26 Holland America Noordam Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Australia & New Zealand

We were very hesitate to go on this cruise after reading posts on this site. I am a 4 star mariner and was extremely surprised that the bad reviews were way out of line. This fall we sailed the Nieuv Statedam and in January took the ... Read More
We were very hesitate to go on this cruise after reading posts on this site. I am a 4 star mariner and was extremely surprised that the bad reviews were way out of line. This fall we sailed the Nieuv Statedam and in January took the Noordam around Australia and found the Noordam much better in almost all categories. The ship is not tired or in need of major upgrades. The crew was probably the friendliest that we have had in the last 5 cruises. including Celebrity Cruise Line. The food was great especially the fish, and I am a picky eater. They had Happy Hour at every venue all day long, even the shows. The carpets have recently been replaced along with minor room upgrades, including large flat screen TV's. The bedding and towels were clean and comfortable. Our cabin steward did an amazing job. We usually clean our room when we first arrive, we didn't find any missed areas. We have learned that when individuals have a good experience they don't always write about them ,but they sure do share their bad experiences. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I am a 5 star Mariner and have more than 20 cruises on Holland America This cruise was the pits and our last on Hal.There were Minimal activities or lectures on board .The standard of the food was dismal compare to the cruise I did on the ... Read More
I am a 5 star Mariner and have more than 20 cruises on Holland America This cruise was the pits and our last on Hal.There were Minimal activities or lectures on board .The standard of the food was dismal compare to the cruise I did on the Noordam three years ago which I rated 10 -this Cruise I would rate a 1.The standard of the entertainment was dismal except for the on-board Singers and dancers. Our room stewards were fantastic as was our dining steward but in the dining room instead 2 we only had one waiter and the wait time between courses as result was our hour and a half .As a result we ate mailing in the lido .The overall experience was terrible We hardly ever saw the cruise director,there were no competitions organised. There were no barbecues on board New Year’s Eve was dismal.The new photographic policy whereby one pays $19.90 purely to get a photographic image on one’s phone money grabbing.The laundry policy has suddenly changed for the Neptune suites with no laundry allowed on the last day.I will never again cruise on Holland America. I was lied to at the on-board shopping watch store where I was quoted $256 for so-called 70% reduced price on the watch which was advertised at Macy’s at $202 .For the price for Neptune suite I would much rather travel on crystal line or Cunard. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise because it fitted with the dates we were available, due to work commitments. We had been to NZ before on a different cruise line, but love the place so repeat was not a problem. Embarkation was handled well, we had ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it fitted with the dates we were available, due to work commitments. We had been to NZ before on a different cruise line, but love the place so repeat was not a problem. Embarkation was handled well, we had a balcony cabin on deck 5 midship. Décor a little tired but cabin was roomy enough and found plenty of space for storage. Cabin attendants were great, plenty of laughs and well looked after. We don't dine in the restaurants and found the buffet great, lots of variety and very nicely cooked. No self serve, guessing this was from illness and or wastage, but not a problem. Breakfast was crazy on sea days but we only made it up in time for a couple so no problem there, have an early lunch instead. Entertainment was a little lacking compared to other cruises we've been on but we're happy to entertain ourselves so not a deal breaker. All crew / staff were excellent, friendly and attentive. Some of our fellow passengers forgot to pack their manners and they were handled very well. We didn't book any tours, got a couple of shuttle buses where needed but prefer to do our own thing. NYE was in Hobart which was one of the best we've had for a long time, we went to the local Casino in Hobart to see Ice House and returned to the Noordam about 11pm, things were rocking around the pool - BB King band were playing and a DJ out the back bar, fantastic nibbles and great atmosphere - great night. Whilst probably not the best ever we've been on there were a lot of good things and any negatives were not enough to stop us cruising with them again. These days we look at dates, availability and best deal - rather than a specific cruise line. Over all a most enjoyable holiday. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We received an email that boarding would be delayed at the start due to illnesses on the previous cruise. Only a couple of hours so no big deal and we wanted a clean ship. For the first 48 hours the LIDO market food service was limited ... Read More
We received an email that boarding would be delayed at the start due to illnesses on the previous cruise. Only a couple of hours so no big deal and we wanted a clean ship. For the first 48 hours the LIDO market food service was limited to being served by crew and no self service. We have been through this on other cruises so we know the drill. The lines were incredible and everything was locked down. No Salt/Pepper. To get your meal you stand in line for tea or coffee. Stand in another long line for a salad. Stand in another long line for dessert. By the time you stand in all the lines the table are full. We thought for 48 hours we could survive. NOPE. After about 2-3 days the captain said the illnesses were getting better but would continue the lock down on meals for another 24-36 hours. NOPE. It lasted for all 14 days. No apology or updates. As with previous Holland America cruises we look forward to the taco bar at the end of the day of tours. NOPE.. Closed on all 14 days due the lock down. For Breakfast I like eggs benedict. Stand in line for that. Would like a sticky bun. Stand in another line for that. Would like a glass of cranberry juice. Stand in another line for that. Would like a cup of coffee. Stand in another line for that. Don't dare ask for salt or pepper for your eggs. NOPE. Every meal was a chore. We did eat at the dining room a few times and it was a little better there. But we prefer the flexible dining. I am a 3 star..almost 4 star with Holland America but I was so turned off by this cruise we will take a year or two off from them. We understand safety and the need for controlling diseases. But this was handled poorly. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I have just returned from a Vanuatu, New Caledonia 14 day cruise from Sydney returning back to Sydney cruise, and it was fabulous. What fantastic service, what wonderful delicious food served every day! I could not find a thing to complain ... Read More
I have just returned from a Vanuatu, New Caledonia 14 day cruise from Sydney returning back to Sydney cruise, and it was fabulous. What fantastic service, what wonderful delicious food served every day! I could not find a thing to complain about, sure the ship is a little worse for wear, and it can definitely do with a renovation, which I believe is going to happen at the end of 2019, or so I was told, but it is kept spotlessly clean at all times. And nothing is too much trouble for any crew.I loved the Dine-In free of charge cabin service to all cabins, 24 hours a day. I had the best mushroom vegetable omelette with goats cheese on top every morning, it came out hot and delicious. The toast often wasn't but that didn't worry me! Every meal I had, except for one, where the turkey schnitzel was a little dry, but it was replaced immediately. The ship does seem to cater for a more mature clientele, but once again that didn't bother me. I could choose from at least a thousand movies for my cabin DVD player free of charge, you order, a steward delivers and picks it up again, fantastic! Fresh fruit for my basket supplied daily without being asked. Beautiful great quality toiletries suppled as well. As I am not as mobile as I used to be, I cannot say what the actual Islands were like, as I did not get off, but fellow passengers were all impressed on their return. The only complaint I have are the 'compulsory gratuities' that are charged at US$14.50 every day, but in the long run they did deserve this tip and I am accepting of it! It used to be that you could remove it on going to the Service Desk, but I was told that now you must fill in a form to give the reason why you don't wish to pay it! But that is not the ship's fault but HAL! All in all I just loved the ship and can't wait to rebook another one with them Thank you Noordam! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this as Holland America once had a good reputation for cruises. The dining was very poor quality food with very little choices offered ( no turkey for Christmas day dinner). The ship is very outdated and in dire need of major ... Read More
We chose this as Holland America once had a good reputation for cruises. The dining was very poor quality food with very little choices offered ( no turkey for Christmas day dinner). The ship is very outdated and in dire need of major refurbishment and we found that the balcony in our cabin to be extremely small given the extra cost paid to have one. Only just about enough room for two deck chairs. We found that it compares very badly with its competition eg Celebrity Cruises. Entertainment on board only moderate to fair and very limited. Port and shore excursions were quite good and well organised with an interesting variety. Neither I or my partner would recommend Holland America line for any cruises on the the Noordam unless as stated previously that it improved the quality and choices in its dining room and a full refurbishment of this ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this cruise because we wanted to have Christmas and New Year on a cruise and the HAL had been recommended by some American friends. We had a wonderful surprise when we were upgraded from a SS midship to a Neptune suite at the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to have Christmas and New Year on a cruise and the HAL had been recommended by some American friends. We had a wonderful surprise when we were upgraded from a SS midship to a Neptune suite at the back of the ship.A really big cabin with an L shaped veranda at the back. Having access to the Neptune lounge was a plus, the 2 concierges could not have been more friendly and helpful and the free capuchino was another plus! As a handicapped person I did find the long distances to other places on the ship was a problem,which was why we booked midship, but we worked around that problem by choosing room service a lot of the time.We had some problems the first few days, with cold food and missing items, but after a visit to the desk and a talk with Gilroy, the maitre d, it was soon fixed. Our main problem, which caused us to leave the cruise after the 1st section, was the ship's doctor.We had problems understanding him, and the other medical staff, and he did not seem to understand us.He seemed to be very unsure about what procedure to take, even after speaking to my own home doctor on the phone. He did not seem to have had any experience with my problem, a U.T.I. and said that he was not happy about me staying onboard for the last 2 weeks of the cruise in case the infection got worse and he would have no facilities to help if we were at sea or in the small islands that were next on the itinerary. So we had to leave the cruise after the 1st 2 weeks of what should have been 4 wonderful weeks. So much for our much anticipated month in the Pacific!! Now I have to deal with our travel insurance office and try to get reimbursed for the 2 weeks we missed. NOT how I expected to be spending my time at New Year!! This was our 1st and last cruise with H.A.L. after 27 cruises with Princess I think we will be staying with them. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We had sailed with HAL on 3 previous cruises. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and had just been on Celebrity Solstice six weeks prior to this one and so comparisons between them were fresh in our minds. Where Solstice is clean ... Read More
We had sailed with HAL on 3 previous cruises. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and had just been on Celebrity Solstice six weeks prior to this one and so comparisons between them were fresh in our minds. Where Solstice is clean crisp lines with what we thought were much higher ceilings, Noordam is lower ceiling, less open spaces, fine arts but darkened lounge areas. Noordam did not come close to Solstice from the quality of their food, attention to detail and service of the crew. Embarkation for Noordam was slow. Our cabin was spotless our only complaint were the lumpy pillows. Our attendants always had a smile and were happy to assist to meet our needs. Dining - this is one of the features of cruising that we enjoy and were let down terribly. The menu selection and quality of food was poor, even in the Pinnacle Grill. We thought the standard in the Main Dining Room had dropped from our previous cruise with HAL but had improved measurably in the Buffet Dining (Lido). At all three dining venues we found the selection of deserts (and slices) disappointing. The attention to hygiene on board the ship was lacking. Rarely did we see a crew member ensuring that passengers used the sanitizers before entering the dining areas. The Air conditioning was poorly balanced and some areas of the ship were warm and others were very cold. Hence there were a lot of sick people on board. In the theatre during lecture and showtime there was constant coughing by passengers. Activities - not a great deal of variety or imagination used in planning the activity programme. The Test Kitchen was American food which was not to the Australian culinary style. exc Talks - Two great speakers were the Barrier Reef Pilot and Brian Stoddart who did a series on the Pacific the influences through history, art, internationalisation etc. The other speaker did a series on World War II in the Pacific is content was very disappointing. Entertainment - The highlight was the Planet Earth documentary accompanied by the String Quartet and Band. Fantastic! Mix of entertainers and three dance/shows. The BB King had us all tapping along with the music - they were great. Our first port of call was Gladstone....A wasted day. Not much to do or see the city tour included pointing out Bunnings and the local Library as sites of the town! Alotaou was not so much scenic as historically interesting port. If you are interested in the Second World War and the fighting in Milne Bay you will find doing a tour/excursion worthwhile. You will find locals portside who will take you on a tour of Alotaou. The next 2 ports were Kiriwina and Kitava Islands. Both beautiful islands where you can meet friendly tribal people These islands surpass the South Pacific Islands for swimming and snorkling in their lovely clear coral waters. You could buy wooden bowls carved by the village men or woven bags from the ladies. They do appreciate KENNA currency. Buy your currency before you leave home. Dont buy it off HAL they would not take back any unused currency (and they could sell you notes in poor condition that a bank will not accept - this happened to one passenger on our cruise). Next stop was Conflict Islands - this is a group of Islands owned by an Australian. It is very picturesque but very commercialized. (Buy any carvings or bags on this Island and expect to pay at least four times the price as on the other two islands... and you are not buying from the tribes person direct.) Our other ports were Cairns (Yorkies Knob) and Airlie Beach and then Brisbane. This cruise is not a cruise for those with disability issues. Only 3 ports were to a dock, five ports were by tender. The tenders were efficiently run and we did have to wait more than a couple of minutes at each port. It was extremely hot and it was lovely to have ice water and iced handtowels to greet us on and off the islands. One thing we did appreciate was the limited "on-sell" of spa, dining & drinks packages. It only occurred the first day or two. There are two issues that really were unsatisfactory.... 1. US$25 per person to get a shuttle bus from the wharf to Brisbane CBD. At Airlie Beach we paid A$5 in Australian dollars. Didn't add up paying Australian dollars on one occasion and USA dollars (at an exorbitant price) on the other. 2. No Christmas Carols on board the ships PA system. The ship was decorated with Christmas Decorations but no music. At requesting at the Guest Relations for some Carols to be played on the PA we were advised that the company had made a directive that no HOLIDAY MUSIC be played until the 22nd December. Yet they were quite happy for us to pay the ship's photographer to take "our CHRISTMAS PHOTO taken by the CHRISTMAS TREE". This is not the cruise line for children.. and especially around Christmas time. We were so disappointed at not being put into the Christmas spirit, that I doubt we will ever go on a cruise at Christmastime again with HAL. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Of fourteen cruises this was my third with HAL. It was nice to renew our acquaintance after a five year hiatus. I'm happy to say that HAL have maintained their high standard, mostly. More on that later. We came down to Sydney by ... Read More
Of fourteen cruises this was my third with HAL. It was nice to renew our acquaintance after a five year hiatus. I'm happy to say that HAL have maintained their high standard, mostly. More on that later. We came down to Sydney by train and four of us took a taxi from Central to White Bay. I was amazed at how much luggage space was available in the hybrid Toyota, it all went in the back, no bags on laps. Fare was $30 which I thought was reasonable but not so much when then return fare, White Bay to Central, was only $25! Hmmm. The return was a quicker trip as it was early morning. On arrival at the terminal we checked our bags and joined the queue which looked long but didn't take to long to get through, about 30 minutes and we were aboard. Room was ready. We, my friend Tony and I, had requested twin beds but found a double made up. We pointed this out to our room attendant and it was quickly fixed. Unusually, I had trouble orienting myself when moving about the ship. I think the lack of an atrium such as on X Solstice and Ovation OTS may have something to do with it. The decor, altough tasteful and in good condition, was not to my liking- too much brown, bronze and gold made for a drab interior. Others may like it but it seems dated. Meals. First thing I noticed in MDR was that there were fewer choices compered to my previous HAL experience. HAL is not alone in this regard. What was pleasing was the food standard was still as high as I remembered. Almost but not quite up to that of Celebrity, I recall only one dud meal in MDR, a chicken linguini with basil and tomato sauce and some crispy thing that wasn't crispy. The pasta sauce was totally lacking in flavour, basil or tomato, but the chicken was ok. We ate all dinners in MDR except for three nights when we ate in the specialty restaurants. The first was a birthday dinner in Pinnacle grill. There were four of us. I ordered a honey glazed pork chop as a main, the others had steaks, I wish I had too. The pork chop was overcooked, tasteless and chewy. Everything else was good, appetisers and desserts. The next was Rudi's Sal de Mare. This was excellent. Wonderful seafood courses and all cooked to perfection. Only problem was we had trouble finishing it all. By the time dessert came we were all pretty full then had to front up to a pile of profiteroles covered with chocolate sauce and ice cream, There was also crepe suzettes which were yummy. The final night was in Cannaletto's for my 70th. Excellent Italian food and presentation with portions just right. With the exception of the first sea day, when we had breakfast in the MDR, we ate breakfast and lunch in the Lido buffet. No self serve but food was freshly cooked and served by staff. Very little wastage and a lot less temptation to overload your plate. Less chance of spreading bugs too. Lots of variety to suit all tastes. Our group of four generally ate breakfast late (too late for MDR)cdue to Tony, a late riser, and the other two who liked pre breakfast walks and gym sessions. I just went with the flow. Entertainment, This is the first cruise where I have not tried to attend every show. Our usual ritual was 7pm trivia after which we would then have dinner. The late shows were at 10 and sometimes clashed with other performances such as piano and strings in the Lincoln Centre or BB Kings or the piano bar. I did catch the comedian one night and country singer Patrick McMahon was great, both nights. Have seen him on a previous cruise. Although the HAL band was good I it lacked a brass section. This would have given it a lot more presence. Guest speekers were interesting and topical. We booked a couple of ship tours, In Alotau we did a Milne Bay cruise with a historical commentary which was interesting and informative. I was able to relate what I have read, about the Japanese attack, to the geography/topography of the area, It was here that the Japanese suffered their first WW2 defeat on land. After that we went on a cultural tour and learnt about the way of life and customs of the PNG people in this area. For the island visits we went ashore and snorkelled and generally relaxed. Exception was the Conflict Islands. What a beautiful place this is. A Coral Sea atoll of twenty one islands with a marine research facility. The owner, Ian Gowrie-Smith, has set up a turtle conservation facility. He has an agreement with Carnival that allows their ships to visit and this helps fund the facility. It was here that I found the best snorkelling I've ever seen, absolutely beautiful and unspoiled in comparison to other islands where the coral is suffering degradation from the reef shoes and too many people We had booked an outrigger sailing cruise but this was cancelled due to lack of wind. For the Australian ports of Gladstone, Cairns, Airlie Beach and Brisbane I did my own thing. I did a little geocaching which gives me exercise and takes me to out-of-the-way places tourists mostly miss. Tendering at Yorkey's Knob, Cairns is the pits. Takes up so much time although I never had any problems getting on the tenders due to crowds. I can recommend the Cairns Aquarium, well worth a couple of hours there. Airlie Beach is much different to when I was last here, about thirty five years ago. They tell me the place is usually full of backpackers but maybe the season was over as there weren't too many about. Or perhaps they only come out at night. Lots of cafes and restaurants. In Brisbane I spent a relaxing day at my sisters' and spent some time with her five grandchildren, four girls and one boy aged between five and eleven. That was fun. All good things come to an end and we were back in Sydney having missed the cyclones but got the tail end of the Sydney storms. Disembarkation was on a Saturday. Saturday is when I windsurf and my club was having a post race Xmas BBQ so I decided I would try and make it back to Newcastle in time. I self disembarked by not putting my bag out the night before and just walking off when I was ready, Shared a taxi to central and was on the train heading north at 8.18. Would I cruise with HAL again, sure, if the itinerary looks good and the ports are interesting. I forgot to mention the one change I noticed in HAL's standards. Dressing for dinner. It's now a lot less formal than it was. On my first HAL cruise I didn't have a jacket for gala night so the Maitre d provided me with one. I didn't have to wear it, just hung it on the back of my chair. Some consider the casualisation of dinner attire a backward step but for me, I'm fine with it. I wear neat jeans or slacks with a collared shirt, or sometimes a bright Hawaiin shirt. No problem. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
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
Noordam 82318 tons 918 cabins Last Drydock 2018 9/28/2017 Room 6090 The Good Our room was in a great location! Only a few rooms aft of the midship elevator. We had two panoramic midship elevators on either side, ... Read More
Noordam 82318 tons 918 cabins Last Drydock 2018 9/28/2017 Room 6090 The Good Our room was in a great location! Only a few rooms aft of the midship elevator. We had two panoramic midship elevators on either side, and also some central midship elevators. We had the pilot boat arrive right under us. We also got to see the Sydney Opera House from our balcony as we arrived into Sydney. On the other hand, we had a crane sitting right outside our window in one of the Fiji stops. Signature Suites come with some nice square footage (280 square feet of room and 100 square feet of balcony). If we’re going to be on a long cruise, we want some elbow room! They’re wide enough that one of us didn’t have to back up if we met at the foot of the bed on the way to the bathroom. For those with mobility problems, this is key. We had a tub/shower with a separate shower and two sinks. The bathroom was also wide enough that one could move past someone standing at the close sink to the other sink. We had a European and American outlet at the desk, and also the vanity. Since we have an international adapter sets for Kindle and iPad, we were able to utilize all the plugs. Great cabin steward! On embarkation day, we give them a written list of preferences to break the ice with them. We about two weeks in, we put him in our top five of a lot of cruises, and later in the cruise we moved him to the top three. We never returned to a dirty room in 38-days. We did leave the “Make Up Room” lock holder when we left for Breakfast and Dinner. Dining - MDR. Another excellent experience. We give the waiter, assistant waiter and boss with a list of preferences to make it easier for them. We had the same team for the entire 38-day voyage. We ate in the MDR. I don’t think we missed an evening. Our assistant waiter served us coffee with HEATED cups! Our waiter managed my allergy seamlessly. He would bring the next day’s menu with the dessert and say “take your time.” Lectures - The lectures San Francisco to Sydney were fabulous. The container lecture was the most interesting lecture of the batch for me. Especially when we got to the Pacific Islands, and saw all container ports. We wished they’d been able to continue the lectures after Sydney. Pinnacle Grill - Lunch - Really great service! We had the same waiter the five or six times we visited. I loved the chocolate dessert with caramel popcorn! Ocean Bar - Great Waitress! Again, one of the top waitresses we’ve had! We met each sea day at the Crow’s Nest for Knitting, Crochet, and Stitching. Our group numbered over 20, and we had a great time sharing stories, suggestions for upcoming ports. (One member planned to do all the Lord of the Rings Shore Excursions.) After Sydney, one of the bartenders visited daily for drink orders. All cargo ports in the Pacific Islands and New Zealand, so no Wifi. All Kiwi (New Zealand citizens) needed a permit to enter their ports. Security entered the bus and checked all ship cards and identification cards. Before we could leave the ship, they played a recording of forbidden items in New Zealand: no food, honey, wood, of any kind, etc. Only commercial bottled water. Once or twice the cruise director told us only unopened bottled water. In Napier they had a band playing in port when we returned from our EXC tour. Bus drivers must take a driving test every year, and we were happy to learn that they must exit the bus and stand next to the door to help tourists if needed. EXC Tours - Each Guide was very knowledgeable and made our tours memorable. . Clean Windows on the Buses. Nice grab bars to help climb those really tall steps to onto the bus. Good lectures by the guides. Great buses with nice long seatbelts in Sydney and Melbourne. Mentioned the super high bus steps (Tasmania’s bus step came up to a couple inches below my knee), to the EXC staff must have mentioned this to the tour groups, because the bus drivers started providing step stools. Also, noticed the bus drivers started driving the buses right up to the gangplank in New Zealand. Fabulous guide in Hobart Wildlife and Waterways. This lady is finishing her PhD in Tanmania History. Best tour guide of the trip! Napier - Sheep Sheering & Scones Mountain Ride! Great guide and great bus. This bus had comfortable seats, a screen at the front showing a live view of the road ahead. With strict food rules in New Zealand, it’s a good idea to book an excursion with a snack or meal included. This guide trained the others to drive up the mountain road. “Ice Cream Sample” was much larger than expected, I think those 4 ounce single servings at our grocery store were smaller! It would have been much better to stagger the two busloads. At the sheep sheering and afternoon tea, since both were at the same location, have one bus doing the tea while the other did the inside part of the sheep sheering, then switch. Very crowded store at the sheep shearing stop. Wellington - Guide’s coffee recommendation was SO true. Very strong coffee but not bitter. We’re so glad he suggested it, but it’s taking a long time to get used to American Coffee. Wellington has some very interesting rules for bus drivers. He pulled down a narrow street, and the cars had to make room for him by either backing up or going over curbs. The Needs Improvement One of the elevators was down for four straight days. Cruise Director did not schedule our Knitting, Crochet and Stitching group in the daily program, but it may not have been his fault. We heard this decision came from corporate. He seemed glad we found each other. At the collector’s cruise lecture, he read word for word from the handout. At the end of the presentation, he declined to answer a question about a possible conflict with a EXC tour and muster drill, and walked back stage. EXC Tours I had sent an email to headquarters about my disappointment with the way they organize the shore excursions, but so far no answer. The tours need to be staggered so only one bus load at a time at each stop. Some of the tours were to crowded, I didn’t want to shop the local stores. With a few exceptions, too rushed, not enough time at each stop, too crowded. Each bus seemed to have something wrong: A/C blowing very warm air, middle bus door didn’t open, etc. When we have a 15-minute stop, and it takes five minutes to load and unload the bus, there’s not much time left for viewing the sights. Cancellation policy now 48 hours. EXC employee worked at the desk and in the Vista Lounge with some type of upper respiratory infection. She tried to announce shore excursions on port days while she had no voice. A few days later, we both came down with upper respiratory infections too. Some EXC tours had meeting times at 11 am, but the Lido opened at 11:30 am. Also, no food stalls just off the ship in port. With strict food rules in New Zealand, I wish they’d have at least a snack on all tours offered. Tauranga - Yes, it goes in the “bad” section. We’re not planning on booking any more EXC tours in Tauranga. Our bus had very uncomfortable seats, no head rests, no seatbelts. Front seats foot area was so narrow, a man next to us couldn’t put his foot all the way down. It had a ramp down the center aisle to a step, and I saw several people fall. Also, the bus had backward facing seats. The tour guide sat in an open seat for a few minutes, then stood back up and spent the rest of the four hour tour standing at the front of the bus. We almost quit the tour at the first stop and took a taxi back to the ship. Did you make the sale? Yes, we got a couple more Future Cruise Deposits Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
After sailing on Holland America Line (HAL), four times and the last on the Noordam in February 2017, we have come to the conclusion that HAL treats some places better than the south Pacific. 1. Ships meals have been reduced in quality ... Read More
After sailing on Holland America Line (HAL), four times and the last on the Noordam in February 2017, we have come to the conclusion that HAL treats some places better than the south Pacific. 1. Ships meals have been reduced in quality and service as 4 meals had to be sent back, due to; 1 being cold, 2 overcooked and dry, 3 a steak that was tough and suspect quality while, 4 the fish was again overcooked and tasteless, 5 a Pasta carbonara was dry without any sauce, some sauce was supplied after I ask for it, then it was edible. 2. The hygiene control on the ship was/is lacking, as my wife was infected with the cruise cough/flu like symptoms this was the second time (again Holland America) and yet has NEVER been infected on the other cruise lines we have sailed with. We have sailed around New Zealand 4 times, twice with HAL, once with Cunard and Celebrity X, however my wife was struck down with ship flu both times on HAL, but not on the other cruise lines. Therefore, the food/ships hygiene on HAL appears to be at fault. 3. It appears that HAL uses the sailing in Southern climes of Australia/New Zealand as a training ship or just the area with disdain, knowing that Australian/New Zealanders do not complain/demand as much as some other natation’s do/can. 4. The Gratuities that are expected are also in contrast to other means of transport, such as airlines where the crew wages are similar for respective position and ranks on HAL but only draw their wages/salary. Also, it has been rumoured that the crew do not get all the monies collected, but a proportion it goes into the company revenues. 5. Defects with the ship a. 3 windows cracked, 2 on the Crow’s Nest lounge forward windows and the 3rd on the external glass wall (ship) of the aft/rear right side elevator on the 4th deck b. 2 lifeboats had damaged entrance/exit hatches (the stitching had separated from the hatchway) allowing water to enter the lifeboat, which would jeopardise the safety and integrity of both, the lifeboats were 11 and 14. They were reported 3 times to the front desk and each time I was given incorrect/differing answers, they were finally repaired. Photos are available. c. In the Lido dining area, a glass tea bag caddie was cracked with glass splinters missing, it was reported and it was changed to another position, again it was reported and it was finally removed to??? d. The cup/mugs for tea/coffee in the Lido were not washed properly (suspect the dishwasher) with foreign bodies/food being left in/on the mugs. e. Our cabin bathroom was in disrepair as the floor tiles were adrift/lifting and the shower wall tiling grout was missing, with several areas having dark mildew type stains. As we were dissatisfied with the overall Hotel and engineering (safety equipment) we spoke to many other passengers and they were of the same opinion that Holland America have lowered their standards and treat the south pacific cruises as training. Also, you can see by the above list, this cruise with Holland America Line was not as comfortable or as pleasant as the other cruise lines we have sailed with, (some 10 in all) then being told that we must pay the gratuities, gives an idea of what they think of the south pacific, so much so that I doubt it very much that we will sail with Holland America Line again. Read Less
Sail Date February 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 chose this cruise for the itinerary. We wanted to visit Tasmania and Melbourne, and this cruise went to both. In retrospect, an overnight in melbourne would have been good, Pros- The food in the Main Dining Room was wonderful. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We wanted to visit Tasmania and Melbourne, and this cruise went to both. In retrospect, an overnight in melbourne would have been good, Pros- The food in the Main Dining Room was wonderful. The $99 package for unlimited laundry was great - we could have traveled with one small suitcase. The staff was friendly and accommodating. Our cabin was super confortable. Cons - Embarkation was a mess. Standing in the rain, waiting to get our luggage accepted, and then an hour long wait inside the terminal to be checked in was really unacceptable. No organization at all. Disembarcation was better,but just barely. They forgot to send down one of the bins with some of our luggage, Internet was non-existent for most purposes. There is little to do aboard the ship on At Sea days. I like Trivia, but not 3 tines a day Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This was very misrepresented in the website and available information from the cruise line. It was only "back to back cruises" not a separate all in one cruise. entertainment and activities were mostly repeated the second two ... Read More
This was very misrepresented in the website and available information from the cruise line. It was only "back to back cruises" not a separate all in one cruise. entertainment and activities were mostly repeated the second two weeks (which were slim pickings even the first two weeks). Everyone had to disembark in Sydney and could not get back on the boat until time for new passengers to board. Would have been good to understand all of this before deciding to book this cruise. Destination was unbelievable! Did almost all private prearranged tours and really saw New Zealand. 10 days of port calls there! First time on Holland America. Best a embarkment, allowed on early and went straight to rooms! Excellent disembarkment also. Very nice staff. Staterooms have a lot of storage space. Beds and linen amazingly comfortable. Free room service wonderful, but could have had increased selection of items. Buffet eating with staff serving made utilizing this area much nicer and safer (decreased germs from passengers!), so much more comfortable utilizing this option than on many other cruise lines. Loved Explorers' Lounge area, except puzzles and may items were old and missing pieces. All need to be thrown out and new ones bought. Excellent Microsoft classes and teacher! Added more new computers after trip completed, but not enough and not enough space for these popular classes. Culinary Center was beautiful, but most times was empty and not well utilized. Salad bar and pasta bar were excellent, but terrible pizza and premade Italian dishes. Many of foods in buffet area were not warm when served. Salmon was always great, as well as shrimp. Ship is old and staterooms not completely updated and our balcony had several large rusty holes in it that were not even covered with rugs to protect us (we had to ask for this). Pictures very old and not worth looking in stateroom area and halls. Entertainment was very poor. I love entertainment on cruises and not much by cruises' performance staff and only one act that was great one night. Only showed movies in theater during port days while docked! Stateroom TV's and system were antique and very poor reception on top of that. Menu was also antique and slowly scrolled three hr span, but you had to watch time spans already completed and next day before getting to your time, then info screen then start all over and you were so bored you blinked and missed the time you were looking for! This was really disappointing. Activity choices were slim pickings! Except for the occasional item in the Culinary Arts Center, local related program and Microsoft classes there was nothing much going on activity wise on the ship! Most of my time spent walking on the outside walking deck (did help me eat too much and keep the same weight though!). Vegetarian menu was nice to order from. Should have had menus more easily available, as well as ordering options improved for days did not eat the night before in the dinning room. Also, "Dive in" eating area by pool should have other vegetarian choice such as regular vegetable burger, not just mushroom burger and grilled cheese would be nice. Signature Suites were very misrepresented online. Often read about "Suites" and thought this referred to all suites, but only was for non-Signature suites. Extra space and separate tub & shower were great. No concierge ,no pillow menu or choices and not much else. Food and choices were very nice the first few days, but declined as cruise continued. Much smaller portions and presented as two course meals, though you can order a three course meal or whatever you want. Quantity was good for me, but many who have more of appetites or binge on cruises will be surprised compared to other cruise lines. Not many standard choice that are available every day. Thank goodness the salmon was good and I could eat it. One of the few entrees available most days, but on gala nights/ special occasion nights, the menu was had even less choices and the daily items were not available. Invited to many special occasion lunches/ meals but expected to eat provided meal, even if on a special diet. No one cared to even try to eat dietary needs these days. Many days after the first week, I was tired of the vegetarian choices and had nothing I could eat on the regular menu and they did not care enough to fix something for me as always do on other cruise lines. Desert choices were slim, especially on gala nights (which is good for the waistline, but not what I expect on a cruise. Only once got a real piece of regular cheesecake which is so unusual and most of their ice cream is not worth the calories to me with most days having only vanilla, chocolate and strawberry plus sometimes one other choice. ( which is very unusual from what I am used to when sailing!). Not many vegetables served and in the dining room it was only like a garnishment (except potatoes & rice were always available). Never had so many of the staff being fairly close to the start of their contract. Tried to be helpful, but not aware of many things when asked. Always nice, but just did not display that "at your service/ cruise ship" attitude I am used to.. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We like NZ and have been there on land, but wished to see the Sounds and ports offered. In the past HAL gave reasonable value for $ and "tried" to sort our differences. We are two 70yr olds and travel on ships geared for minimal ... Read More
We like NZ and have been there on land, but wished to see the Sounds and ports offered. In the past HAL gave reasonable value for $ and "tried" to sort our differences. We are two 70yr olds and travel on ships geared for minimal children.This trip had abysmal dining and very poor entertainment and shore assistance. We could not get palatable food and found that the feedback forms gave no option for feedback so after the first form went off on day 2, I fired off another on day 5 with our contact details and problems. [ Food in Vista was too rich and/or spicy for our tastes and stomachs. Standards of dress had dropped. Children allowed unsupervised and intrusive.Wait staff abrupt/overworked. Supervisors would not listen/understand. Gassed out of cabin twice by maintenance painters. Heart monitor on bike in gym was erratic/busted and supervisor took little interest. Shore/port assistance very poor.] In sheer frustration I fired off another feedback form on day 10. We got to be able to preorder meals with notes regarding the spices on day 12!! We got some decent food for the last 2 days!! There was never any personal feedback until one supervisor gave us a free bottle of sparkling wine on the last day - but no discussion. As usual the cabin staff were good. The cabin was tidy but getting a little tired. Would we go again on HAL/Noordam? We'd go anywhere if the price is right and itinerary interesting - but only if there was personal interaction BEFORE and during the cruise. 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
Xmas and New Year at sea. What more could you want. You want to take that special bottle along with you, and if you are flying in from interstate then don't share your baggage. Your baggage is going to be confiscated because ... Read More
Xmas and New Year at sea. What more could you want. You want to take that special bottle along with you, and if you are flying in from interstate then don't share your baggage. Your baggage is going to be confiscated because you have bought more than your allocated share of alcohol on board and you are not going to get your bags until you go and get them. The lines of people waiting for customer service are horrendous so be prepared. We finally got our bags at 11PM. The ship is probably in need of an upgrade, however the cabins are very comfortable and you could not ask for better service from the cabin stewards, but once again things fall apart. If you want room service the wait could be 45 minutes for a coffee There is no where to get one close to your room. Breakfast room service was on time whenever you wanted it and great if you wanted to just sit out on the balcony without having to try and hustle to get a table at the Lido Buffet This did not deter the positives. Dining In the Main dining area was exceptional so if you want a good memory then book this in when you first book. The service in this area was also incredible so I am not being over critical Entertainment. B.B.King.Bar. WOW. What a great show. New Years Eve. Truly a night to remember. It could not have been bettered. Well maybe the fireworks at the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The night was something that Holland America can be proud of. Ports. I think everyone tells you about the Shore excursions. We along with everyone else took our obligatory photos. Fiji and the environs are known for their people and the pristine waters. They lived up to both. The people are wonderful. I am glad we have them as neighbors. The waters abound with beauty and you can't not like it Then all of a sudden you are on your way home and it sinks in that the holiday is almost over. Yes it has been good. It could have been great . What can I compare it to?. I can only compare it to some of the hotels of Asia or Europe, after all this is a big floating hotel. Did it live up to some of them?. I have stayed in some places that Holland America could take some lessons from in customer service. The service desk on board was abysmal. The Hanoi Elegance Group and even the Bich Duyen in Ho Chi Minh are pillars of high standards of service that this ship could learn from. I am home now. I open my bag of duty free alcohol. Only to find. No it could not happen. Yep they have given me the wrong one. Several emails over the next few weeks have gone unanswered by Holland America. Did that make me feel like a small fish in a big pond?, Do they even care? Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This was our sixth cruise and the 4th line we've been on. We liked the ability to visit Australia and New Zealand in one trip. Most of the ports were very interesting, with the exception of Picton, New Zealand. The ship is older ... Read More
This was our sixth cruise and the 4th line we've been on. We liked the ability to visit Australia and New Zealand in one trip. Most of the ports were very interesting, with the exception of Picton, New Zealand. The ship is older and has low ceilings with often dark carpet, ceilings or walls which makes public spaces seem small. We were usually back at the ship for dinner and ate in the dining room. The food was mixed, sometimes very good and sometimes not good at all. This is the only line we've been on with fixed seating. When they issue your ID card it includes your table. If we had chosen anytime dining I'm sure this wouldn't be an issue, but we like having the same wait staff who know our preferences. We were on our anniversary so not having a table with some quiet and privacy was a big negative. All the staff on the ship were very friendly and the room stewards and wait staff were excellent. The only frustration was taking eight days to properly fix our toilet. The in room entertainment is from the dark ages. We had a balcony room and the TV was small and in a corner so not convenient to watch, the remote didn't have numbers so you had to scroll slowly to get from one channel to the next, there had few non-news stations to choose from, reception was good to poor and the TV guide can't be advanced so if it 10 pm when you turn on the TV and the guide is at 6 am you have to wait a couple of minutes before it gets to 10 pm. There is a DVD player so you can go to the front desk a get a DVD but I don't think any are movies released within the past 10 years. We typically do shore excursions because the cruise line excursions tend to be less organized, slower getting started and are over priced. We used Zealander and Canterbury Leisure Tours and we very pleased with both. We did an excursion with the ship in Napier, Hawke's Bay Express which was fine. Melbourne is probably the most confusing port. Go to the terminal at Pier Station and by Tram or Bus tickets. The Tram is a bit faster but you have to walk a block to get to the stop, so if the weather is bad, take the bus. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We selected this cruise for the itinerary for 43 days. We wanted to see Hawaii, some of the South Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand. We opted for a Neptune Suite which had the perk of the Lounge, which we thoroughly enjoyed and ... Read More
We selected this cruise for the itinerary for 43 days. We wanted to see Hawaii, some of the South Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand. We opted for a Neptune Suite which had the perk of the Lounge, which we thoroughly enjoyed and used a lot for an intimate continental breakfast and lite bites throughout the days at sea. The suite itself had very comfortable beds and an abundance of space but horribly uncomfortable chairs at the desk and coffee table. It was also miserable to have a full meal served inside on the coffee table so we did not do that very often. The food that we enjoyed the most was in the Pinnacle Grill which had excellent meat and side dishes simply and tastefully prepared; not drowned in some weird 'gourmet' sauce. For that reason we avoided the main dining room and for the fact that green salads were very scarce on that menu. It was gourmet fare, which we don't enjoy, and required patience to wait for service. We took advantage of the salad bar in the Lido every night, frequently to the exclusion of other entrees offered and stuck with ice cream for dessert. I lost 10 pounds as a result...pretty good for a 43 day cruise! We are avid readers so loaded our Kindles and did not participate in ship activities or entertainment other than the casino and Bingo. I am mobility challenged and have found that I cannot fully participate in large bus tours so did not arrange but 2 with Holland America. I arranged private tours on my own. Accessiblity on the ship itself was very good. The most outstanding part of the cruise was the service. It was absolutely impeccable while on board. However, I was dropped on my own to disembark since I didn't request a wheelchair but I had a walker and luggage and was not offered any help from the ship into the luggage area. Miserable! Yes, I will consider Holland America for another cruise but maybe on a different ship with nicer décor. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This is our third cruise with Holland Cruise line. We have enjoyed all of them but a little disappointed this time because we had to miss two ports that we were looking forward to visiting. The ship had "Mechanical issues" and ... Read More
This is our third cruise with Holland Cruise line. We have enjoyed all of them but a little disappointed this time because we had to miss two ports that we were looking forward to visiting. The ship had "Mechanical issues" and we had to remain in Napier overnight. It was very stressful because it was first announced that the ship had problems but that we would be underway soon and that we would reach Auckland on schedule. Then no more announcements and we were still docked in port. We went to bed that night only to wake up still docked in Napier. There was such a long period of time before the Captain informed us that we would be remaining in Napier and that buses would we available to take people into town and that we would be leaving at 1030pm AND would miss Auckland (no berth available) AND Bay of Islands ( not enough time to cover distance) (????). Mechanical problems happen. The lack of timely communication was my issue. We received credit for the port charges, excursions and $100 OBC as well as 20% off our NEXT cruise. To Holland's credit, they did allow us to use that 20% credit on a cruise that we had previously booked. The food was good in the Lido but they stop serving dinner at 8pm. The MDR food was excellent on the two occasions that we dined there. The Pinnacle Dining was fantastic. The food was above average with great service. The Shows were very good (some better than other's) the Holland Staff Accordion Player, she was a Great show all by herself and the BB King Band and Singers were Great. We went to the BB King lounge several nights and we didn't hear the same songs over and over. They changed it up with a variety of numbers. Very entertaining. We were every lucky to get an up sale to the Neptune Suite 5190 which was the aft wrap. The suite is well appointed with so much space and storage. A dressing room with 3 closets, as well as 4 closets in the main cabin. On a couple of nights during heavy rain and winds, my husband said the vibration of the ship woke him up. I did feel the vibration one night, but it in no way took away from the enjoyment of the cabin. I would take that up sale again in a heartbeat. The Neptune Lounge with Michelle and Anne was great and they both helped with everything. They happily made my call to Sydney so I could confirm a post cruise reservation for us. The Casino staff, Roxanne, Julia and Ernest were the greatest. We always book Holland excursions and the excursions that we did take were well organized. One suggestion that I made, was that there be a more visible Holland port guide on the pier, because in Akaroa (Christchurch) we had trouble finding our pickup point. Embarkation was smooth, (Neptune status helped I'm sure) because otherwise there were lines everywhere. Disembarkation was so fast, We were off the ship and in a cab before we knew it. The service on the ship everywhere was great. The Lido Pool Terrace Grill food is great with fast service even when they are busy. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We arrived in Auckland 4 days early to enjoy the sights and sounds. Nice small city- easy to walk around. Jump on-off bus service available daily to see the sights and boat trips available round the bay. Lovely clean and fresh feel to ... Read More
We arrived in Auckland 4 days early to enjoy the sights and sounds. Nice small city- easy to walk around. Jump on-off bus service available daily to see the sights and boat trips available round the bay. Lovely clean and fresh feel to the air and warm enough in March! Because I owned up to having a sore throat had to wait 20 minutes for the nurse to reappear. Thought we were not going to be allowed on the cruise liner. People were being processed rapidly but not us. Nurse was miffed when a staff member pointed out that we had been waiting for her to reappear after her departure. Surprise, surprise once on board my sore throat did not seem to be a problem to anyone. (It developed into a full blown cold but I bought medication and treated myself for the next two weeks. We also made sure that we kept to ourselves to contain the germs.) Thought we could enjoy a leisurely cruise round New Zealand and part of Australia seeing plenty of scenery. This was our first cruise and it was a special anniversary! Most of sailing done at night so little to see and too far off shore anyway. What we did see we generally enjoyed. Napier gave the cruise ship arrival a very good welcome followed by a great jazz band send off. For us the boat was too crowded. Breakfast and lunch you had to search to find clear/clean tables. It looked as though the dining facilities had been increased at some time with extra chairs and tables put along the walkways into the dining facilities. Staff tried to cope but everyone trying to eat at once made it a trial. The odd member of staff looked out of place walking round displaying cans of coke etc could have been better utilised. Will say that dining staff morning, noon and night were good and did their best for passengers! Disappointed in the Gala Night. In 4/5 star hotels it is a completely different experience! Evening meal generally were good and fair selection of courses. Felt charging guests 15% extra on top of cost of wine bit excessive. Attended a wine tasting session (paid extra) it was said to be a fun session but it ended rather quickly (one hour) and felt that it was a good way to get rid of wines that were not selling very well. (oh synical me!) Cabin was roomy enough and staff attentative. There was one evening we attended a show and there was a very good ventriloquist - had everyone in tucks laughing. Saw him again a few nights later - different program - very good. Plenty of excursions and it depended on how much you wanted to do. We generally chose to do our own thing visiting museums, botanical gardens. Being elderly did not want to over tax ourselves. One point - we had requested a cabin in a quiet location. It was great until the last few days when it sounded as though there was a child running and jumping overhead. We ignored it initially but the next evening (usually between 5.00 pm and 8.00 pm the noise started again. I phoned the 'Front Desk' to ask could someone have a word. Nothing appeared to happen. Next night - again the noise started up only more so. Rang 'Front Desk' again. A representative came to the cabin to talk to us - by this time it had gone a bit quiet. Whilst we were talking there was some noise but not as much. The representative said that they had tried calling the cabin but had not received an answer so they had not been able to do anything. (Don't think it occurred to the lady that perhaps the child had been left in the cabin whilst the grown ups were elsewhere.) She did suggest that perhaps we should use earplugs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Overall we would not have missed visiting New Zealand and Australia but would never ever go on a cruise that had so many passengers (1500). That is if we ever go again. On disembarking at Sydney, stayed four days seeing the sights. Went then mainly via Greyhound up to Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour (staying one night each). Then to Lennox Head via Ballina for four days. The Northern Rivers area is lovely. Great long beaches and very good weather. Finally we traveled to Brisbane for a couple of nights - again a great compact city with good public transport facilities. See the botanical gardens and the beach on the river where there are numerous eateries. Love to visit again. Greyhound service great! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We sailed on the Noordam in Cabin SS6109 ( a Signature Suite) as a novel way to spend Christmas and New Year and avoid all the hype that can be attached to buying and preparing expensive food and indulging in the giving of unwanted ... Read More
We sailed on the Noordam in Cabin SS6109 ( a Signature Suite) as a novel way to spend Christmas and New Year and avoid all the hype that can be attached to buying and preparing expensive food and indulging in the giving of unwanted presents. It could not have been much better. The small suite is quite spacious with a remarkable amount of storage and a very comfortable cabin and spacious bathroom. The shower could have been bigger but I have yet to find one a cruise ship that is big enough to suit me. I also think it is about time that shower curtains were replaced with b-fold doors. The balcony was large with enough space for four people in comfort. Cabin staff were very attentive and met all our wishes with a smile and professional service. The food was five-star. We opted for a late-sitting in the main dining room with a dedicated booking for two. The food and wine waiters were first class. The range of food was remarkable and we never found selecting a fine dining experience difficult. We opted to pay extra for one night $29 more), a lunch in the Pinnacle Grill and another in the same venue for The Cirque ($49). None was really necessary as the food in the restaurant for evenings and in the Lido (mainly buffet) were excellent. The only surprise in this department was in the Caneletto ($10 surcharge) for Italian fare which was very special. We tried to book another night but it was booked out. The ship was full but there was plenty of space most of the time. Entertainment was a bit ho-hum although a couple of specialty acts turned out to be better than expected. Drinks can be expensive although we shared a bottle of wine over two nights. Ou before dinner drinks comprised a litre bottle of gin and three splits for around $40. Excellent value. Of course, this is a ship which uses $US and insists on standard gratuities in US Dollars. When translated into Australian currency it can be pricey. We did not undertake any of the Holland America tours. We mostly had visited the ports of call previously and were happy to our own thing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was my second HAL cruise, my first being in October on the Maasdam out of Montreal. this time the ship was better (the Maasdam old at 22 years for a cruise ship) but still tired and in need of a refit although a beautiful ship. My ... Read More
This was my second HAL cruise, my first being in October on the Maasdam out of Montreal. this time the ship was better (the Maasdam old at 22 years for a cruise ship) but still tired and in need of a refit although a beautiful ship. My bathroom smelt of mildew and mould and despite the very best efforts of my delightful cabin crew who kept it spotlessly clean they couldn't solve the problem. My toilet was scratched and scarred and should have been replaced before I saw it. My cabin wallpaper was split at the seams - and although a lovely cabin the condition of both not good enough for the line. The crew were excellent, absolutely no complaints there but the food mediocre at best and cost cutting was evident in the vegetables in the dining room and fruit in the Lido. Having to pay $US1.50/75 for coffee after dinner was an insult - surely the line could absorb that, it would have cost that to process to the account!! As for $US150 to do the tour of the ship - this totally blew me away. This was outrageous!!!!! $US20 for the shuttle off Dunedin wharf (no other way of getting off there unless you were on a tour) was excessive - think of a family of two adults and three children who would be down $US100 before they got into town - totally unacceptable. The Wellington shuttle at $NZ10 return very fair and the others were free. On the upside the cruise director was excellent and I enjoyed most of the entertainment. A broken handbag strap was dealt with at the front office very quickly and efficiently and with no charge - I would have been most happy to pay for this as I deemed it an extra service. A piece of property lost from my cabin was quickly found in the laundry by my cabin steward and returned to me. The Captain's daily communication was excellent and we particularly applauded his dealing with a passenger who had been using unacceptable language to a staff member after the ship was unavoidably delayed out of Auckland - very well done there. A first class Maitre' D in the dining room sat me at thoroughly enjoyable tables (I was travelling alone) where I met delightful friendly people and after the first time, he knew me and knew I didn't want to eat alone. Well done. To summarise, I think the Line has much to improve on it's cost cutting penny pinching problems and dining room food.. I have cruised many times and have to say I would use HAL again but they would be my lower choice rather than preferred. 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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