruise a four star rating. Special mention goes to Alan Wright, a retired professional astronomer, who gave some of the best lectures we have seen onboard, and to the on-location teams who gave us a taste of Hawaiian and Maori culture. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
This was our first cruise with Holland America, and we were not disappointed. We flew to Honolulu and sailed back to Sydney, a 15 night segment of a longer cruise. There were lots of sea days on this sector which is what we wanted to ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Holland America, and we were not disappointed. We flew to Honolulu and sailed back to Sydney, a 15 night segment of a longer cruise. There were lots of sea days on this sector which is what we wanted to just kick back and relax. If you are looking for a party this is probably not the ship for you as the average passenger age was probably 55-60+, which is also our demographic so it suited us. Initially we had booked a verandah cabin that was next to the glass elevators. Thankfully I saw a video online showing that anyone on the elevator would have full view of our verandah. As we spend a lot of time out there, we opted to change to a SY Suite (8047). That was a good move,and I doubt we will ever go back to a smaller cabin again. The ship is kept immaculate by very hard working and pleasant crew, who have a strong customer service ethic. Some reviews suggest the interior is dated, but we found it very comfortable and elegant. The public spaces are numerous and varied, and there are many interesting items on display around the ship. The library was particularly impressive with a vast array of material, a resident librarian, and a cafe. Internet connection however, is slow and expensive: avoid if possible. We did find the temperature in the public areas a bit warm, and a lot of passengers were complaining of inadequate air con in cabins. Ours was fine, but we had it constantly on the coldest setting. We had preordered wine and spirits for both the cabin and the dining room, and prebooked dinner in the Pinnacle Grill and Le Cirque. All services were delivered exactly as requested with no hassle. The Pinnacle Grill is worth the small surcharge, but we were extremely disappointed with Le Cirque and would not recommend that. However, the Master Chefs Table is worth the additional charge for a special treat. We were pleased with the Vista Dining room, which had a constantly changing menu for dinner. We had free time dining and had to wait a short while for a table on only 2 occasions. Food was always well cooked and arrived hot. The buffet is also very pleasant, with plenty of choice and chefs on hand to plate your food. Room service also gets a thumbs up from us. The Lido snack bar, BBQ, fruit buffet and more, all helped to add variety and interest to the dining options. It is impossible to go hungry! Overall, dining gets an 8.5/10 from us. A variety of evening entertainment was on offer, everything from classical music recitals, to piano bar and the Vista Lounge shows. There was sufficient to keep you occupied although none was a stand out for us. Similarly, there were lots of activities on offer during the day, and effort went into providing variety. We enjoyed the daily presentations of the guest speakers, and the Digital Workshop. We also participated in the on board fundraising walk for cancer organisations . Happy hour in the Crows Nest became part of our routine to watch the sunset and catch up with fellow cruisers. This was our first time on Holland America and we would definitely cruise with them again. Read Less
Noordam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.8
Family 2.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.6
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 3.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.3

Find a Noordam Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise