5 Holland America Noordam Cruise Reviews for Repositioning Cruises to Australia & New Zealand

I will start with the title of this review. Embark, disembark all OK - most lines have this in the bag. We chose this cruise on Noordam, because we love Vancouver, we wanted to go to Sydney and we love sea days. This cruise bore not ... Read More
I will start with the title of this review. Embark, disembark all OK - most lines have this in the bag. We chose this cruise on Noordam, because we love Vancouver, we wanted to go to Sydney and we love sea days. This cruise bore not the remotest resemblance to our 2 x cruises on Volendam Dec.16 and April 18. Where has the elegance gone? The fresh flowers everywhere? The sophistication? Dancing? Cocktail bars? It's just not possible to be entertained for 26 days, of which 16 were "at sea", with Billboard, BB Kings and Lincoln Centre. The bars are all empty by 2000 hrs, and they do not refill after dinner and shows - there is just nothing to do. There is a limit to how many times you may be introduced to the BB King Band in just one night let alone 26. They perform in 3 x segments every night, and this intro stuff happens in every segment, every night for 26 nights! Well, we lasted 2 x nights and just didn't go back there. The 2 x pianists in Billboard seemed more bored than we were. The performances in the Lincoln Centre are in a closed off room - very serious, stuffy, a room full of people, seated, facing the stage, concentrating on classical music. We love classical music, but you are allowed to talk and laugh aren't you? Not in the Lincoln Centre, I wore a bracelet that jingled and got some serious looks! Paleese, it's a cruise! There is a bar on Deck 1 - next to Guest Relations - how peculiar! Only utilisation over 26 days was cocktail tasting at 1700 - no atmosphere, on a good evening you may hear someone balling out the staff, they are so close. There is a place called Nightlights or some such, between Casino and Theatre side entrance - what happens there? Never saw a soul in there. It's all black! There is a Grand Piano in Ocean Bar, on a dais! Never played - but no worries, the dance floor has been carpeted over. There is a "library" of 30 cruises, most >15 days and we love sea days so it answered those calls but was still boring. There were 2 x lecturers in the fields of Pacific peoples and The Stars - we went to a few, but again after 26 days the variety just was not there. Enough, something positive. Most of the crew are polite, caring and competent. We had several very sick pax taken to non scheduled or scheduled ports for medical evac. This was handled very well. We enjoy any time dining, but on this ship it was assigned to deck 1 and the engine noise and vibration was horrendous. Not to mention the dim lighting - most had to remove the tea lights from the table lamp to read the menu. We transferred to Deck 2 and the same 2 x person table every night, a first for us. The best outcome for this switch was our dinner crew - have rarely laughed so much, nor experienced the expertise of Maitre'D Johannes, wine expert Eric,and the lovely Sumatomo and Ambrullah, attentive food waiters. The food was mostly good - when it was good it was superlative, with stunning flavour and brilliant cooking skills. When it was not good, it was mostly inedible. The former was more prevalent than the latter, but it did puzzle us a little. We missed the contact with different dinner companions and conversation. We dined at the buffet a few times, and found it very good, easy to find a table, We did enjoy a couple of shows - the dance troupe were absolutely fabulous, very very talented, and the comedian was a clever chap with a very complex and funny routine involving (very willing) audience participation. The Filipino and Indonesian Crew shows were fabulous - nothing amateur about these performances, so much effort from everyone, even after all their hard work round the ship. I cannot comment on Excursions, Trivia, the Spa, the Pool Deck as we did not engage. Last but not least, the cost of liquor on board is daylight robbery. We loved old HAL, but not anymore. There were many very disappointed HAL devotees on board. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
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 cruise was for the New Zealand Destinations... with a lot of great port stops along the way. Noordam is our fifth HA ship, and much the same facilities as the others. It seemed that the temperature control was much better than some ... Read More
This cruise was for the New Zealand Destinations... with a lot of great port stops along the way. Noordam is our fifth HA ship, and much the same facilities as the others. It seemed that the temperature control was much better than some of the other HA ships we have been on, so we were not freezing in some venues this trip. We opted for a cabin with the steel balcony near the bow, and it proved to be great... only minor problems with some exterior panels rattling in the wind, which were quickly attended to by the staff. We enjoyed the trivia, Windows 10 courses, daily devotions, Piano bar, and all of the special sessions keyed to the locations on route, like learning the "Haaka" before arriving in New Zealand. The evening entertainment was mostly good, with a couple of weaker evenings with entertainers that were not of our tastes. The HAL players were good, but of course started to repeat as we did a double length cruise. The service was good on open dining, except some tables near the back farthest from the kitchen seemed to take much longer between courses. The choices in the Lido buffet were good and never more than a few in the lineups in front of us. Had to ask for lactose free sorbet, but it was available on request, just not on the signs. We did all independent touring supported by the cruise critic forum, and made many friends through the meet and greets and activities organized on the forum. We really enjoyed the Noordam, and are planning to book another HA cruise in the future. .. and 43 days was about the right length, and 5 sea days at a time is not too many!. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We booked the cruise many months ahead when great fares were offered for a trip of this length. The ship is 10 years old and is showing signs of wear in some areas. The Lido Dining venue needs new furniture. Our cabin was located on ... Read More
We booked the cruise many months ahead when great fares were offered for a trip of this length. The ship is 10 years old and is showing signs of wear in some areas. The Lido Dining venue needs new furniture. Our cabin was located on Deck 5. It was very comfortable and quiet. The verandah added a lot to our time at sea because the weather was very pleasant most of the journey. Our cabin stewards, Hary & Sri, provided excellent service keeping things spotless and well organized every day. Dinner in the dining room was pleasant and not crowded or noisy during our visits around 8 p.m. Food was good to very good with more than a sufficient variety of choices for a long cruise when menus, by necessity, are repeated. Sanjaya (the maitre' d) and servers Paulus and Dewa provided great service. Abigail provided excellent service in the Pinnacle Bar. Service in the Lido was spotty. There didn't appear to be enough staff to handle rapid turnover of tables at during breakfast. At times, things appeared a bit disorganized. Main Office staff were extremely professional and helpful. We, and several other passengers, complained about Internet service. Some software upgrades were made to the ship's system shortly after we departed. Following this activity AOL and YAHOO mail-server customers were unable to access email accounts. This situation wasn't rectified before we left the ship. Given the high cost and slow speed of Internet access, this was an unfortunate management decision that created a lot of ill will. As with our prior HAL cruises, we were impressed by the constant maintenance activity. Paint, varnish and other exterior finishes always look clean and in good repair. This creates an impression of a very well-run ship where passenger comfort and safety are a primary goal. A well-organized, complete program is published daily. However, the cruise director made at least two announcements, broadcast throughout the ship, each day. When I provided feedback about this he explained it was HAL policy to do this. I understand part of this effort is directed at increasing interest in activities that generate revenue. That said, I believe this is unnecessary, redundant and disruptive. We greatly enjoyed the captain's daily updates about our position, progress and weather. The staff work very hard for many hours each day. Nearly everyone had a smile and friendly greeting as passengers approached them in the corridors or public areas. Kudos to HAL! The training and coaching that support these behaviors added a lot to our enjoyment of this cruise. Overall, I believe we received excellent value. We'll sail with HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We flew to Australia and toured by land for a month. Then we embarked in Sydney for a two week cruise around New Zealand and a Pacific crossing to Vancouver. I would recommend seeing New Zealand by land also. The ship had mechanical ... Read More
We flew to Australia and toured by land for a month. Then we embarked in Sydney for a two week cruise around New Zealand and a Pacific crossing to Vancouver. I would recommend seeing New Zealand by land also. The ship had mechanical problems when we reached Napier so we missed two ports. The only advantage that I can see about seeing New Zealand by sea, is traversing the fjords. They are truly spectacular. Besides the mechanical trouble, the ship leaked a lot when it rained. In the Crowe's nest, in the hallway on deck 6, even in a stateroom that friends of ours were staying in. Towels were everywhere to soak up the water. Our friends weren't given another stateroom because the ship was full they were told. I don't think this cabin should have been sold in the first place and I question possible health issues from the dampness. It the cruise line wants to encourage repeat business, I think they should address the disrepair of this ship Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
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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