A great deal on a two week cruise around NZ came up at a good time so I jumped at it. My first time as solo traveller because my partner couldn't come due to a new job.
I had no expectations about NZ's weather as it is not called the land of the long white (and often raining) cloud for nothing. But the weather and the Noordam turned out to be an absolute delight. Spectacular even. The ship is well loved and at 17 years old has been tastefully refreshed in the public areas. The internal room I had was probably close to original but was immaculate and very comfortable. The crew were lovely and very obviously enjoyed each other's company and their jobs on the ship. It was that camaraderie and a clear teamwork ethic that made the ship feel warm, professional and friendly.
The food was of a high standard and consistent. In the MDR it was well presented, tasted great and was delivered hot. In the buffet it was varied, appealing and hygienically served. The speciality dining was a pleasure at a fair price. The wine offering did not disappoint on any occasion. The bar staff were on the ball especially at the aft pool. My room attendant was lovely and his attention to detail was impeccable. The entertainment crew were talented performers. And some beautiful voices made for memorable evenings and did justice to the music and shows they performed. All of the operations of the ship were smooth and the captain obviously ran a tight ship but had a dry sense of humour and was passionate about his crew. The pre covid days of officers around the ship are sadly behind us though. Noordam rode some 7 metre swells in the Tasman sea and some rough conditions better than I'd expected and I can attest that her stabilisers work well!
I had cabin but due to an issue with a component of the HVAC system making a banging noise I was moved which was identical in size with a slightly different layout. The room was big with a corner sitting area and lots of space. Being low and near the centre of the ship the movement in heavy seas, on the 3 days we had them, was less noticeable. The room was super clean and all the amenities of good quality and everything worked.
Love Hobart. The weather chucked a tantrum in the afternoon but even that was scenic in a way.