Our itinerary: 26-day Vancouver to Sydney, Oct. 13 to Nov. 9, 2019 We visited three ports in Hawaii, one in American Samoa, three in Fiji and three in New Caledonia. We explored Van Dusen Botanic Garden in Vancouver before the cruise. The gardens were gorgeous in mid-October and their were few people, giving us quiet time in many areas. There were still lots of flowers blooming with the added beauty of leaves changing color. Highly recommended. Being 4-star, we breezed right through embarkation. We chose the last group for disembarkation, got off the ship about 9:45 a.m. and waited in a very long taxi line to get a ride to our motel. I recommend you plan on 45 minutes to get a taxi if your ship disembarks at White Bay Cruise Terminal. The taxi's were there, they kept coming, but there was a long line of cruisers needing rides. We spent 4 days in Sydney before flying back to the US. The Noordam had just come out of a two-week dry dock. She had new carpet in the common areas, new flat screen TVs in the staterooms and seemed fresh and clean. I heard that the higher-class staterooms and suites had more updates, but our cabin, 4072, a partially-obstructed on Deck 4, didn't have any other updates except the TV. A slight problem was that the thermostat was a little off. On the same setting of the control, sometimes it was too hot, sometimes too cold. If we moved the dial slightly, the temperature adjusted to normal, so it was no big deal. Sometimes a worker would be outside the window working on the equipment out there; just beware if you have the curtain open. New friends had a room down the hall, 4092, and outside their window were the tenders used in getting to shore. They said that when the ship anchored at tender ports, it was noisy early in the mornings as the lifeboats were lowered to the sea. Speaking of the TV, there were numerous movies available on demand with enough variety to please anyone's taste. There were so many movies that you could probably spend all your time in the stateroom watching movies and not see them all, even on a 26-day cruise. In a change from all of our other cruises, we ate most of our dinners in the Lido instead of the dining room. It was nice to get in and get out in about 30 minutes in the Lido instead of the two-hour meal in the dining room. I missed the variety of the dining room after a while, though, and so went back ocassionally. Both had good food. Advantages of eating in the Lido for dinner: we didn't gain as much weight and our ankles didn't swell up like they have on most cruises. I read the food is more salted in the main dining room which may be the reason for swollen ankles. We ate breakfast in the Lido always. There was plenty of variety and it was all good. Lunches were either in the Lido, Taco Bar or Dive In, all were good. There were some good entertainers and some great entertainers on the Main Stage, from comedians to singers to mind reading/mystic stuff, something for everyone. There were two interesting lecture series, one speaker talked about astronomy, one about history of the South Pacific area. On the trip over from Vancouver to Honolulu, passengers could learn the hula and those that did put on a show in the Main Stage before we docked in Hawaii. America's Test Kitchen did regular demos, a duo of pianists entertained at Billboard Online (fun!), BB King's was rocking most nights and there were regular performances of classical music at Lincoln Center Stage. I don't think the Northern Lights was used much. I only saw people there once, when we participated in a ship's Bar Crawl one night. All the HAL ships have a crew of singers and dancers. I typically skip those shows on the Main Stage. Not this trip! After their first show, when everyone said how much they enjoyed the show, I gave it a try. They really are the best singers and dancers I've seen of all troupes in the HAL fleet. Same with the crew shows, the Indonesian and the Filipino Crew shows were outstanding! Don't miss them. There were bingo games. I played once. We played trivia twice a day on sea days and once on port days. Pins to the winning teams had either South Pacific or Australia/New Zealand themes. Our team won some of each, enough that my DH and I had extras to give away to our friends at the Crow's Nest Happy Hour. Our only complaint on the whole cruise was that Trivia at Billboard Onboard and Happy Hour in the Crow's Nest were at the same time. We had to sacrifice and only have a half-hour happy hour after rushing to the Crow's Nest after Trivia. (Life is so hard!) Service was great everywhere. Our room attendants couldn't have done a better job and we found some favorite bartenders and Lido servers. Captain John Scott had the passenger's best interest in mind and showed it when we had to make two detours to get ill passengers to medical care on shore. I had some favorite ports, and enjoyed all the ports we stopped at. We had never been to the South Pacific and liked it immensely. Shore Excursion choices from HAL were plentiful, and if those didn't please you, there were plenty of options on shore on your own. The 14-hour flight home from Sydney to Colorado was a bear. For that reason, I'm not certain I would do it again. Definitly enjoyed the cruise though!

A Dream of a Cruise

Noordam Cruise Review by Iris5383

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2019
  • Destination: South Pacific
  • Cabin Type: Large Outside Stateroom (partial sea views)
Our itinerary: 26-day Vancouver to Sydney, Oct. 13 to Nov. 9, 2019

We visited three ports in Hawaii, one in American Samoa, three in Fiji and three in New Caledonia.

We explored Van Dusen Botanic Garden in Vancouver before the cruise. The gardens were gorgeous in mid-October and their were few people, giving us quiet time in many areas. There were still lots of flowers blooming with the added beauty of leaves changing color. Highly recommended.

Being 4-star, we breezed right through embarkation. We chose the last group for disembarkation, got off the ship about 9:45 a.m. and waited in a very long taxi line to get a ride to our motel. I recommend you plan on 45 minutes to get a taxi if your ship disembarks at White Bay Cruise Terminal. The taxi's were there, they kept coming, but there was a long line of cruisers needing rides. We spent 4 days in Sydney before flying back to the US.

The Noordam had just come out of a two-week dry dock. She had new carpet in the common areas, new flat screen TVs in the staterooms and seemed fresh and clean. I heard that the higher-class staterooms and suites had more updates, but our cabin, 4072, a partially-obstructed on Deck 4, didn't have any other updates except the TV. A slight problem was that the thermostat was a little off. On the same setting of the control, sometimes it was too hot, sometimes too cold. If we moved the dial slightly, the temperature adjusted to normal, so it was no big deal. Sometimes a worker would be outside the window working on the equipment out there; just beware if you have the curtain open. New friends had a room down the hall, 4092, and outside their window were the tenders used in getting to shore. They said that when the ship anchored at tender ports, it was noisy early in the mornings as the lifeboats were lowered to the sea.

Speaking of the TV, there were numerous movies available on demand with enough variety to please anyone's taste. There were so many movies that you could probably spend all your time in the stateroom watching movies and not see them all, even on a 26-day cruise.

In a change from all of our other cruises, we ate most of our dinners in the Lido instead of the dining room. It was nice to get in and get out in about 30 minutes in the Lido instead of the two-hour meal in the dining room. I missed the variety of the dining room after a while, though, and so went back ocassionally. Both had good food. Advantages of eating in the Lido for dinner: we didn't gain as much weight and our ankles didn't swell up like they have on most cruises. I read the food is more salted in the main dining room which may be the reason for swollen ankles. We ate breakfast in the Lido always. There was plenty of variety and it was all good. Lunches were either in the Lido, Taco Bar or Dive In, all were good.

There were some good entertainers and some great entertainers on the Main Stage, from comedians to singers to mind reading/mystic stuff, something for everyone. There were two interesting lecture series, one speaker talked about astronomy, one about history of the South Pacific area. On the trip over from Vancouver to Honolulu, passengers could learn the hula and those that did put on a show in the Main Stage before we docked in Hawaii. America's Test Kitchen did regular demos, a duo of pianists entertained at Billboard Online (fun!), BB King's was rocking most nights and there were regular performances of classical music at Lincoln Center Stage. I don't think the Northern Lights was used much. I only saw people there once, when we participated in a ship's Bar Crawl one night.

All the HAL ships have a crew of singers and dancers. I typically skip those shows on the Main Stage. Not this trip! After their first show, when everyone said how much they enjoyed the show, I gave it a try. They really are the best singers and dancers I've seen of all troupes in the HAL fleet. Same with the crew shows, the Indonesian and the Filipino Crew shows were outstanding! Don't miss them.

There were bingo games. I played once. We played trivia twice a day on sea days and once on port days. Pins to the winning teams had either South Pacific or Australia/New Zealand themes. Our team won some of each, enough that my DH and I had extras to give away to our friends at the Crow's Nest Happy Hour. Our only complaint on the whole cruise was that Trivia at Billboard Onboard and Happy Hour in the Crow's Nest were at the same time. We had to sacrifice and only have a half-hour happy hour after rushing to the Crow's Nest after Trivia. (Life is so hard!)

Service was great everywhere. Our room attendants couldn't have done a better job and we found some favorite bartenders and Lido servers. Captain John Scott had the passenger's best interest in mind and showed it when we had to make two detours to get ill passengers to medical care on shore.

I had some favorite ports, and enjoyed all the ports we stopped at. We had never been to the South Pacific and liked it immensely. Shore Excursion choices from HAL were plentiful, and if those didn't please you, there were plenty of options on shore on your own.

The 14-hour flight home from Sydney to Colorado was a bear. For that reason, I'm not certain I would do it again. Definitly enjoyed the cruise though!
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Cabin Review

Large Outside Stateroom (partial sea views)
Cabin G
Midway between mid-ship and aft elevators, comfortable, good value for the cruise fare.
Upper Promenade Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins