17 Holland America Noordam Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Australia & New Zealand

We chose this cruise on the basis of previous happy cruises with HAL, a total of some eighty (80) days on Volendam x 2 , Westerdam and Konigsdam. The service, entertainment, and especially the food on those cruises were pivotal factors in ... Read More
We chose this cruise on the basis of previous happy cruises with HAL, a total of some eighty (80) days on Volendam x 2 , Westerdam and Konigsdam. The service, entertainment, and especially the food on those cruises were pivotal factors in selecting Noordam. We are bitterly disappointed in the Noordam cruise and it’s invisible on board management. I shall be writing to HAL CEO, Stein Kruse seeking an apology. Some points:- We ate in Pinnacle for the Sal de Mer. The food was cold and the steak inedible. Dining room fare was inevitably cold and the menus were very limited. One starter was sweetbreads on apple tarte tatin! Lido experiences were similarly mediocre, one toasted bagel was mouldy and it seems that few of the kitchen brigade can cook pasta. In room dining was haphazard. The ”special” lunch with the Captain was brunch served from 11AM ‘til Noon sharp. The duelling pianists and BB King band were very good but why have a solo harpist in the main theatre? The cruise director was rarely seen. Guest Services (sic) were palpably not interested in assisting passengers HAL Club staff were rude and indifferent to our concerns for the OH&S of children. Dress codes were never enforced -shorts, t shirts and sandals on gala nights! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We we chose this trip because the dates fit perfectly. the price seemed justfiedbut then on bord, the cheapest wine 9 $ the cocktail 10$ always +15% Service. The The wine in the glas was manageable and the alcohol in the Cocktails barely ... Read More
We we chose this trip because the dates fit perfectly. the price seemed justfiedbut then on bord, the cheapest wine 9 $ the cocktail 10$ always +15% Service. The The wine in the glas was manageable and the alcohol in the Cocktails barely noticeable. None of the tours offered by HAL was acceptable. For a Train ride in Port Chambers charges HAL 390 $, when booking direktly in the station, the same trip was 130 NZD. The dinner in the main restaurant was boring and the portions were manageable. After a short time, we found, that the quality in the buffet restaurant was excellent, and we had the chance to create our dinner by ourselves. Compared to Azamara Cruises the main restaurant was a disappointment. Excellent was the Pinnacle Grill. Really,really good on board of the noordam are the staffs. Everyone was friendly and nice. always trying to make the trip as pleasant as possible. The size of the cabin was ok, the balcony furniture old and histotic. The bathroom was ok, but it is impossible to have a bathtube there. Passengers with an average age of over 60 years and many mit over 100 kilos weight, are not able to take a shower due to the high entry. My wife and I will not have again a cruise with HAL. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We choose this cruise for the itinerary, which we loved. The Noordam is an older ship but is well designed and in good shape. The cabin decor was a bit dated but the cabin was well equipped and layed out well. The Positives: Room ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the itinerary, which we loved. The Noordam is an older ship but is well designed and in good shape. The cabin decor was a bit dated but the cabin was well equipped and layed out well. The Positives: Room Service was punctual, hot and got our orders right every time. It is a limited menu, but we were happy. Laundry Service was prompt and they did a good job washing folding or hanging the clothes. The unlimited laundry was well worth the price and they even replaced a broken zipper on a pair of jeans at no charge. The Room Attendants did a very good job and the Guest Service desk was helpful. Embarkation and Disembarkation were both easy. The team did a good job rerouting the ship to Burnie, Tasmania when it could not visit Eden due to the bushfires. The Negatives: The service in the Main Dining room was terrible. We experienced long waits for service, missing food, not getting what was ordered and a couple of servers with poor attitudes. We signed up for freestyle dining, which may have been part of the reason. HAL has not figured out how to properly service diners who are out of phase with the fixed meal times even though they tout this option's flexibility. Lido service simply did not exist. Sell baby, sell. There is a constant pressure to buy stuff you don't want or need. At the extreme this included books for making the towel animals and the history of HAL book but it permeates through all activities aboard, The internet service was terrible. The onboard execution for activities and shows was lacking, There was never enough space for the people who wanted to attend trivia, Lincoln Center Stage or other events. The Planet Earth II show would have been great but they set up the musicians in the way of the incredibly beautiful imagery. So, instead of seeing the exotic wildlife footage, we looked at the guitar player. The onboard talent was not good, but the outside talent was enjoyable. In general, there were not enough activities for the four sea days. If the weather had been better, that may not have been an issue. Shuffleboard did not work, due to the condition of the deck the discs would not slide. I still don't get the whole EXC thing. It seems like marketing/branding without any real content. This trip needed an onboard naturalist and someone who could add knowledge about the ports visited, These are all really easily solved things that an attention to detail can easily remedy; but, unfortunately, all of HAL's attention seems to be on the bottom line. We did not do any ship excursions but found great private excursions in advance. We stayed at the Auckland Hilton pre-cruise and highly recommend that hotel. After the cruise we stayed at the West (Hilton Curio Colllection) in Sydney which was also very nice, albeit not being as close to Circular Quay as other options. In summary, if you pick a cruise based on itinerary, HAL's Noordam is a fine choice. If you pick it for the shipboard experience, you can do better with another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We are a family of 5, traveling with 3 daughters in their 20’s. Let me start by saying that we had a nice time on this cruise and it was a good value for the money for a holiday cruise. But there is certainly room for improvement by ... Read More
We are a family of 5, traveling with 3 daughters in their 20’s. Let me start by saying that we had a nice time on this cruise and it was a good value for the money for a holiday cruise. But there is certainly room for improvement by HAL. First the high points. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the crew. They work incredibly hard, always with smiles on their faces. A special mention goes to Yohannes, one of the maitre d’s in the Main Dining Room. Two of our daughters are vegetarians and Yohannes,along with our waiter Suarta, worked to make sure that they had plenty of choices for dinner. While the daily menus have vegetarian options, there are special vegetarian and Indian menus from which orders can be placed the evening before. Yohannes even worked on special requests for our daughters. The quality of the food overall is a step above similar cruise lines we have been on, but the choices were limited and repetitive in the Main Dining Room. The Lido Buffet is very good for breakfast and lunch with nice choices. We really enjoyed the Dive In Grill by the pool. The Pinnacle Grill is wonderful, but the upcharge was $39 pp. I am glad we splurged on that for one evening, and wish we had gone another evening as well (there is a slightly reduced price for a package of 2 dinners pp). Also, thank you to HAL for having a Catholic priest onboard to celebrate Mass daily. Father Joe was great. We would not have been on this cruise over Christmas without the opportunity to attend Mass. Now the areas for real improvement. There were very limited activities on this cruise, especially considering there were 5 sea days (one was cruising the Milford Sound and other fiords). On another HAL cruise, there was the America Test Kitchen with cooking demonstrations. There was nothing like that here. Also, on the other HAL cruise, there was someone talking about the birds and wildlife we were seeing. There were no talks given about that either, other than the day through the fiords. ( There were whales and dolphins that could be seen from the ship several times but there was not even an announcement about that.). Our biggest criticism was the limited information given about the ports. The cruise director did not do any reviews each night about what to expect the next day, and certainly no in-depth talks daily. I did find a port talk listed on the first night about the North Island of NZ, but it was scheduled during our dinner! There was a port talk on Tasmania on one of the sea days, and at least that gave us some information. Usually on other cruises we could go to the TV each morning to find the cruise director talking about the ports, but we never found that on this cruise — only information on ship excursions which were on the expensive side. As one prior review mentioned, the cruise director was missing in action when it came to important port information! And he certainly did not spend any time planning activities for the guests! Believe me, this was a constant discussion among all of the other passengers we met. Also, as pointed out by others, it appears that HAL has cut down on the number of servers in the Main Dining Room. These waiters worked incredibly hard carrying huge trays and actually running back and forth to serve their guests, but I believe that there is a failure by HAL to staff properly in order to provide reasonable waits in the Main Dining Room — both for dinner and breakfast. The evening entertainment certainly did not cater to an audience of all ages over the holiday season. The ship’s own singers and dancers are good, but the other entertainers were meant for a much older crowd — for example, a night of music from the 50s and 60s. And we did not understand the guy with his spinning tops. Having said that, the ports on this cruise gave us a good overview of New Zealand and at least a chance to visit Tasmania and Sydney. Our stop in Eden was cancelled due to the fires in Australia, so HAL worked to add a day in Burnie, Tasmania. Thank you to HAL for making that happen and a special thank you to the mayor, deputy mayor and volunteers in Burnie who came out to greet the ship and help organize tours for us with one day’s notice. This cruise was a very good way for our family to get at least a taste of this beautiful part of the world. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We have been on many cruises before this one and by far this was our worst cruise every by a country mile. Embarkation was quick and efficient and on the ship in no time ( which turned out to be the best part of the cruise) The ship ... Read More
We have been on many cruises before this one and by far this was our worst cruise every by a country mile. Embarkation was quick and efficient and on the ship in no time ( which turned out to be the best part of the cruise) The ship is in need of some desperate overhaul as it is looking very old and run down. Their was no sail away party on any deck, only soft music which no one could hear on the back Lido deck. The bar staff on the Lido deck were outstanding and made the cruise a little more enjoyable with their outstanding service. ( maybe other staff members could look at them and learn something) Many thanks to Edwin,Leonard and Ed for their outstanding service. Lido restaurant was very blend with their food night after night. Same food just with different names often Luke warm served on very hot plates. My wife had a good talk with the Lido management one night about having different theme night for dinner EG Asian,Indian,Australian international type dinners. To the managers credit they did do Asian theme for one night only then went back to the old ways. The only entertainment on the back Lido deck was a music trivia every afternoon. A band playing music would have been a lot better. We had nothing but trouble with our cruise accounts being blocked by the front desk day after day, and we weren’t they only ones with this issue Maybe when HAL travel in Australian waters in the future the should accommodate fit the Australian market a bit more as 80% of guests are either AUS or NZ. best advertising in by mouth for any business and myself and my wife and other guests will not be doing any advertising. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Unfortunately, HAL has gone downhill in our opinion. We haven't cruised with them for a few years due to dates and prices, so were expecting similar experiences that we had before. The ship itself is kept extremely clean and ... Read More
Unfortunately, HAL has gone downhill in our opinion. We haven't cruised with them for a few years due to dates and prices, so were expecting similar experiences that we had before. The ship itself is kept extremely clean and the staff are wonderful. The main issues were the food, entertainment and the Loft (lack of). Firstly, the food in the main dining room for the first few days of the cruises was very uninspiring. It was hard to find something to eat. The food did improve. Cannot fault the wait, wine and front of restaurant staff, they were very friendly and always smiling. The entertainment was very poor, the entertainment that did come on to the ship were very good (in particular Patrick McMahon) but there wasn't enough. In one week they had two guest artists that played individually and then together one night. Also, on two nights they should movies. We don't get the chance to see live entertainment much because of children so in the past the cruise night time entertainment was something to look forward to. There is BB Kings that play 3 times a night. They are good but unfortunately both singers got sick at the end of the cruise so they weren't able to sing and the head office wouldn't let anyone else stand in for them. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
When we booked the cruise we were unaware that our departure was from the White Bay Cruise Terminal. Only good point was you sail right under the Harbour Bridge. On the back deck when leaving Sydney, the atmosphere was very lack luster, no ... Read More
When we booked the cruise we were unaware that our departure was from the White Bay Cruise Terminal. Only good point was you sail right under the Harbour Bridge. On the back deck when leaving Sydney, the atmosphere was very lack luster, no music to signal the start of the journey, although there were drinks available, you had to guess if they were alcoholic or not. There was no photographer taking photos for international tourists to capture the harbour sights either. The ship is in urgent need of upgrade and looks tired and dated. It is due for a refit towards the end of the year - this is only internal. There were issues with the airconditioner being cold, so they ran the ship on four generators to warm it up and when the swell got bigger, turned the fifth generator back on. When running on the lesser generators they also experienced electrical and power issues. Food in the Lido Market was below par and what was there for lunch appeared at dinner with a different name. We asked what the temperature of the food bays were set at and the reply " I don't know it isn't my area". I had yoghurt for breakfast and could almost pour it into a cup to drink. The desserts were in this same fridge and were never at the correct temperature. The meals from the hot bays were luke warm, the plates on the other hand were extremely hot and at times unsafe to carry back to the table unless you brought your napkin. The serving staff were hit and miss with personality.Our cabin was a verandah and adequate for the two of us and our stewards who cleaned it daily were accommodating and . The entertainment we found to be enjoyable and the people we met also had mixed views about the staff and overall appearance of the ship. We had 4 shore excursions - Port Arthur, Hobart, Adelaide and Kangaroo Island. As these are all in US dollars research if there are companies that provide similar tours that can be booked from Australia to avoid the exchange rates. We enjoyed all our tours and only had one bad experience when in Kangaroo Island. Our 9 hour tour was uncomfortable as the airconditioning on the bus packed in 45 minutes into the tour and there were no other coaches available. The temperature inside the bus got to around 38 degress. The driver attempted to do all he could to make the best out of the situation, but by the end all us passengers couldn't wait to get of the coach and board the ship and get cold drinks. When we complained we were advised we would received a 15%refund that only equated to $60 dollars from a tour that was more than $300 USD. Should have pushed for a full refund. The only port where we felt welcomed was in South Australia were there was a bush band singing at arrivals and volunteers waiting to direct us to the buses, taxis or train to the city. The disembarkation at the ports was well managed and even the days we needed to use the tender boats. As I have used HAL prior, I was looking forward to sharing the experience with my son for his first cruise. Overall, regardless of the flaws mentioned, we had a relaxing time, but next time we cruise, will look at another company to compare the service and atmosphere. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
As this was a special occasion, we spared no expense and booked a Neptune Suite with large aft wrap around balcony. Expectations were high, more so as we have cruised extensively before and enjoyed our Cunard and Celebrity cruises ... Read More
As this was a special occasion, we spared no expense and booked a Neptune Suite with large aft wrap around balcony. Expectations were high, more so as we have cruised extensively before and enjoyed our Cunard and Celebrity cruises immensely. The trip started positively, embarkation was quick and friendly. Things went downhill from there. Cabin (and ship) decor is very dated and years overdue for a refit. Furniture and fittings are of low quality, and this was especially evident in the bathroom. Main dinning room was mediocre, decor again dated, dark and stuffy. Worst part was the food, despite an effusive menu littered with culinary terms, the food was basic, low quality, dumped on the plate and served lukewarm. We ate there twice and then never returned. Lido dinning was even worse. Very limited choice, mostly pizza and pasta, and poor process for dishing out food, leaving people waiting ages for their order to be filled. Worst was the service times, if you wanted food outside their designated times, only dried up pizza was available. Not a vegetable in sight. At 8.30pm most stations were closed, and I have a picture of staff coming through vacuuming while diners still eating ! By day three, we reverted to eating all meals onshore when in port. On sea days we ate at the Pinnacle Grill, which was excellent, but at an xtra cost of $35 per head each time. Enrichment program was limited and focused on selling stuff. Entertainment stage shows were okay, but cruise director was clearly just coasting and did not bring any energy or interest to the cruise. Officers were rude and uninterested on the rare occasion we saw them or spoke to them. The only redeeming factor was the general staff, who were worked so hard to make up for the inadequacies of the ship, the processs and the lack of leadership. They were without exception, cheerful, helpful and engaging. To all of them, our sincere thanks. Other passengers we spoke to had mixed views, many shared our views, but others were very happy, so maybe it’s a matter of expectations. For us, this was our first experience with HAL and based on this we would not book them again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
BACKGROUND: Took my mom on this cruise. It was #1 on her bucket list to travel to Australia. I’m 50 , she’s 71. We chose this 12 day cruise based on itinerary, not cruise line. It covered South Australia including Tasmania and was ... Read More
BACKGROUND: Took my mom on this cruise. It was #1 on her bucket list to travel to Australia. I’m 50 , she’s 71. We chose this 12 day cruise based on itinerary, not cruise line. It covered South Australia including Tasmania and was round trip from Sydney. I normally cruise on Silversea but have also cruised one time each on RCCL, Paul Gauguin, Celebrity and Azamara. HOTEL: We stayed for 3 days pre cruise at Hotel Intercontinental which is a fantastic location and beautiful hotel. I have been to Sydney 4 times and this was by the best location. Circular Quay really is the heart of Sydney and is the easiest location to venture to other parts of the city. Definitely will stay here again or Marriott which is also right there as well. EMBARKATION: very easy. Porters met us as soon as we exited limo. We went inside, filled out health questionnaire and proceeded to desk to check in., No lines, very nice staff. In a matter of minutes we were on board. FIRST IMPRESSION: I had low expectations honestly . Having read cruise critic before trip and I had googled photos. But much to my dismay, the pictures I had seen actually made it look nicer than it really was. I knew it wouldn’t be modern and shiny like Silversea and Celebrity but was shocked the second I walked on. It was terrible. Ugly dark blue carpeting, with bright red accents and the lighting was literally yellow with ugly brass sculptures and trim. I know this ship was built in 2006 but cant imagine it was even stylish back then. We made our way to deck 6 and as we walked aft to our room , I couldn’t believe how ugly even the hallway was. Ugly wall covering, peeling in most places, cabin doors that looked like cork and ugly blue funky carpeting. My heart sank..The ship is so dated and worn. I know it’s going in to dry dock for a refurbishment in May....but I’m not sure HAL will do enough to make this ship really competitive in the industry. There are so many new ships out there and ships being remodeled, I would think HAL must be losing ground. I noticed when I got home they are advertising a lot and wonder if they are beginning to have trouble filling up ships with all the stiff competition out there. CABIN: See below on cabin review...but we had a Neptune Suite 6177. LOVED LOVED the huge wraparound veranda. DINING: i prepaid 6 specialty restaurants ,,,3 for Pinnacle and 3 for Canaletto. I was happy to find out that we had the same 2 top reserved for the whole cruise in the Main Dining Room . I dont know if that is normal, a suite perk or our travel agent set it up for us, but it was a lovely surprise. I loved the food on this cruise. I thought it was better than Celebrity and not too far off from Silversea. There were lots of choices every night. After eating one night each in Canaletto and Pinnacle, we decided that although very good, I dont think they are worth the upcharge as the MDR was so good and I dont think they were better than the MDR in my opinion, so we canceled the remaining reservations at specialties. We also had very good service in the MDR>. Loved our waiter and asst waiter and we felt the service was quicker in the MDR and a bit slow in Pinnacle and Canaletto. I dont like to linger at the table for hours on end during dinner, so I appreciated the quicker service in the MDR. Every meal I had was good (except room service). The only thing we didnt like at the restaurants was a ginger chocolate cake one night for dessert. Had no flavor, seemed a bit “wet”...just blah. It wa like a major ingredient was left out . We only ate at LIdo Buffet twice as I hate buffets. We did salads for 2 lunches and they were good. LIdo Buffet dining room was always packed and hard to find a place to sit. Decor looked straight out of Golden Girls episode. ROOM SERVICE: Definitelly needs improvement. Without going into detail on each item we ordered....just seemed like it lacked someone doing quality control. Missing or short ingredients in salad, food not to temperature, omelette bathed in butter/oil, only hot milk brought for cereal, Every time we got it, we were disappointed. Fortunately, we had access to Neptune’s Lounge and there are always snacks and sweets there all day long. ENTERTAINMENT: I dont normally like cruise ship entertainment, so i didnt go to any shows , so I cant really comment . I can only say that friends I made on the ship didnt have anything good to say about the shows. SERVICE: Noordam really shined here. Everyone from our cabin stewards, to our waiters, to bartenders etc, were all excellent. Everyone was so nice and friendly and even though it’s a larger ship than what I m used to, i was surprised at how many workers knew my name and used it frequently. The only place where employees werent friendly was Explorations Cafe....I felt like I was in the “soup nazi: episode of Seinfeld. Order quickly then move down counter to collect your coffee and pastry. They didnt smile, didnt seem like they enjoyed their job, seemed annoyed if you didnt know what you wanted right away. OVERALL: It was such a mixed bag of experiences. While I loved the service and the food and the passengers were pretty social (unlike Silversea sometimes). The dreariness of the ship tarnished the experience. I loved the pool aft, big open space and never crowded. I never did the midship pool because it seemed like every time I walked through it, the roof was closed and they were doing some type of sidewalk sale from the shops and there were tons of people clogging up the space and being noisy. I loved that HAL has happy hour from 4-5 and 9-10. The bars were packed and a lot of fun and dare i say a great value for dinks on a ship! I got 2 gin and tonics or old fashioned s for $11 total including gratuity. Celebirty is outrageous...so I was very pleased. SPA: so while i dont do spa treatments on cruise ships as I think they are way too expensive, my mom loves pampering herself and so I encouraged her to enjoy. What I will say is that on day one, we did a tour of the spa and fitness area and was totally turned off/irritated. There was such a hard sell on this ship like I have seen on no other. I dont like when they wont take no for an answer. I had to get pretty curt in order to overcome their hard core selling pressure. My mom did 5 spa services and after the first one , she came back to the cabin with hundreds of dollars of unneeded and overpriced products. She’s very soft and easily influenced and the spa crew definitely knew her number. I was furious...feeling like they take advantage of an older person. GYM: old equipment and too small of a free weight area. PORTS: SYDNEY...MY FAVORITE CITY IN AUSTRALIA...BEEN 4 TIMES, LOVE IT! MELBOURNE: feel like it is overrated. Surprisingly, I didnt care much for it. We did our own thing...lots of locals at port to help with tourism advice. We uber’d Everywhere and it was easy. We did the Royal Botanic Gardens...Amazing!! It’s huge and gorgeous. Probably the best I have done anywhere. Then we went to St Kilda Beach. A great beach town south of town. Beach not as nice as many in Sydney, but clean. The village there has lots of local boutiques, restaurants etc...kind of a funky, hip town. Had a good lunch there in one of the many sidewalk cafes. Then we went to city center for some shopping. Ugh, what a mistake. Felt like just another huge city, with too many cars , people etc....it was claustrophobic....didnt feel like it was unique or interesting. General consensus of my happy hour friends that night was the same....Melbourne was a bit of a disappointment. ADELAIDE: we overnighted here. However, it’s a 45 min train ride into the city, so not as convenient. Train was free that weekend....it isn’t usually, but for whatever reason, that line was free. We loved all the beautiful architecture in Adelaide. It’s a smaller city which I liked and easy to walk. We also did the botanical gardens there which were very nice as well. Shopping is good ...they have a huge pedestrian mall/street there with anything and everything you would want...and lots of restaurants. Seemed to be the hub of the city. . Would definitely go back. PORT LINCOLN: small town of about 15k. Did a ship excursion that gave us a bus tour of the highlights of this fishing village. Then we walked around the town, poked in some shops. Some might not like it since its small and not a lot to do, but i love small towns and enjoyed the slower pace very much! KANGAROO ISLAND: wow....this was probably everyone’s favorite destination. Anyone we talked to , raved about this island. You go here for wildlife. We did a ship excursion..but you could easily do it with a rental car as my friends did. It’s a sparsely populated island and easy to drive around and see the same sights we did on ship tour. Its gorgeous, the seals are amazing, seal lions, koalas, birds , kangaroos etc...it was a very long day, but absolutely stunning and magnicient. PORT ARTHUR TASMANIA: We did a ship tour. It was an eco cruise along the coastline for about 3 hours. It was a wild crazy fun ride. Swells were huge.....but it was such a gorgeous ride. A couple people got seasick...but the rest thought it was exhiliarating! HOBART TASMANIA. We did ship tour here to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. They only gave us 1 hour here which was disappointing. Lots of kangaroos to feed and pet. But lots of other Australian wildlife. This place isi great and no one wanted to leave. Then we went to historic town of Richmond....no tour...just dropped us off the bus and gave us an hour to walk around. Town was boring...even the shopping wasn’t very good. My big purchase there was a Red Bull to keep me awake. Once back to Hobart, we walked over the city. REally cute quaint city...in particular the trendy area of Salamanca....beautiful old buildings turned in to cool restaurants and shops...loved it. DISEMBARKATION ...super easy and quick....took the ship arranged bus to Sydney airport for flight home. We had an amazing vacation and loved our trip, our time together, the food , the amazing new friends I met on the ship...just wish it had been on a beautiful ship where I felt more upscale and special. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We stayed 3 days in Auckland before embarking after our flight from Manila. The embarkation was easy and smooth. the ship docks in the middle of Auckland, so its easy and very cheap to reach by public transportation. Being members of ... Read More
We stayed 3 days in Auckland before embarking after our flight from Manila. The embarkation was easy and smooth. the ship docks in the middle of Auckland, so its easy and very cheap to reach by public transportation. Being members of the European Union we didn't need any Visa or ETA. in New Zealand. The friendliness of the people of New Zealand and Australia has to be mentioned specially. No arrogance or security phobia by the embarkation in Auckland OR disembarkation in Sydney as experienced in an other big English speaking country! The cleanliness on board and on land is remarkable. On board were many citizen of not English countries.We would like to have a little less US american shows and more other main languages oriented activities, even subtitled! The songs of the entertainment group of the ship were purely sung in us american..even if they are of Italian, German or French origin. . The service in the lido by the Filipino cooks and Indonesian waitresses and waiters is remarkable. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
This was the third HAL cruise for me and second for my wife so we knew what to expect. We were travelling with our three young children (1,4 and 6) plus my parents and 11 year old niece so spread across verandah cabins 10004, 10008 and ... Read More
This was the third HAL cruise for me and second for my wife so we knew what to expect. We were travelling with our three young children (1,4 and 6) plus my parents and 11 year old niece so spread across verandah cabins 10004, 10008 and 10010 on the Observation Deck tucked behind the Crows Nest. Embarkation was smooth however the obliging staff who allowed our baby to sleep through the ID photo was offset by the security staff who insisted she be removed from her baby carrier to go through security which resulted in screaming child. We only started cruising with HAL as they were the only line that would allow a baby under 12 months to cruise to New Zealand. Despite their reputation for focussing on senior travellers we found the staff literally fawned on our children and assisted with emergency nappies and nappy bags etc. We had ordered the bubbly package to our cabin and nibbles and these were waiting for us. Our cabins had an incredible view although the only surprise was that the balcony dividers could not be opened as on other cruises we have taken which meant we couldn't connect as planned. But this was a minor inconvenience. Overall we had a fantastic cruise. I've seen a few reviews saying that this ship is old and run-down but nothing could be further from the truth. With three young children running riot we got to see a lot of the ship and despite looking for signs of wear and tear we saw none. Dined in main dinging room several times but generally stuck to LIDO as more relaxing with the family. Dined in the Pinnacle 3 times (4 if you include the special Le Cirque evening) and the staff were only too willing to assist with time and table requests. Ronald the wine waiter was our pick of the Pinnacle staff. We did every single wine tasting offered as well as the whisky , port and champagne tastings. All were excellent although with a few only a handful turned up which was a shame as they were well worth the extra charge. Free Room Service was great and having breakfast in your room felt very indulgent. For entertainment we stuck mostly to the Piano bar. The best of the main shows were the fantastic Éver After show which was a take on fairy tales and Glenn Starr who did a Michael Buble show and a 50s and 60s song night. Highlight for us was that we paid for the Renewal of Vows package online prior to embarking as our 15th Anniversary fell whilst onboard. It was around $160 but worth every sent. Donna from the event team was exceptional and planned everything and there were personal invites for our family members. The package included a cake, nibbles, certificate presented by the captain and dinner in the Pinnacle plus photos. Great value for anyone considering it. We expected a token appearance by Captain Peter Bos but he stayed for an hour chatting to us after the ceremony. There were rose petals on the floor and a towel swan surprise in our room later. The staff in Club HAL (kids club) were great and looked after the three that could attend. Our kids were honestly looking forward to it each time and couldn't wait to go. Talking to another parent of an under 3 year old it is annoying that they can't use the swimming pool (we received a formal written warning in our room on embarkation). I can understand why for the health reasons but try explaining that to a young child who can't join their siblings in the pool). We had a bad experience in the LIDO twice but the way in which floor supervisor AR handled it was impressive. HAL advertises that Pizza and Pasta is open till midnight. So after a great night out early in the cruise we turned up at 1150 one night and 1140 the next hoping for a late snack. Everything was closed both times. The second time it happened we passed AR as we were leaving and told him. He insisted we must be wrong and ran back to check. He went white and was aghast when he realised that they were closed. We told him it was fine and we would get room service. The next day he separately tracked down myself and my wife and apologised with two glasses of complimentary wine. He explained it was due to a new staff member on their first shifts. We did the Chou Chou train in Noumea with HAL (well worth it) and a snorkelling trip in a glass bottomed boat at Port Vila. Both were around $60 each and well worth it. We loved Dravuni Island and Isle of Pines as the beaches were good. WIFI still expensive ($100 for 250mins) but I loved being able to check your account and the days program on your phone/ipad regardless of whether you had internet. However, we didn't get an account under our door like they used to which was strange. Also, for those that have heard rumours that HAL no longer does afternoon tea I can advise that the Noordam did it every day in the Ocean Bar (sometimes hard to get a table). There was however no Royal Dutch High tea. Overall HAL did not disappoint and we'll certainly cruise with them again Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was our 3rd cruise . We have previously cruised on the Disney Fantasy in 2014 and then Royal Caribbean Legend of the seas in 2015 . As we are still quite new to cruising we are keen to explore several cruise lines but we have been ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise . We have previously cruised on the Disney Fantasy in 2014 and then Royal Caribbean Legend of the seas in 2015 . As we are still quite new to cruising we are keen to explore several cruise lines but we have been warned by fellow cruisers already that we started with one of the best cruise lines so everything by comparison is going to be difficult to measure up . The departure was from Sydney and we arrived a couple of days before so that we could explore Sydney and enjoy the lead in time before starting the cruise . The ship left from White Bay terminal which is a little out of the CBD but an easy trip via taxi . The cruise terminal is well laid out . There were plenty of staff to greet you as you turned up at the terminal so we were directed to the bag drop off.which was a breeze but we did get there quite early around 11am so that may have been a factor . The staff at the entrance to the terminal then handed the customs cards and health check forms that we needed to fill out, Once inside the terminal there is plenty of seating and there is also a cafe , we managed to grab a table and had a coffee while we filled out our cards , then it was just a matter of waiting to start the registration process and get our photos taken and ship cards issued . Once commenced the entire process was very quick and painless , the boarding procedure was handled efficiently and before you knew it ,we were on board and exploring the ship and heading up to the Lido Market for lunch . One of the main things I liked about this ship is that it feels spacious enough to easily cater for the approx 2000 passengers , you never felt really crowded . The decor of the ship is looking a little dated , I felt that it was a little over the top but then again I suppose they have to make some grand statements with design to try and get the wow factor . The layout of the ship is quite easy to navigate once you have been on board a couple of days . All of the areas appeared clean and generally in decent condition but there were some signs of repairs and maintenance needing to be done , some of the areas of the carpet were looking somewhat worn , along with the interior of the staterooms that we were in . We stayed on deck 7 , we decided on this deck after reading several reviews of the ship and weighing the likelihood of referred noise from the restaurant, theater or deck 9 where the Lido Market and swimming pool is located . When deciding on your stateroom I think you always need to look at the entire layout of the ship and consider all possibilities of where noise is generated . We were a family of 4 and we stayed across 2 different staterooms . We were unable to get connecting staterooms but we settled on 7103 and 7112 because they were far enough away from the lifts and 7112 was a couple of doors down from a utility room that could have become noisy when staff started accessing it early in the morning . The cabins overall were quite good , they were inside staterooms , this is the first time we have done inside rooms , in the past we have had verandah and sea view , having done this I would always at least have sea view because not having any natural sunlight is not something I found enjoyable . The argument is that you only sleep in your stateroom so why do you need a sea view but there is something natural with your body clock that just makes me feel better if I wake up to sunlight . The size of the rooms was a little on the small size with no real seating other than one chair with a very small table and one stool at the desk area . The wardrobe space is very good and the size of the bathroom was also very good . As with most ships the space under the bed is a great situation for storing those suit cases . The decor of the cabins is a bit ho hum and overall I think the ship is definitely due for a refit . The beds were very comfortable and the pillows also great . quality of the towels when changed was variable , some really soft and luxurious others a bit scratchy and older . The lovely waffle texture robes provided for use during your stay was a nice touch and the beach towels provided during those beach shore excursions also a nice touch. On the evening of 7th Jan I had an issue with stateroom 7112 . There was an extremely loud banging noise which started between 9.30 pm - 10 pm and this continued until 6.45 am on 8th Jan . My son and I tried to get some sleep but it was impossible . I phoned the front desk at 2 am and I was offered earplugs having been told that nothing could be done until an engineer became available which would not be until we arrived at our next port at approx 6.30 in the morning . Now wearing the ear plugs we tried again to get some sleep but to no avail , I ended up getting up and going down to the desk . I was told that we could not be relocated because there was nothing available , the only spare cabin was being used for a medical emergency . There was no engineer available to attend to the issue and I had accepted the offer of earplugs - this made me feel that it was now my fault that because I accepted the earplugs they didn't bother trying to get it fixed . It turns out that several cabins were affected by this noise and it was some problem with a heating pump for the swimming pool . The next day for our port of Dunedin was ruined because my son and I were operating on no sleep . As an apology I was left a bottle of red wine - this was supposed to make up for no sleep for the entire night and a port day ruined due to exhaustion . I took the wine back as I don't drink red wine , I was then offered 2 meals at piccalo cafe - long story short I had to battle to get a small credit put onto my account of just $54.00 which I hardly think makes up for the cabin that was not fit for purpose for 1 night . The TV in the cabin was not great , my husband had a problem with the TV in his room , there were vertical and horizontal lines that made viewing very unpleasant , we phoned to get it seen to and the technician felt that it was fine , we pressed the point and said it was not good until it was finally changed over by a somewhat surly technician . Clearly they don't like being told when something is not up to scratch. We had problems with toilets not working in both of the staterooms and when talking to other passengers , it seemed that this was a persistent problem , again possibly a maintenance issue ? On a plus note the dining experience was for the most part fantastic , the quality and variety of the food was excellent . the Lido Market on deck 9 which is essentially the buffet is really well layed out with duplication of structure both sides . The think what HAL is doing really well here is having greater control over the hygiene of the food . Rather than having an open buffet style layout where people are serving themselves everything , you go to the various stations and say what you want and you get served , for breakfast there are some serve yourself situations for things like croissants , danishes and muffins ,but if you want bagels or toast you get served by someone , if you want omelettes made you pick your ingredients and they make it for you , this means you don't get people touching things with their fingers or sneezing or coughing into a bowl of bacon or eggs . I think the system is really going to cut down on people getting sick. The vista restaurant is very nice and the menu selection quite good although I did not think much of the entrees . There is the Dive In burger and hot dog station which was fantastic , the burgers were amazing and it only takes around 15 minutes for your order to be ready . Explorations care does amazing coffees and frappe's . overall HAL gets a big tick of approval for the food . Out biggest dissapointment on this cruise was the entertainment , there just didn't seem to be enough of it . The Noordam singers and dancers were very good and the shows that they put on were very good although one of the male singers had a much weaker voice than the others but they harmonised well . The guest entertainment was a mixed bag. there were only a couple that were any good . There was a band playing in the Atrium in the late afternoons and Adagio near the explorations cafe in the evenings . BB kings was quite good but after being on board for almost 4 weeks their sets became quite repetitive . This was a real issue for me because we were sold this cruise as being a 27 night cruise but in reality it is 2 cruises back to back so all of the shows from the Noordam singers and dancers that were performed for the NZ leg were then performed again for the Pacific Islands leg . I don't think they have really made maximum use of the atrium area , it would be nice if there was musical entertainment there or near the pool from around 11am . There was a good array of books , puzzles and board games at explorations cafe but this place got very busy , I think this was evidence of a lack of entertainment as well . What was a big negative was that there no real cinema on board , they did show movies in the vista lounge on port days but really there were no current movies being shown . You had your usual fair of trivia quizzes and the dancers did dance lessons in the observation lounge on deck 10 but I get the feeling that the entertainment is operation on a lean budget . The worst effort was the Japanese ventriloquist that was booked , I have never walked out of a show but I walked out of this one , it was absolutely disgusting . Overall the service was pretty good . Our room stewards did a very good job and were friendly and helpful , the bar staff were overall pretty good but a few were a bit surly and grumpy to deal with but some were absolute stars . We felt overall there the ship was operating on lean staff numbers which could be putting those staff that are there under increasing pressure . There were times when public bathrooms had not been cleaned or they were closed due to maintenance problems . The staff at the front desk were less than fun to deal with on occassions. When trying to sort out my issue with the noise problem in my room I was met with almost a robotic response from the staff . I think there is a real problem with their training because they deal with confrontation by having a wooden , distant and non emotional response which then comes across as being arrogant and unfeeling . The ports that we visited were all great and we know NZ quite well so we were well equipped for our various stops , it was very useful to go to the talks about the various stops on the Pacific Island leg of the cruise but we never booked any excursions via the ship because the mark up is ridiculous . One of the things we did have to fork out a bit of money for was the laundry service . for the 27 nights it costs USD 196.00 for unlimited laundry . The quality of the work was wonderful and the clothes arrived back the next day beautifully folded with shirts etc on hangers , this was a great service but again very expensive . The reality is that they keep the cruise fair down to a reasonable cost but boy do you pay for everything else . We paid the USD 12.50 per person, per day gratuities fee even though we did have the option to reduce it because we did not want to penalise the staff that did work very hard even though management decisions on how things are done is damaging the overall experience for the guests . Overall we did have a good time but HAL can do better and I feel that if they want to get return customers , particularly in what is becoming an increasingly competitive market , they need to seriously look at some of the decisions they are making, there is a lot of room for improvement and one of the key areas they need to work on is that customer relationship when things do go wrong. I feel that they need to fairly compensate the guest when they are inconvenienced . I have come away feeling that although, yes I did get the benefit of everything else that the cruise had to offer , what sticks in my mind is how I was treated with the noise problem and the lack of compensation for a cabin not fit for purpose for 1 night . One final note - I think it is fitting for the captain and master of the ship to make announcements as to weather and conditions arrivals and departures along with rules and regulations and by all means remind people about hygiene and wash those hands , however I think it demeans the position for him to act like a salesman and promote going to the casino or spending those last holiday dollars at the shops . You are the captain not the marketing manager . Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose this cruise as it fitted in with our annual company closedown in January each year, when we must take most of our annual holiday leave. The price was great for this peak holiday time in Australia. Both the embarkation and ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it fitted in with our annual company closedown in January each year, when we must take most of our annual holiday leave. The price was great for this peak holiday time in Australia. Both the embarkation and disembarkation processes ran extremely well, no queues All food was fresh and good quality, with the dining room providing gourmet meals each night. We initially asked for extra vegetables with our meal, thereafter a separate plate of steamed vegetables was automatically provided for our table to share each night. Dining room service was excellent. The free food on the swimming pool deck was welcome, we have cruised with other lines three times & always needed to pay for food outside the dining room & cafeteria. In addition, each day a self-serve Mexican food bar was set up on that deck, enabling us to enjoy tacos & nachos - the pulled beef was yummy! WE dined in the Pinnacle Grill for lunch on two occasions. For an extra US$10 per head for three courses plus tea or expresso coffee, this was most worthwhile. The prawn bruschetta (entree) & seafood in tomato broth (main) were highlights. We were each able to take a 750ml bottle of wine aboard on embarkation, which we could drink in our cabin. To take a bottle to the main dining room incurred a corkage fee of US$18. When we visited a wine region in New Zealand, we were each permitted to take a further bottle aboard for use in the dining room, without incurring the corkage fee. A good move by Holland America. The first sitting for dining was at 5.30pm, which meant we sometimes missed dining there due to still being ashore on port days, or missed viewing the ship's departure from ports as we were in the dining room. In hindsight we would choose the later dining option. Our major gripe was with the cost on internet on board the ship, very expensive. Also quite slow according to those who did use it. Accordingly, we waited for port days to use free wifi at local libraries or cafes. However, in NZ this was not always satisfactory as it appears they are still using 3G, at times we were unable to read incoming emails & text messages, & most times could not send emails, although text messages were fine. The entertainment on board was first class, ranging from an in-house band, in-house singers & dancers, to guest comedians, musicians, & singers. There were a variety of classes especially on sea days, including a unique series of computer classes dealing with all aspects of Windows 10, & also several computer Q & A sessions .Everyone found these classes very helpful. Other activities included cooking demonstration, DIY cocktails, galley tour, fitness classes, health & beauty talks, excursion previews, just to name a few. We didn't take any ship organised excursions, mainly due to cost. As we travelled with another couple, we hired cars at two ports to travel further afield, & noticed other groups especially families, did this as well. One excursion I saw advertised privately online prior to the cruise for NZ$50 (Napier town tour 1 hr), yet the ship charged US$69 for exactly the same tour, with the same company, which was double the price (taking into account the exchange rate). This is something cruise ships need to look at closely, to encourage more use of their own shore excursions. For the cost of our cruise, we would definitely sail with Holland America again! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We sailed on the Noordam with our two teenagers leaving Sydney on the 4th January. It was spectacular leaving from White Bay as the ship had to wait for the tide to drop; so we could sail under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It was amazing to ... Read More
We sailed on the Noordam with our two teenagers leaving Sydney on the 4th January. It was spectacular leaving from White Bay as the ship had to wait for the tide to drop; so we could sail under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It was amazing to sail past the iconic Opera house and coastline. The boarding process was very quick, no wait time and staff were friendly and welcoming. We had a balcony cabin 6012 for ourselves and the teenagers had an interior cabin adjacent. The cabins were tiny by comparison to other ships we have been on, however they were extremely clean and our cabin stewards Judtih and Zon were amongst the best we have experienced. Nothing was too much trouble and their service was discreet and helpful. Yes, the decor and the furniture in the cabins is worn never the less, it was still pleasant. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and it did not disappoint. The opportunity to circumnavigate the South and North Islands of New Zealand was one not to be missed. There are only two tender ports Akaroa and Waitangi so exploring on your own without the need of ship shore excursions is possible. Shore excursions were expensive and to be honest if travelling in a family or group car hire is a more affordable option with destinations easy to get to. E.g. Rotarua is an easy 1 hour drive as is Hobbiton nearby. Food on board was quite good. Plenty of variety between the buffet and the dining room. The Pinnacle Grill is worth every cent. We cruise quite often on NCL so I do have to make a comment about the price point of this cruise. In terms of value for money NCL offers a far superior product. Gratuities were extra once on board the Noordam adding a hefty $750 US to the on board bill. By comparison the NCL suite product we access often offers free speciality dining, drinks, reduced guest rates, pre paid gratuities, free shore excursions, free wifi all inclusive. So when we added up our cruise fares, gratuities, drinks, specialty dining etc a penthouse on the NCL would have been cheaper. But they don't offer this itinerary, yet! Overall, we enjoyed the ship. Public areas are clean, staff are friendly (Toni Barillo - pool bar and Casino Bar) was exceptional. Entertainment was disappointing compared to NCL. If booking for the itinerary only you will enjoy it! If you want a 'bang for buck' value cruise this isn't it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Neptune suite was great and he Neptune Lounge is fantastic. No waiting in line at the front desk and terrific concierge help at the Neptune suite. First three/fourths of the trip was great. But at Napier, New Zealand, we broke down. A ... Read More
Neptune suite was great and he Neptune Lounge is fantastic. No waiting in line at the front desk and terrific concierge help at the Neptune suite. First three/fourths of the trip was great. But at Napier, New Zealand, we broke down. A defective thruster. We were supposed to leave Napier at 4:30 PM. That departure time came and went and we stayed there at the dock overnight and NOT ONE WORD from anyone on the ship. Nothing from the captain. The next morning, captain announces the thruster is fixed but we will continue to stay in Napier another day and not depart until 10:30 PM. As a result, he announced we will skip the next two ports of call, which were Bay of Islands and Auckland! Compensation was $100 a person OBC and 20 percent off your next cruise. Concensus among the passengers was that we could have at least stopped at Bay of Islands, since it was a tender port. Next: food on the Lido deck is prepared and individually served, usually by one person. Limited seating. Lines were usually ten to fifteen minutes long, even for toast. Could they not have two people preparing the meals??? Lido food service closed at 8 PM every night. Food in the DR is good but as the trip progressed, there was more and more soup, such as apricot soup, peach coconut soup, mushroom soup, potato soup, parsnip soup, carrot soup, and my favorite-- meatball soup. As the days went on, there was less and less fresh fruit, such as strawberries. At one point, the wine steward charged someone else's drinks to our account. When I pointed this out to the front desk, I was told it had to be investigated (?) I protested and on the spot, the purser took it off the bill. The gym is outdated with old, chipped, rusted equipment and the connection for sound on the tread mills did not work on any of those machines. Gym attendant said it had been reported but no one had tried to fix it. Shore excursions were a little confusing as there was lacking signs on the docks. Otherwise they were very good, altho expensive. Entertainment at night is "fair", with performances by a Chinese accordian player, a ventriloquist and a guitar player. Activities during the day are poor. Only one lecture that did not involve trying to sell us something. There are gatherings everyday for Gays and another separate gathering everyday for LGBT folks. There are digital classes everyday but since the room only holds 28 people, you have to stand in line almost 30 minutes to get a seat. There are also cooking demos. Note that by 9 PM every night, there was almost no one on board. They were all in bed. Even the casino was almost always empty. Our suite was lovely and the cabin attendants were cheerful and very attentive and all the staff is very friendly. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We have just disembarked in Sydney from our 16 night cruise around New Zealand over the 2015 Christmas and new year period. The cruise experience was enjoyable but, having cruised with Holland America in 2010, it just felt that the company ... Read More
We have just disembarked in Sydney from our 16 night cruise around New Zealand over the 2015 Christmas and new year period. The cruise experience was enjoyable but, having cruised with Holland America in 2010, it just felt that the company is cutting corners and is turning every cent. The staff were visibly tired and overworked. The entertainment (yes I know it's not the cruise line with a reputation for great entertainment) was dull and amateurish. That having been said, they sport the BB Kings Band who were simply fabulous but after 16 nights we yearned for something different. Whereas the prices commanded for alcohol were exorbitant, the wines sold on board ranged from average to cheap. Coming from South Africa, we recognized that the South African wines sold at a mark up was at least 75 percent. The cost of the onboard activities (such as gym classes and at the spa) were prohibitive to say the least. And this says nothing about the shore excursions - do the research and you can do the identical tours with far fewer people at a fraction of the price if you organize them locally. The ports were interesting and we enjoyed seeing them from the sea as they are mostly on the shore line save for Christchurch and Rotarua which are inland. Wellington, Picton, Auckland and Sydney are all fabulous destinations whereas Napier, Dunedin, and the bay of islands were also enjoyable stops. The country is very focused on tourism and with the minimum of effort one can plan your activities well in advance. The car rental services mostly met us in the port and most of the ports lay on a free shuttle service In and out of the towns. The entire cruise only had two tender ports - both of them were long but reasonably organized. At every port the New Zealand travel information services -I-site- were fully represented and local tours could be booked independently of the cruise line. Although one can book cheaper tours by going on line, the local tour organizers that met the passengers on shore were able to offer identical tours at a fraction of the price of the shore excursions offered on board. My teenage daughter had a fabulous time - she met lots of new friends and the activities offered were good and the staff fabulous. Unfortunate there were a number of unruly small children on board but that is probably due to the timing of the cruise. The dining was good albeit that the choices were much more limited than on previous cruises. For someone who seldom eats fast food, I can say that the 'dive in' hutch made fabulous burgers. The Christmas and New Years activities centered around large outdoor barbecues which focused on quantity and not quality. I would definitely recommend that anyone who does this cruise researches the activities ahead of time or at the local I-site centers. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Ok - new Zealand was great - except for Akaroa where we were not able to tender because of high winds (do not book a tour called the Mail Run - they do not refund). All other ports were great and interesting. Fiji portion - well if you ... Read More
Ok - new Zealand was great - except for Akaroa where we were not able to tender because of high winds (do not book a tour called the Mail Run - they do not refund). All other ports were great and interesting. Fiji portion - well if you have nothing else to do book it - I would not do it again (remember I am from Canada) the best port on that trip had to be Drauni Island, a small island of about 200, if you look back at the old movies with Fiji in them then this is what you will see. The people made you feel at home and welcomed. Now more on the ship, on the second part the Christmas decorations came up making it more festive nice treat as were heading into Christmas. The Pinical - needs to change their menu basically three items steak and steak and steak (all portions way to big) with a chicken dish and a seafood also think it is getting over prised at $60.00USD. The Vista dinning room all meals good but after a while the deserts were all the same cream in various shapes and forms they need to add texture to the deserts, best I had, had to be the snickers cake, main course all good but to me they need something to kick them up just not sure what presentation of all meals is still very good. Lastly the STAFF - how they can say EXCELLEANT day after day with their friendly smiles I do not know, wish they would share their secret!!! Get to know them you will be surprised! They start to open up a bit, has to be hard away from family for 10 months. Suggest we serve them (obviously can't do all) on some special occasion say a BBQ on the bow. Not sure if that will ever fly but I think it would be great for us and make them feel appreciated too This tour had a fast tour of the kitchen which was a great treat - you can spend a few hundred and get a tour of the workings of the ship, to me this was cheap and tacky (nickel and diming). The second week they also raised the daily tip amount from $11.50 to $12.50 pp yet when we booked it was no mention of an increase (did not argue this point as we felt the staff could use it and it was Christmas too) Also had issue with credits to the Pinical, went to front desk and asked for number of credits and clarification - the number was agreed to - but when the bill came that was not the case, my position in the end was it no longer is what the policy is - you stated this and I booked in good faith on that - in the end they removed the charges. So stick to your guns. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Noordam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.8
Family 2.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.6
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 3.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.3

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