5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Flew from hometown to San Diego to embarkation. Met my roommate in San Diego airport. We only had time to get luggage and then catch the shuttle to the ship. We were promptly put aboard and our cabin was ready for us as well as ... Read More
Flew from hometown to San Diego to embarkation. Met my roommate in San Diego airport. We only had time to get luggage and then catch the shuttle to the ship. We were promptly put aboard and our cabin was ready for us as well as Invitations for dinners, drink cards, chocolate covered strawberries (never was sure who sent them)and our cabin stewards, Setyo and Nita, greeted us before going to lunch. We dined in the Pinnacle the second night aboard. The food was perfectly presented and excellent in flavor. We had room service often for breakfast and it was delivered right on the time we requested with a smile and good morning from the waiter. All or our dining experiences were positive and enjoyed every meal. We didn't do many excursions until New Zealand and we were off at every port.. Beautiful country neat and clean with the most friendly assistance as well. All of our off shore experiences were positive as well. This was a bucket list cruise and it was a wonderful experience. Also, met some lovely people on board, The cruise critic Roll Call was well attended, I thought. There were three from San Diego and a great way to meet some of the others on cruise critic.. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We needed a cruise to return home to Sydney & the Noordam was leaving at the right time. We have never sailed on a HAL ship before, it was not our first cruise. Found the ship very nice, inside cabin very roomy & great ... Read More
We needed a cruise to return home to Sydney & the Noordam was leaving at the right time. We have never sailed on a HAL ship before, it was not our first cruise. Found the ship very nice, inside cabin very roomy & great service from our room stewards, The Buffett section was very nice & a good variety of food with exceptional service, the dinning room was also very good, liked the bit you did not have to book a table at a set time, you just turned up & sat with different people. The evening entertainment was not always the best. The lectures were very good especially the ones given by Jay Christofferson. Do not find Vancouver port the easiest one the board on they seam to take ages to get you on board. Our taxi driver dropped us on level 2 not level 3 & we had to carry our cases down a flight of stairs, with having a bad knee that was not easy. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We had sailed HAL once previously for a Sea of Cortez cruise which we thoroughly enjoyed. The entire cruise was a repositioning cruise from Vancouver, BC to Auckland, NZ however, because we are ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We had sailed HAL once previously for a Sea of Cortez cruise which we thoroughly enjoyed. The entire cruise was a repositioning cruise from Vancouver, BC to Auckland, NZ however, because we are not yet retired and the entire itinerary would have stretched our time off too much, we decided to pick it up for the Honolulu to Sydney segment. So when we got onboard, there were already many passengers who had been on the ship either from Vancouver or San Diego. Other than feeling we had missed out on some of the entertainment which came before we boarded, it was a good decision. We arrived at the port in Honolulu about 1:30 p.m. The ship was overnight here. About 800 passengers embarked along with us, but we were one of only about three other couples boarding when we did - so easy and quick! We got unpacked and went off to get reacquainted with Honolulu. Next day rented a car and circled Oahu - great day! Made stops at all our favorite places. Midnight on day 2, we set sail for Lahaina, Maui. It was a tender port and quite bumpy, in fact a fellow passenger fell between the tender and the ship, basically ruining her day while making her a minor celebrity. Won't attempt to place blame as we were not there when it happened. But we enjoyed Lahaina and then on to Hilo. Met up with good friends in Hilo and had a fun day. Then we were off for 5 days at sea on our way to Pago Pago, American Samoa. After Hawaii, the ports were all new to us and we had a great time visiting new places. We went to Vanuatu, Fiji, and New Caledonia. 10 ports of call in all including Hawaii and Sydney. As for the ship, I had read that it was getting tired, which I somewhat agree with, some of the furnishings - mirrored table surfaces in particular - were worn, but overall, it was a clean, classy, beautiful ship with enough room for all the passengers. There were some special little cabanas on deck 10 which seemed to get very little use. Also the spa therapy pool was underused. Should be opened up to all passengers. Of everything about our cruise, we most enjoyed the people - fellow passengers as well as staff. Service was superb and I'm always amazed when I read other reviews where people berate the staff in any way. Fellow passengers were open and friendly. We made many new friends. The enrichment program on the Noordam was wonderful. It is something we look forward to on any cruise. Bud Murch did a lecture series on Astronomy while Brian Stoddard covered the sociology of the South seas. Very interesting. We mainly attended Bud Murch's lectures and were enlightened and educated as well as entertained. Well done!!! The Hawaiian Troupe was very fun and they provided music and Hula along with local crafts and ukulele lessons. Great! Other entertainment was good with musical shows, comedians (loved seeing Bud Anderson again), ventriloquist, pianist, harmonica aficionado and magic/comedy. Was disappointed not to find any live music out on deck. Fellow passengers loved Adagio, a violinist/pianist duo and the pianist in the piano bar. We fell in love with Sydney. Can't say enough nice things about this place. People were especially friendly for a city of its size. For my usual complaints, smoking on the balconies is still permitted, drinks and excursions are overpriced. We did not use the casino. We booked shore excursions from local vendors (which is why I did not rate shore excursions) as we arrived and were not disappointed. Would definitely sail on Noordam again. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
This cruise was chosen strictly for itinerary, which was a long-held dream come true. The ship and cabin got very old, very fast. Surely, the cuisine could have more variety -- all those chefs that claim to have input! Cabin attendants ... Read More
This cruise was chosen strictly for itinerary, which was a long-held dream come true. The ship and cabin got very old, very fast. Surely, the cuisine could have more variety -- all those chefs that claim to have input! Cabin attendants were superb -- could not do enough for us. Wish they had a better product to offer. The terrifying toilet (watch out!) and the much-too-heavy bath door destroy any illusion of luxury. That illusion is further ruined by luxurious-appearing bath linens that seem to get scratchier and scratchier. Storage is quite adequate, even for clothing chosen for a longer-than-six-week cruise. No drawers except in bedside tables, but that is easy to cure by organizing with the biggest size of zip bags on shelves. Great laundry service -- we purchased the unlimited plan -- with the occasional delayed return of an item or two. Bed linens were lovely, as was the pillow selection -- mattress very hard, and the minus-fifty-degree rating on the VERY heavy down comforter makes for an uncomfortable. Warm, but heavy. If you can figure out the mystifying thermostat, bravo! And of course, the ubiquitous quandry -- which light switch turns on which light(s)??? That's important when your fellow traveler is trying to sleep . . . Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Having been on a number of cruises with Holland and having over 50 cruises of varying lengths we chose this one for the itinerary. While the entire trip was above average there were things like no hot water in our suite for the first ... Read More
Having been on a number of cruises with Holland and having over 50 cruises of varying lengths we chose this one for the itinerary. While the entire trip was above average there were things like no hot water in our suite for the first week, long dinners (2.5 hrs at times) due to insufficient or lazy waitstaff, desk personnel who couldn't or wouldn't take responsibility and help, and a cruise director John who was less than stellar. On the plus side our room stewards were exceptional, the on board lectures were absolutely great, and once the hot water issue was fixed our suite was good too. The BAND was also great being able to accompany a variety of acts brought on board to entertain. The security on the ship while getting on and off was the best I've seen on any recent cruise. They were courteous and helpful, especially since I couldn't go through their scanners. Holland America, in the past, has catered more to the crowd over 50, but now appears to be trending toward a younger crowd, at least according to the cruise director John and from what we witnessed on board. We regret this trend and feel there are other ships for families and the younger crowd to sail while maintaining a means for the older crowd to enjoy their cruise. We just may need to find another way to sail. They gave up the Neptune dance band, the singer in the crows nest, and other once cherished memories we enjoyed for those over 50. Instead they have opted for loud music, bright lights flashing into the faces of the audience and more of a disco or loud New York night club scene. The lead singers were not as strong as in the past but the dancers were good, when you could see them through the fog they constantly pumped through. There were a number of us who complained the fog made breathing more difficult, but Holland took no heed and the cruise director said it was all part of the show. The entertainers were exceptional except for the "mind reader" who constantly was speaking into his lapel microphone to his second on stage. It was almost comical he was so bad. Before ending I must send Kudo's and best wishes to Jackson, up in the Leido. He knew my name and started making my breakfast omelet the moment he saw us. Keep it up Jackson you started every day with your ray of sunshine. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
This was our seventh cruise on HAL but our first on the Noordam and certainly our longest at 39 days. We thoroughly enjoyed it, which is why we keep coming back to HAL, but are concerned that the cutbacks in service are continuing. At ... Read More
This was our seventh cruise on HAL but our first on the Noordam and certainly our longest at 39 days. We thoroughly enjoyed it, which is why we keep coming back to HAL, but are concerned that the cutbacks in service are continuing. At some point we pray that HAL will stop cutting back and maintain the quality that we have come to expect. We experienced the first cutback just after boarding the ship in Vancouver when we we told that there was no longer an embarkation lunch for Mariners, but a "welcome reception" at 2pm in the Crow's Nest. Since we hate eating in the Lido, we sorely missed the leisurely delight of lunch in the dining room. Sorry HAL, a glass of cheap champagne is no substitute! When we raised the issue with HAL staff, we were told that the embarkation lunch is offered at the discretion of the captain. Well I'm sorry Captain Draper, but the embarkation lunch is clearly dbescribed as a Mariner perk on the HAL web site. Perhaps the Mariner Rewards table should be updated to say "Embarkation lunch depends on the Captain"? Since we cruised last year, the dinner menu has been reformatted to suggest three courses instead of four by lumping the "soup & salads" and "appetizers" all into one group of starters. Most people still ordered two first courses, but the new format is clearly designed to encourage cruisers to order only one item. Access to Internet is a necessity for most people these days. Sadly, the on-board internet continues to be frustratingly slow and overpriced. HAL could easily charge by the MB downloaded, but instead continues to charge by the minute. US$275 for 500 mins is more than many people pay for six months of high speed internet back home. Yes, we know it's via satellite and that's more expensive, but to watch the minutes go by whilst watching a rotating icon is cruel and unusual punishment. At least do what Princess does and offer free minutes to higher star Mariners. Well, having got the above gripes out the way, I won't bore you with a list of everything that HAL does well (the food, the service, the entertainment). After all, that's why we keep coming back and give this wonderful cruise a four star rating. Special mention goes to Alan Wright, a retired professional astronomer, who gave some of the best lectures we have seen onboard, and to the on-location teams who gave us a taste of Hawaiian and Maori culture. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
This was our first cruise with Holland America, and we were not disappointed. We flew to Honolulu and sailed back to Sydney, a 15 night segment of a longer cruise. There were lots of sea days on this sector which is what we wanted to ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Holland America, and we were not disappointed. We flew to Honolulu and sailed back to Sydney, a 15 night segment of a longer cruise. There were lots of sea days on this sector which is what we wanted to just kick back and relax. If you are looking for a party this is probably not the ship for you as the average passenger age was probably 55-60+, which is also our demographic so it suited us. Initially we had booked a verandah cabin that was next to the glass elevators. Thankfully I saw a video online showing that anyone on the elevator would have full view of our verandah. As we spend a lot of time out there, we opted to change to a SY Suite (8047). That was a good move,and I doubt we will ever go back to a smaller cabin again. The ship is kept immaculate by very hard working and pleasant crew, who have a strong customer service ethic. Some reviews suggest the interior is dated, but we found it very comfortable and elegant. The public spaces are numerous and varied, and there are many interesting items on display around the ship. The library was particularly impressive with a vast array of material, a resident librarian, and a cafe. Internet connection however, is slow and expensive: avoid if possible. We did find the temperature in the public areas a bit warm, and a lot of passengers were complaining of inadequate air con in cabins. Ours was fine, but we had it constantly on the coldest setting. We had preordered wine and spirits for both the cabin and the dining room, and prebooked dinner in the Pinnacle Grill and Le Cirque. All services were delivered exactly as requested with no hassle. The Pinnacle Grill is worth the small surcharge, but we were extremely disappointed with Le Cirque and would not recommend that. However, the Master Chefs Table is worth the additional charge for a special treat. We were pleased with the Vista Dining room, which had a constantly changing menu for dinner. We had free time dining and had to wait a short while for a table on only 2 occasions. Food was always well cooked and arrived hot. The buffet is also very pleasant, with plenty of choice and chefs on hand to plate your food. Room service also gets a thumbs up from us. The Lido snack bar, BBQ, fruit buffet and more, all helped to add variety and interest to the dining options. It is impossible to go hungry! Overall, dining gets an 8.5/10 from us. A variety of evening entertainment was on offer, everything from classical music recitals, to piano bar and the Vista Lounge shows. There was sufficient to keep you occupied although none was a stand out for us. Similarly, there were lots of activities on offer during the day, and effort went into providing variety. We enjoyed the daily presentations of the guest speakers, and the Digital Workshop. We also participated in the on board fundraising walk for cancer organisations . Happy hour in the Crows Nest became part of our routine to watch the sunset and catch up with fellow cruisers. This was our first time on Holland America and we would definitely cruise with them again. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
We are experienced Holland America cruisers with this being our 5th (out of 11) with the company and second on Noordam since 2012. It could well be our last. We can understand first time cruisers being satisfied, happy even, with their ... Read More
We are experienced Holland America cruisers with this being our 5th (out of 11) with the company and second on Noordam since 2012. It could well be our last. We can understand first time cruisers being satisfied, happy even, with their experience because it had a lot going for it. However when you are able to compare with previous trips the quite noticeable drop in standards are very apparent. Clearly the bottom line has become critical and cuts to service and quality are very evident. Nowhere is this more apparent than with the quality, choice, quantity and presentation of the food, particularly in the main dining room where it would appear that the menus are planned by accountants rather than chefs. HAL promotes its 5 star dining experience. Yes, in the specialty restaurants this is appropriate but you pay the surcharges for this. However, comparing what we have experienced on previous Holland America cruises, the last being November 2014, and particularly with dining experiences on other cruise lines the standard has plummeted and is more worthy of two star at best and at worst some meals as one star! Yes, sitting down to a meal, served by wonderfully friendly stewards, on a ship visiting interesting places for the first time is all new and great but...(kids enjoy their first trip to Pizza Hut) The profile of HAL target cruisers are older, perhaps retired, comfortable middle class people. Their ships are not for the young, excitement, party, with kids people with water slides, climbing walls, throbbing discos, ice skating rinks, rock bands etc. What we and others of similar ilk look for in our shipboard experience has been met quite well by HAL in the past. Good but not opulent accommodations, attentive staff, quality entertainment, quiet places to read and have a chat, good library and interesting lectures, classes and activities and very importantly a relaxing pre dinner drink before a quality dining experience in the dining room. Remove this last component and a major reason for choosing that particular cruise company goes. With repeated substandard meals the positives of the days get lost in the disappointment of the meals particularly when other companies cater (literally) for this better. If HAL doesn't address this then its major client base will become increasingly disenchanted and look elsewhere as we are doing. Two asides: How serving staff in the Lido buffet get away with placing and arranging food on your plate by hand (albeit gloved) is beyond me and makes you wonder what sort of standards go on and are accepted behind the scene. Sitting together on a tender ride we spoke briefly with two other experienced cruisers who had joined the Noordam from another connecting cruise immediately prior to joining this one. It was the first time for them on HAL. On hearing that we had been on four previous cruises with HAL they asked "Is it (the food) always this bad and if so why do you keep going with them?" They also suggested that some of the food offered in the buffet wouldn't be acceptable at a school boarding house. They won't travel HAL again. Yes if you haven't cruised before, you will have a good time. However if the bar has been set high by previous experiences you could well be disappointed. Read Less
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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