This was our third HAL cruise and the first on the Noordam. It was an relocation cruise of 24 days from Sydney to Vancouver with stops in New Caledonia, Fiji, Vanuata, Pago Pago and Hawaii.
There were numerous seas days but given the on board activities these days went quicker then expected.
The cruise was blessed with good seas throughout and perfect weather except for a steady fog for the days between Hawaii and Vancouver.
When we boarded the Noordam was at the end of its Australian based cruises but despite this the crew were friendly and attentive as if it was the first cruise.
The ports of call, about half of which were tender ports gave us plenty of time to explore and were well organised.
Pluses on the cruise were the Ex tour director Heather who gave talks with an irrelevant sense of humour, the two cruise directors Jan and Isolda whoi made the numerous trivia games heaps of fun.
One big plus that given the number of Australia and New Zealand guests on board the captain arranged for a dawn service on April 25th to commemorate ANZAC Day. This was presided over by Bill Crewes who also gave various interesting talks on the geopolitical aspects of the regions we were visiting. Talks on the geophysical and fossil history of the region were done by Phil Cressey, again very interesting.
The nightly entertainment was varied throughout the cruise with different sets of performers doing different stages of the cruise. Of these Sarah Moir was the most surprising and entertaining.
The food was up to normal HAL standard with lots of variety and it was good to see that a proper salad bar is now an option.
During the cruise we crossed the international date line on my birthday so that I was able to have two birthdays in the same year. My wife shouted me dinner in the Canaletto restaurant were I was presented with a cake and a round of happy birthday by the waiters ,most unexpected as was the card from the Captain and Cruise Director.
All in all it was a very pleasant and relaxing way to cross the Pacific and I would recommend this cruise to anyone with the time to do it.
Nicely appoint room mid ship one deck up from the promenade deck. Close to lifts and next door to the cabins that were allocated to the entertainers on the ship.
The TV was a bit old but who watches that much TV. I understand that at the end of this year the ship will undergo a refit similar to what was done on the sister ship Westerdam.
Our next cruise after this was a follow cruise on the Westerdam to Alaska and we had a similar cabin with improved facilities.
Its my home town. Embarkation went smooth and easy. Would have been nicer if ship was able to dock at Circular Quay instead of White Bay. Being the height of the cruise season ships have to dock where size and space allows.
Nice to sail under the bridge and see the harbour at night
Tender port a beautiful spot with most guests enjoying swimming and snorkelling in the clear pristine waters. A great way to spend a morning.
Did not get off the dock. You had to wade through a horde of taxi and boat drivers bidding to take you from the port to the town.
Took advantage of the free port wifi and spent the day on the ship.
Best to take an organised HAL tour if you want to see the ssights etc.
Nice to be in a big port within walking distance of the town.
Worth a visit for the shopping and food and the friendly people.
A nice slice of island life on this small pristine island.
The island has only just over 300 inhabitants.
The village school is worth a look as is the walk to the islands highest point.
Again swimming and snorkelling are main activities along with local boat rides.