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.

HAL still rocks, but the cutbacks continue.

Noordam Cruise Review by Vobogeck

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2015
  • Destination: South Pacific
  • Cabin Type: Large Outside Stateroom (fully obstructed views)
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.
Vobogeck’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Large Outside Stateroom (fully obstructed views)
Cabin HH 4065
We were very pleased with our cabin, having upgraded at the last minute from an inside cabin. The view was obstructed by a life boat, but we enjoyed good light from a large picture window that was much bigger than you would get in an ocean view room. The room was above the Explorations Cafe and below passenger cabins so we heard no noise apart from when they were working on the lifeboats while in port. Since we were ashore on port days this did not bother us. The sheers over the window are very heavy and provide complete privacy from would-be voyeurs on the promenade deck.
Upper Promenade Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins