Noordam Cruise Review by TimeTravels
- Sail Date: September 2016
- Destination: Transpacific
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
We chose this adventure of a lifetime for the destinations and because we had enjoyed a wonderful 40 night cruise from Southampton to Singapore on ms Rotterdam 18 months previously. A mid ship disabled cabin with a restricted view which was lovely and really easy to move around the ship.
Not only was it a very different ship it felt like we were travelling with a completely different company.
We chose to eat in the Lido most days, the food was acceptable and the young staff really lovely and helpful. Its a great shame some of the passengers from the US had a need to be so rude to them. And they seemed to think it was beneath them to use the supped hand gel !
The Lido, like the rest of the ship had some serious maintenance problems including water leaks which could be experienced at the tables, whilst queuing to be served and whilst trying to walk on the main narrow walkthrough. I fell heavily on a wet floor causing unnecessary pain to my arthritic body. The cane chairs were worn and very scruffy, some had been replaced but ms Noordam really is in need of a major refit.
We tried room service for breakfast on 8 occasions and only twice did we get what we ordered, we tried it for dinner just once and after a microwave burger and cold pasta arrived I had to fetch pizza from the Lido. Really not good. They also tried to charge for a bottle of vodka that we ordered but wasn't delivered.
Entertainment. Oh dear ms Noordam really got that wrong ! During the first show the 'comedian' referred to someone as a "spas", we left the theatre and it didn't really get much better after that. If you wanted a seat it was best to get to the theatre approx 45-60 mins before any show or lecture and take a book ( I actually read 18 during this voyage !) The theatre has restricted viewing from the upper levels and really wasn't big enough for the amount of passengers on board.
On the second sea day from Vancouver I asked the cruise director John what entertainment had been organised for the long sea days leading to and after Hawaii, a total of 10, his reply was "nothing, this is what head office have told us to do"
The last long cruise was filled with quizzes, interesting lectures, art classes, craft classes, dance classes, language classes, music throughout at different venues throughout the day and evening and a cinema, deck games a brilliant library with games and puzzle boards, dancing and happy hour in several bars.
Onboard ms Noordam there was so little to do, in the end we stopped looking at the 'Whats on' for the following day as there was nothing unless you wanted to spend at the highly priced spar, shop, play bingo or visit the casino.
Its such a shame that with a total of 20 sea days that more thought into entertaining the guests wasn't given. It was a cruise that seemed to appeal to an 'older' passenger, the average age approx 70. That being the case then why couldn't the entertainment happen during the day or early evening? BB Kings was something we had been looking forward to, unfortunately we only went twice, same songs, same set list and it started at 8.45pm, by 9.15 the audience were up dancing. Great, except that when the band took a break at 9.30 the audience departed for their beds !!! Why not make the set longer at an earlier time and just 2 performances a night to correspond with the timings of the theatre show ?
All the empty space on the ship and it could and should have been used and enjoyed.
After all the cruise should be all about the passenger experience. Happy and contented passengers will spend and they will cruise again with that line.
We are wanting to visit South America, a must on the bucket list, but although Holland America have many interesting itineraries for that area we are looking at other companies after this experience.
250,000+ people have entered their email
5* no, more like 2*
Issues with the curtain closing in front of the door, in a disabled cabin it should be all about access and unfortunately Holland America have got this wrong !
Also be prepared for a real trek to the Lido or open decks, best to walk past all the cabins to mid ships to avoid the water coming through the electrics on the Lido poole deck which made it an unsafe walkway.
If you get motion sickness this really isn't the cabin for you !!!
Luckily sea sickness tablets are available free from the main desk.
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
ChristchurchWe arrived by tender and could see several small boats offering tours. Eventually it was suggested we used Close to Coast run by Tony Muir.View All 13,770 Christchurch Cruise Port Reviews
We left our walker with the tender staff and had to use a small ladder to reach the boat. With just 12 people the trainee driver Anna and skipper Tony we set off returning after 3 1/2 hours in which we saw penguins, dolphins ( which rode the bow wave !!!) seals other wildlife and scenery and landed a fish !
A small traditional boat, a brilliant skipper, a warm day and we got so close to the shore.
Excellent and worth every penny of the $75 NZ
View Cruise Critic's Christchurch Cruise Port Review
Dravuni IslandA very small Island with a lovely community.View All 42 Dravuni Island Cruise Port Reviews
Tried a very fresh coconut, sat on logs on a white sand beach and experienced a massage.
We thought it should have been coconut oil but it took 3 showers to wash away the odour, more engine oil than coconut perhaps but still a good fun experience !
View Cruise Critic's Dravuni Island Cruise Port Review
Dunedin Train StationWe were dropped at the station as part of the shuttle and city tour and took a train ride on the Seasider to and from the station which was a bit expensive but ok.View All 19 Dunedin Train Station Reviews
We then had fish and chips in the gardens for lunch and then boarded the coach( an almost vintage one !) for a city tour and back to the ship.
Lava Tree State ParkPele Goddess of Fire. After the last tour we had our reservations but it was excellent.View All 6 Lava Tree State Park Reviews
We first stopped at a Macadamia nut factory, interesting and delicious !
Then on to the National Park and the Jagger Museum, then the Thurston Lava tube and then the Sulphur springs.
The Lava tube was a bit steep and slippery but manageable with a walking stick and a great deal of care and a bit of assistance.
The Sulpur Springs were lovely and a wooden walkway made access fairly easy but there were quite a distance from the bus park.
The driver and guide was interesting and informative, a passenger became unwell and we had to wait for a vehicle to take her back to the ship, we didn't miss out on anything, in fact we had a little longer at the museum.
This tour was $59.95 and well worth the money spent.
It is a shame that all Ship Tours couldn't be of this quality for this price.
HobartA pretty town just getting to be very touristy but where the locals visit at weekends.View All 177 Hobart Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Hobart Cruise Port Review
Bonorong Wildlife SanctuaryWe had booked a tour to the Wildlife Sanctuary in the evening but it was cancelled the previous day as with an impending storm the Captain wanted to depart earlier to get ahead of the storm.View All 24 Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary Reviews
I looked online before we left and discovered that the 'season' didn't start until the following week so we were quite stuck with options.
We had to take the only ship tour left, which was very expensive, to include the wildlife sanctuary during the day as other options were sold out and limited in numbers. I checked on the amount of time and each tour was allocated 1 1/4 hours there.
Firstly we stopped at Richmond, interesting and pretty. We chose to go to the Gaol first, a discount for cruise customers and was well worth it. After walking and being driven around we then headed for the wildlife park.
The driver again was good, the guide not so ( where do they get all these retired gentleman from ? ) He didn't know lunch was included on this tour, seemed a little confused generally and when we arrived at the sanctuary said we had an hour !!! It takes us longer to get around so I always check these things first.
The sanctuary was great, a little longer would have been nicer.
Lunch was in the grounds of an art gallery, which personally I would have liked to look around, we were supposed to have been driven around the town also but that didn't happen.
The lunch was a cold meat and cheese platter with pickles and fresh bread and apart from being a bit slow was very nice. The grounds are where the locals go at weekends, so live music in the warm sun made it an ok experience.
Then the wine tasting, not so good again and a glass of wine with the lunch and a chance to wonder around would have been appreciated far more.
Tasmanian Wine TastingReally poor !View All 7 Tasmanian Wine Tasting Reviews
Our local discount German foodstore knocks spots off anything they produce !
Great Island Circle TourThis tour gave us a view to the sights and was pretty interesting. We stopped for an included lunch at the Polynesian Centre which was ok, unfortunately we didn't have enough time to take the tour around the centre itself.View All 27 Great Island Circle Tour Reviews
Pearl HarborBooked this tour with the ship which also included the Arizona Memorial, Punchbowl Memorial and the Mighty Mo. As with any big tour there was a lot of waiting around and not really enough time at the advertised highlights. The Punchbowl Memorial was closed due to a function.View All 187 Pearl Harbor Reviews
We found the film excellent and upsetting, perhaps because of a Japanese mother was laughing with her young son at it throughout!!! The first language displayed was Japanese.
We were sat next to a veteran whose reaction was to gasp for breath.
It was great to see the veterans working so hard to maintain the ship, always helpful and ready to answer questions.
The visitor centre at Pearl Harbour and the access drive to the Mighty Mo were interesting and the Arizona Memorial as powerful as we had expected it to be.
The guide was good if a little off on the timings, a small group would have been a better experience.
Disabled access all good but quite a walk to the visitor centre from the carpark.
Polynesian Cultural CenterPart of the Round the Island Tour, unfortunately time restraints meant lunch and the gift shop only ! A shame.View All 44 Polynesian Cultural Center Reviews
Island DiscoveryAnother island by tender.View All 30 Island Discovery Reviews
We walked up to the village which was a bit steep and booked a tour around the island, unfortunately some very pushy guests from the USA pushed in and we had to wait an hour to depart.
The tour was made in a comfortable mini bus, very French.
We were taken around the island , firstly to a church and eventually to a coral sand beach where we spent 30 mins. Very beautiful.
Not much to see on the island really.
Queen Victoria MarketThis tour was given as a freebie at the time of booking the cruise.View All 2 Queen Victoria Market Reviews
Really enjoyed the Victoria Market and would have like to spent longer there.
Next to the museum, we walked around on our own as the guide, who was pretty grumpy, had walked off at quite a march. It was ok but again not really long enough and full of very noisy children.
Then around the city and then out to the winery.
Probably the worst wine tasting ever ! Vinegar comes to mind.
It was pretty late by then and lunch was included with a glass of wine.
We had to choose from the menu offered prior to arrival and we both opted for lamb, it was ok, not the best and not very warm.
We were seated on long tables, it felt a bit like being in a school dining room but with much older students!
The wine with lunch was very nice though.
The driver was excellent but she was given a difficult time by the guide, he kept repeating himself, onset of dementia maybe ? and bragging about the amount of money he had made on a racehorse.
We tipped the driver as the guide obviously didn't need it !
NapierShuttle bus in a quick wander around and shuttle bus back all within an hour.View All 152 Napier Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Napier Cruise Port Review
Noumea AquariumWe took the shuttle bus to the centre and booked a Hop on Hop off bus and Aquarium pass.View All 21 Noumea Aquarium Reviews
Noumea is French speaking and very French in attitude.
The aquarium was lovely but a sign outside stating that it was funded by the European Union was a bit upsetting and worrying.
The Hop on Hop off bus to be expected but on a coach rather than a bus and everything else seemed to be shut for the day and it was a Saturday, so it was a Wi Fi card from the local cafe and then back to the ship.
A bit disappointing really, something and nothing.
Pago PagoWe boarded a 'chicken bus' and joined the locals ! $2 for both of us and we were on the bus for 3 hours !!View All 57 Pago Pago Cruise Port Reviews
If the bus starts at the bus station it reaches the destination advertised on the front and then returns.
A tourist market on the 'green' in the centre and a free museum near the ship both interesting.
A bit busy in the town as a Costa ship arrived half way through the day.
We enjoyed a McDonalds ! The same world wide.
View Cruise Critic's Pago Pago Cruise Port Review
A Taste of the Queen Charlotte TrackAfter getting the shuttle to the town I joined a group of 6 others for a tour as I was on my own that day. A bit expensive but we did the Queen Charlotte road, Chocolate factory, sheep farm and gallery and the air museum and a snack stop.View All 4 A Taste of the Queen Charlotte Track Reviews
I am glad the others let me join them for a long day of almost 8 hours.
I sat and watched the tide recede rather than the Maori museum before the drive back to the ship.
Port VilaWe took the water taxi into the town, with interesting information given during the journey, but on very small boats which they seemed to want to overfill and getting into them a little slippery and need care especially at the ship.View All 168 Port Vila Cruise Port Reviews
We found a lovely cafe with free Wi Fi and enjoyed a latte and a fruit breakfast which we shared and it was delicious.
After walking around the local market we returned to the ship via the water taxi and walked through the market on the Quayside.
Why are all the products offered made in China just for the tourist market rather than local produce ? There was just one stall that seemed to be selling such items.
There was music from the local musicians nearly all the time we were docked which was quite a treat and the stallholders really enjoyed dancing to them.
View Cruise Critic's Port Vila Cruise Port Review
San DiegoDocked next to the aircraft carrier which was great, we bought tickets for this and a Hop on Hop off trolley bus from the quayside. Be vary of addicts and the homeless begging in the shaded areas. By the time we had finished the aircraft carrier tour we had to wait for the trolley bus which was very busy due to the Costa ship having arrived. We didn't have time to get off at any of the stops as ms Noordam had an early departure. A shame as an overnight stop would have been good.View All 295 San Diego Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's San Diego Cruise Port Review
SuvaThe Ship Shore Excursions boarded buses on the left and other companies sold tours and boarded to the right.View All 13,770 Suva Cruise Port Reviews
We joined a tour from the right hand side, same company as the ship tours for a fraction of the price.
We were shown the city, sights, given the local history, visited the museum and were then taken into the city for a short stop and then back to the ship.
We returned to the city later by foot looking for Wi Fi.
Watch out for pick pockets.
We experienced our first tropical storm.
It rained and rained and rained !
View Cruise Critic's Suva Cruise Port Review
Sydney (Australia)The Costa ship had docked in the centre.View All 684 Sydney (Australia) Cruise Port Reviews
We were miles away !!!
We took the limited shuttle bus to the centre which took 30 mins and then the Hop On Hop off bus around the city and to Bondi beach.
We enjoyed Chinese food in a lovely authentic venue overlooking the water at Bondi and walked along the front for a while.
We then boarded the Hop on Hop off again and returned to the centre for a shuttle back to the ship. The last one was supposed to be at 4.30 but the drivers seemed to think it was 3.30.
It was a shame to be docked so far out, the time constraints were awkward and an overnight stay docked in the centre would have been great and necessary to see anything more than in the 5 hours we had. A great shame, perhaps one less island and an over night instead Holland America ? If Costa can do it ?
To add insult the ship left almost an hour late !!
View Cruise Critic's Sydney (Australia) Cruise Port Review
Hobbiton Movie SetA long way to come to see this and it was enjoyable even though we had a thunderstorm. The guide was very good and not too fast. Lots of photos taken but a bit longer in the Green Dragon would have been appreciated.View All 49 Hobbiton Movie Set Reviews
We would have rated the tour excellent had it not been for the driver who was average, stopped for just 10 mins for a toilet stop and the gift shop on arrival and then wouldn't return to the gift shop after the tour.
Another retired gentleman, perhaps tour company a few more guidelines for your drivers ?
We arrived back an hour earlier than advertised.
Cable carThis was another Freebie tour at the time of booking.View All 30 Cable car Reviews
There were several coaches doing this tour so a long wait at the cable car, the gardens too big to walk around in a limited time but very pretty, lovely views from Mount Victoria but really didn't want to be 'herded ' at the museum which, being a Saturday, was very busy.
We opted for the WW1 exhibition but again a bit to busy to take in and we then found a local McDonalds and strolled along the harbour front watching how the locals enjoy their free time.