105 Sydney (Australia) Holland America Noordam Cruise Reviews

This was a 30 day that was a rd trip from Sydney. Tasmania, Kangaroo Island, Melbourne, up the Queensland coast with several stops then Papua New Guinea (3), Conflict Islands, Cairns, Great Barrier Reef and Brisbane. The crew was second to ... Read More
This was a 30 day that was a rd trip from Sydney. Tasmania, Kangaroo Island, Melbourne, up the Queensland coast with several stops then Papua New Guinea (3), Conflict Islands, Cairns, Great Barrier Reef and Brisbane. The crew was second to none! Fantastic food and service. Really good entertainment of all types brought on at many ports. Really enjoyed America's Test Kitchen and band in BB King. 4 Happy Hours every day. 2 each in 2 lounges. Jai, the CD was really professional but fun and very approachable. He is Dutch as most officers are. The mainly Filipino and Indonesian crew go out of their way to make you happy. We are Elite on Princess and Platinum on Carnival. Had only sailed HAL 25 years ago and were bored. This was far from It! We had a wonderful time and have already booked a 28 day to China and Japan. No, it's not all old people (I thought it would be). Granted very few children but guests of all ages. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This was our third HAL cruise and the first on the Noordam. It was an relocation cruise of 24 days from Sydney to Vancouver with stops in New Caledonia, Fiji, Vanuata, Pago Pago and Hawaii. There were numerous seas days but given the ... Read More
This was our third HAL cruise and the first on the Noordam. It was an relocation cruise of 24 days from Sydney to Vancouver with stops in New Caledonia, Fiji, Vanuata, Pago Pago and Hawaii. There were numerous seas days but given the on board activities these days went quicker then expected. The cruise was blessed with good seas throughout and perfect weather except for a steady fog for the days between Hawaii and Vancouver. When we boarded the Noordam was at the end of its Australian based cruises but despite this the crew were friendly and attentive as if it was the first cruise. The ports of call, about half of which were tender ports gave us plenty of time to explore and were well organised. Pluses on the cruise were the Ex tour director Heather who gave talks with an irrelevant sense of humour, the two cruise directors Jan and Isolda whoi made the numerous trivia games heaps of fun. One big plus that given the number of Australia and New Zealand guests on board the captain arranged for a dawn service on April 25th to commemorate ANZAC Day. This was presided over by Bill Crewes who also gave various interesting talks on the geopolitical aspects of the regions we were visiting. Talks on the geophysical and fossil history of the region were done by Phil Cressey, again very interesting. The nightly entertainment was varied throughout the cruise with different sets of performers doing different stages of the cruise. Of these Sarah Moir was the most surprising and entertaining. The food was up to normal HAL standard with lots of variety and it was good to see that a proper salad bar is now an option. During the cruise we crossed the international date line on my birthday so that I was able to have two birthdays in the same year. My wife shouted me dinner in the Canaletto restaurant were I was presented with a cake and a round of happy birthday by the waiters ,most unexpected as was the card from the Captain and Cruise Director. All in all it was a very pleasant and relaxing way to cross the Pacific and I would recommend this cruise to anyone with the time to do it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
I can say without reservation that this was the best service on a cruise ship we have experienced. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The food in the main dining room was just okay. Gone are the days of elegant dining with ... Read More
I can say without reservation that this was the best service on a cruise ship we have experienced. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The food in the main dining room was just okay. Gone are the days of elegant dining with delicious food and large portions. This was our 24th cruise and this was the poorest main dining room food we've experienced. But on the plus side the casual dining on the Lido deck was some of the best we have had experienced. We like the fact that the food is served to you. The choices on the Lido deck were varied. The condition of the ship was and likely is not up to standards we have experienced and observed on other vessels. The carpets are worn in many areas. Many of the doors on the ship are banged up. The paint on the ceiling in the main atrium is deteriorating. The metal around elevator doors is banged up on many floors. When we arrived at our cabin there were several things we noticed right away. The shaver outlet in the bathroom was loose from the wall. A cabinet handle broke upon our first opening. One the handles on the bathroom sink was missing parts. And the coach in our cabin was absolute filthy. On the good side the coach was cleaned and the items were fixed within 24 hours. Last the activities on the ship were pretty limited and the entertainment not very good. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We decided to take a slow and indulgent route back to Canada from Australia and this cruise seemed perfect...and in general it was. Embarkation was quick and easy and the crew very welcoming. The ports were excellent with a great mix of ... Read More
We decided to take a slow and indulgent route back to Canada from Australia and this cruise seemed perfect...and in general it was. Embarkation was quick and easy and the crew very welcoming. The ports were excellent with a great mix of culture thrown in for good measure. The dining experience was very good, thanks mainly to 2 very attentive waiters and a section manager who really seemed committed to ensuring the best service for his passengers. The ship was good too with a fair mix of things to do in the evening...not always to our taste, but you can't please everybody. Without doubt the staff, as is usual for many cruise lines, are the stars of the show, making our time on board a very relaxing experience...until we went back to our cabin each night. As we readied ourselves for bed we would wonder what time the noise would begin in the morning For some reason HAL decided to upgrade us from the large inside we'd chosen at booking to an obstructed outside, despite us requesting 'no upgrades'. Most mornings we were woken by either Deck Hands noisily rearranging furniture, engineers carrying out maintenance on the lifeboat or gear outside our window, or others readying the lifeboat for tender duty. Yes, I appreciate that all these things have to happen, but at 6am in the morning it's not funny...and precisely why we chose an inside cabin and requested 'no upgrade'. We complained at reception, but I try to be polite and respectful and probably didn't make enough fuss. We were told there was no alternative cabin available...but strangely the following day another couple who were being quite loud and angry were attended by a manager and got moved. Oh well, maybe I need to attend 'assertiveness training'. I'm glad we did the trip and we did have a great time, but the cabin situation did spoil it somewhat. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Firstly, disregard all the negative reviews of this ship. It is a meticulously maintained, modern ship with top quality food and staff. Many people reviewing relatively luxury cruise ships, like the ms Noordam, have silver spoons broken ... Read More
Firstly, disregard all the negative reviews of this ship. It is a meticulously maintained, modern ship with top quality food and staff. Many people reviewing relatively luxury cruise ships, like the ms Noordam, have silver spoons broken off inside them and tend to complain about ridiculous things, like slices of lemon. Holland America Line is by no means a party ship, or even a 'family-fun' cruise line. It is a cruise line designed for unwinding and relaxing with just enough entertainment to make you want to never go home. I am 30 and found this cruise to be fantastic, although I know a few party-animal friends that would be bored to tears on this ship. If you want to party, go on a carnival line. Also, I counted 9 children out of about 1500 people, and these children must have had their voice-boxes removed as they were quiet, obedient and barely noticeable. Ship The ms Noodrem is a modern, luxury ship designed to provide panoramic views without the weather disruptions (these ships were designed with cold-weather cruises in-mind). Expect lots of glass on the lido deck, overlooking the ocean. Expect heated pools and a sauna. The ship is exceptionally well appointed with modern amenities and brand-new trimmings. The ship has no worn carpet or torn furniture - that is a total lie. Cabin We had a balcony cabin just under the lido deck. The balcony was huge with good privacy and amazing views. I should mention we originally booked a balcony room on the 5th floor - I would not recommend this level due to potential obstructions from the tender/lifeboats found midship. The balcony room was large, comfortable, and well maintained. There were a few squeaks from the roof during rough seas but nothing to worry me. In the mornings and evenings, noise from above was heard but did not bother us in the slightest - would definitely book another room under the Lido deck. Dining Food was of very high quality except the odd dish, which didn't have much flavour. The formal dining room produced amazingly high quality food, with exceptional service. Worth noting, it takes about 2 hours from the time you order until the time you finish dessert in this formal setting. The lido market, the buffet, was fantastic. You could find a seat easily, unless you were fussy and wanted to sit near the huge panoramic windows (which we wanted to). Food was great although more variety day-to-day would have been nice. Entertainment This was probably the only issue I had. Entertainment varied from exceptional and hilarious to boring and embarrassing. The comedian was absolutely hilarious and the Noordam dancers were quite good however the guest singer, who did 2 shows, was embarrassing and ridiculous - she tried to be funny and was not. At all. I have seen some pretty amazing shows while at sea so I may not be the best person to judge the entertainment on the Noordam. Things like the BBC presentations were great but bingo was less energetic than what you would find at a retirement home. Again, I have played bingo on P&O, which, hands-down, is the most fun you will ever have blotting numbers. Service Service was the best I have ever experienced. Land or sea. The staff are courteous, friendly and attentive. They will bring you dessert without asking as they have noticed your favourite ones the night before. They were that dedicated and hard working, I often felt guilty. You could not fault any of them. Ports and Shore excursions. Although a little bit more expensive than other cruise lines I have been on, they were not over-the-top. Expect to pay 10-20% more for a similar shore excursion when compared to Royal Caribbean or P&O and about the same as what you would expect from Princess or Celebrity. Very good range and all the benefits of booking through the cruise line - cancellation refunds are instant should the excursion be cancelled, they'll wait for you if delayed and you're covered, somewhat, with their insurance. All in all, an exceptional cruise filled with friendly, traveled people who are happy to have a chat with you. Disregard the other reviews, you will love it, unless you're a teenager looking to party. If you are not sure if you will like it, you will, I promise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Chosen for the itinerary and Holland America excellent service. Embarkation was very well organized and done in a timely manner. Cabin was very clean and comfortable. Lots of storage. Cabin stewards did an excellent job. Always knew they ... Read More
Chosen for the itinerary and Holland America excellent service. Embarkation was very well organized and done in a timely manner. Cabin was very clean and comfortable. Lots of storage. Cabin stewards did an excellent job. Always knew they were close to help , very friendly and very efficient. Lido for breakfast was always crowded and busy. Staff did a good job in helping you find a table. Lido and Dive in for lunch we’re both great food and service. Main dining room open seating worked great always good service and great table mates. Specialty restaurants. Pinnacle wonderful. Amazing service. Canneletto good food but it is really just an extension at night of the lido. Entertainment is mediocre for stage shows. Music venues enjoyable but B.B. Kings volume is loud and louder. Great choices for shore excursions and shore staff very helpful and knowledgeable in getting information about ports. Disembarkation very smooth Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We had read the reviews on Noordam prior to travel and a lot were not very complimentary so we went with low expectations. All I can say is that the type of complaint I read previously makes me think those people would not be happy with ... Read More
We had read the reviews on Noordam prior to travel and a lot were not very complimentary so we went with low expectations. All I can say is that the type of complaint I read previously makes me think those people would not be happy with anything. Noordam far exceeded our expectations. We were delighted with practically everything on board. Our stateroom on verandah deck mid ship was roomy, clean, comfortable and well maintained...plenty of storage. Probably the best bed I have ever slept in....so comfortable with fantastic pillows. Loved it. The food in all restaurants, and we tried them all was exceptional. I think for the entire cruise, 13 nights, there was one meal I found not to my taste but that was my choice and I didn’t choose well. But the meal choices were terrific. The ship gives a feel of old world elegance. Some say dated and not modern. I say elegant. The staff on board were amazing. I think if I had to score out of 10 I would give them a 15. The Captains announcements every day became a highlight as we got used to his dry humour and his emphasis on washing hands. The fact his record for the healthiest ship cruising was a testament to his perseverance in keeping us on our toes. It was his final cruise before retirement and the crew gave him a terrific send off......he was obviously well liked and respected. There was plenty to do on board....it was non stop and could keep you occupied 24/7. The entertainment of board was good, in the main especially the Noordam singers and dancers. The ports were OK on this Pacific cruise but wouldn’t rave about them. Arriving into Noumea on a Sunday wasn’t great as nothing open in the town. The three is,ands we visited and accessed by Tender were very scenic. We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise on Noordam and would recommend this ship. Also the embarkation and disembarkation. Is so efficient and quick. Very impressed. Great holiday. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Noordam. Cruise to Pacific Islands On the 15/03/2018. Thirteen days The cruise was from Sydney at the overseas passenger terminal circular quarry Embarkation very very efficient. We receive a very good deal for a ... Read More
Noordam. Cruise to Pacific Islands On the 15/03/2018. Thirteen days The cruise was from Sydney at the overseas passenger terminal circular quarry Embarkation very very efficient. We receive a very good deal for a balcony guarantee cabin. We were assigned a BB cabin on 10004 deck ten. The Position near the Crows Nest lounge and the lido swimming pool was great. The cabin was in very good condition The balcony was small but accommodated two chairs. I had read in Cruise Critic reviews that the ship was rundown and needed a refit. However I have found the ship to be in good condition. I understand the dry docking and refitting has been postponed. The most used and best place on the boat was the Exploration Lounge with Internet ports and a very good library and a coffee shop. I believe that on the other ships of this class the Exploration lounge has been removed and this is intended for the Noordam refit. This would be ridiculous. The food in the lido and the main dining room was very good as was the Italian restaurant at night where service and food was excellent. Any time dining worked well for us. The main disappointment was the entertainment although it did improve a little towards the end of the cruise. The entertainment director seem to be out of his depth It appears there was a lack of staff with only a deputy director. This is poor cost cutting, The Lincoln group and the blues band were very good. They did not compensate for general lack of entertainment. It was never possible to get into the piano bar. It was too crowded. The was a total lack of live bands in various lounges the Crows Nest lounge only seem to be used for the two for one drinks. It was totally dead at night in fact most of the ship seemed to be totally dead and lacking in entrainment. The port lecturer was good and informative. The cast in the shows were very good however the production was poor. The speciality acts were also poor. The movies were out of date and shown in an venue which was totally inadequate for watching a movie. There were only two cooking demonstrations in the same venue in the 13 day cruise. There were only a few trivia sessions and no game shows. No line bands at sail away. No real sail away parties. The entrainment staff seemed to be asleep at the wheel. In reading the blog on the world cruise Amsterdam and other blogs, Holland America seems to completely lost the plot in providing entrainment on the Noordam in Australia It was a very enjoyable cruise despite the lack of entertainment. The the staff and service was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
The cruise was the type of itinerary that I was Looking for, within in the time period available to me. This was our first time cruising and My Wife and I were really looking forward to our first cruise. I will preface my remarks by ... Read More
The cruise was the type of itinerary that I was Looking for, within in the time period available to me. This was our first time cruising and My Wife and I were really looking forward to our first cruise. I will preface my remarks by saying that I am easy going by nature and not overly fussy. Embarkation was from White Bay Terminal Sydney. This was handled very well and I have no complaints at all. The cabin was of adequate size in need of refurbishment, The cabin was clean and tidy. The TV was a complete joke. Dining was adequate, the better dining areas attracting a fee(surcharge). With the entertainment being very ordinary we read for most of the time. Entertainment was esoteric with charges applicable to many of the activities. Most of the activities were of no interest to myself and after talking to others on board they were of the same opinion Service was good overall except for the ubiquitous tipping. Applying a 15 per cent fee added to the final account at the end of the cruise while applying 15per cent tip on purchases made during the cruise. I would rather they pay the staff a proper wage, include the extra cost in the advertised price of the cruise. Ports of call:- due to inclement weather a number of ports had to be missed. This is out of the control of Holland America however days at sea were boring and tedious. Holland America line excursions were way too expensive, I was able to book my excursions on line before we left home and they were great at fraction of the price wanted for the ship excursions. Disembarkation was handled very well, and we were glad to get off. There were a number people who were of the same opinion as myself. Holland America should take note that most people do not complain they remember. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Only our second cruise, had previously sailed from Hawaii to Sydney in 2016. We were so impressed with that cruise, the brand and the ship. So we choose to revisit with HAL and the Noordam again, this time the New Zealand leg of the ... Read More
Only our second cruise, had previously sailed from Hawaii to Sydney in 2016. We were so impressed with that cruise, the brand and the ship. So we choose to revisit with HAL and the Noordam again, this time the New Zealand leg of the Pacific Cruise. We love the size and style of the Noordam, and having sailed before felt really comfortable with layout and facilities. Our cabin was on the main deck 1050, we were 3 males travelling together so the cabin had twin beds and the cabin attendants converted the sofa to a third bed every evening. Bedding,size of cabin were all really comfortable. Both trips I loved the dining facilities on-board, preferring the main dining area for most meals, breakfast and dinner. The quality, portions, presentation & service were outstanding. Don't like the Lido deck much at all, but that's just my preference. The Dive In by the pool makes the best burger, hot-dog and fries ever for a lunch time snack! The entertainment was quite boring this trip, liked the Noordam singers & dances but only performed irregularly. Piano bar was excellent, BB King's is good, the disco was appalling and the rest of the entertainment revolved trivia and an odd dance class. The cooking classes were good on the last trip but this time around a "new" commercial partnering left us bored. I felt this trip there had been a significant cultural shift in service, staff and management, and this was collective impression by us. Our "impression" was there seemed to be less people doing more work, staff seemed to be pushed harder, slightly stressed and less friendly. Found the entertainment director and his associates somewhat condescending and patronising at time and management generally the same. The service standouts were without doubt the dining & drink servers in the main dining room plus the bar staff in the Crows Nest. Ports visited were all interesting with Milford Sound first day outstanding! Due to the size and nature of the ports it was difficult to dock and weather reliant. We booked 2 excursions with the ship both outrageously expensive. The first was Wellington and the tour was very good, the second was Auckland and was cancelled due to weather conditions. The cruise was plagued by difficult weather conditions and can understand it comes with the territory. On the way up the coast we missed Napier due to bad weather, we missed Auckland and Bay of Islands due to weather, the captain retraced our steps and came back to Napier which was nice. Overall made us question if we would travel HAL again, and would certainly look at a fly drive option as a better way of seeing NZ Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Summary: We chose this cruise for the itinerary after first looking at a similar Oceania cruise; we saved substantially on HAL, and for this itinerary that was more important to us than the expected diminution of values relating to the ... Read More
Summary: We chose this cruise for the itinerary after first looking at a similar Oceania cruise; we saved substantially on HAL, and for this itinerary that was more important to us than the expected diminution of values relating to the cabin, passengers and food. We were very pleasantly surprised at the high quality of service we received from the Maitre D, Waiter and Assistant Waiter; cabin service was excellent and we found the crew as a whole very pleasant. Food and Entertainment greatly exceeded our expectations. Embarkation: We did not board until 2:30 as were were enjoying Sydney (we spent 4 days pre-cruise there and wish we had spent 6); when we did board the process was efficient and fast. We brought on board 6 bottles of wine purchased in Australia; we were charged for 2 immediately (and the others as we used them in the Dining Room). No issues there. Cabin: When we reached our cabin we received our luggage in short order; our cabin steward came by and we requested that the fridge be emptied as we were only going to use it to cool wine bottles and water; this was seen to very quickly and for the rest of the cruise the fridge, not being overfilled, worked quite well. Twice a day service kept the cabin in good shape. See below for more detail. Dining: We had an early assignment in the Dining Room as requested, and were seated at the higher level at a table for 4, but occupied only by us - this was better than the two top we requested. During the cruise the 3 course dinners were served very quickly (45-50 minutes) which was fine with us; we had time to go to the Lincoln Center and other entertainment thereafter if we chose. Service including water refills was excellent. If we wanted an additional appetizer this was never an issue. Given the temperature limitations of cooking meats on a cruise ship we thought the chefs did quite well; medium rare was usually medium rate though not as juicy as at a land based restaurant. Some of the dinner apps and mains were really excellent, including Veal Roast in a mushroom sauce, and perfectly prepared Tuna. Pretty much everything was good or better. We tried Canaletto one night; it was decent but not outstanding. Pinnacle was great for lunch, and good at dinner but the wonderful Bouilliabaisse served at lunch was unavailable at dinner. Sel De Mer (X2) was very very good, with the sweetest lobster with brown butter sauce, Torchon of foie gras, a heaping plate of very fresh seafood for from clams to crab legs for a measly $25, great truffled potatoes and a very good classic souffle for dessert. Cellar Master's Dinner was very very well done and a real bargain compared to more expensive dinners we experienced on Oceania's Riviera. Beef tenderloin had very good flavor. Desserts in all venues were usually quite good. We asked our Maitre D if we could experience an Indonesian dinner and he provided us with an off menu dinner one night and an Indian dinner another, both very enjoyable. Only had dinner once in Lido; had pasta and enjoyed it.We had all but one of our breakfasts in the Lido, which was very crowded; omelets were very well made in accordance with instructions; good smoked salmon every day; tried to get creamed herring every day but failed (despite promises); the only downsides at breakfast were absence of fresh berries and overworked wait staff making it hard to get beverage refills. The other down side, in virtually every setting, was the fact that we could overhear our neighbors, which was usually annoying and at times painful; I would vote for higher noise level so that we wouldn't have that repeated experience. The Ship: Noordam is not new, but we don't have a fetish about that and we found it and its condition more than good enough. There were a few leaks (one big one just outside the Lido) on rainy days but otherwise no issues. Covered pool area was nice on cool days; hot tubs being available early and last was nice. Music played in various public areas and the Lido was just a weird mix, though sometimes the crew liked to sing along. I was told that the same music is played in all ships which suggests that little though is put into it. Pinnacle thankfully had some quieter classical music. Compared to Riviera, the ship has fewer quiet public spaces but we found a few; there is at times a near claustrophobic feel especially when large numbers of people are rambling towards Vista Lounge for a show. The small cabins can get that way as well. Photography and Cruise Art areas which must be passed several times a day were tiresome as well (haven' been on a cruise with those in about 15 years), but this was a minor annoyance. Noordam still has a nice library (as of now). We had very good weather for the whole cruise and almost no rocking or vibration. Crew (Service) :Great, the Captain made timely and good announcements, Cruise Director was fine. Entertainment: Lincoln Center featured 5 very talented musicians playing different concerts 5 nights a week in a very nice dedicated space with good sound - a mix of classical concerts, and other types of music all played very well. This truly made a huge difference for us. BB Kings was enjoyable. The Comedian and Violinist who played at Vista were fun; I did not like the pianist "Hyperbole" Knight, who performed a Readers Digest version of Rachmaninoff, but I was definitely in the minority. Port information shows were very good. That's about it for entertainment for us: we didn't do trivia etc. We also didn't do bars. My wife enjoyed her one beauty treatment (expensive as expected). Ships' stores had a few pleasant items (magnets and earrings) but nothing serious. Ports and Shore Excursions: We did our own excursions except one ship excursion which was rather disappointing. Captain did a great job showing everyone Milford Sound. Very nicely arranged shuttle buses where needed. Passengers: the vast majority ranged in age from 50 to 75, with the largest number from the US, followed by Australia. The Americans were from all over the US, but the majority (from conversations we couldn't avoid hearing) were conservative and if they weren't comparing notes on their cruise experiences they would share their social observations; the group was much more conservative in their expression than any cruise I've been on; since we traveled in part to escape that it was disappointing. Aside from that e were very happy with this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Loved this ship. Beautiful suite on the Rotterdam deck, which was huge and luxurious. Scrupulously keen, and the American know hoe to do wonderful service. Plenty of staff for every want and we had two stewards and two concierges. The ... Read More
Loved this ship. Beautiful suite on the Rotterdam deck, which was huge and luxurious. Scrupulously keen, and the American know hoe to do wonderful service. Plenty of staff for every want and we had two stewards and two concierges. The Neptune Lounge for people in Suites was excellent, and just added to the excellent services. Entertainment a bit patchy, and the resident dancers and singers were simply appalling. Guest entertainers were pretty good mostly. Great food very day and the night time dining was exceptional . wasn't that impressed with the Pinnacle Grill even though we could have had breakfast there every day....preferred room service, Trip was a week in various parts of Australia, and then 12 days in New Zealand. Disappointed that our time in Fiordland was reduced and spent longer in Hobart (lovely place, not a lot to do). The only disappointment was the rude, foul mouthed, deeply offensive and downright belligerent Maori Troupe on board. I was amazed that they as staff could use the guest facilities making making it impossible for paying guests to use the facilities... e.g. the spa pools on the aft deck. They lay in there for hours (one was very obese and took most of the space so his fellow troupe members were a bit squeezed in.) They made it quite clear in a foul mouthed tirade that they weren't getting out for anyone......almost if you were white you should humble yourselves before them in view of what they allege their people suffered ( all grossly untrue as I was born and raised in New Zealand, and still consider myself a New Zealander). This was a great disappointment as by and large in NZ the Maori are mostly a lovely people. Other interactions with them were just as unsettling and upsetting. I found myself wondering why there wasn't an Australian Aboriginal Troupe on board. So whilst I enjoy, indeed love, the Holland America ships I think I will avoid the cruise to New Zealand again, because of this Maori "cultural" group. Read Less
Sail Date February 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
BACKGROUND: Took my mom on this cruise. It was #1 on her bucket list to travel to Australia. I’m 50 , she’s 71. We chose this 12 day cruise based on itinerary, not cruise line. It covered South Australia including Tasmania and was ... Read More
BACKGROUND: Took my mom on this cruise. It was #1 on her bucket list to travel to Australia. I’m 50 , she’s 71. We chose this 12 day cruise based on itinerary, not cruise line. It covered South Australia including Tasmania and was round trip from Sydney. I normally cruise on Silversea but have also cruised one time each on RCCL, Paul Gauguin, Celebrity and Azamara. HOTEL: We stayed for 3 days pre cruise at Hotel Intercontinental which is a fantastic location and beautiful hotel. I have been to Sydney 4 times and this was by the best location. Circular Quay really is the heart of Sydney and is the easiest location to venture to other parts of the city. Definitely will stay here again or Marriott which is also right there as well. EMBARKATION: very easy. Porters met us as soon as we exited limo. We went inside, filled out health questionnaire and proceeded to desk to check in., No lines, very nice staff. In a matter of minutes we were on board. FIRST IMPRESSION: I had low expectations honestly . Having read cruise critic before trip and I had googled photos. But much to my dismay, the pictures I had seen actually made it look nicer than it really was. I knew it wouldn’t be modern and shiny like Silversea and Celebrity but was shocked the second I walked on. It was terrible. Ugly dark blue carpeting, with bright red accents and the lighting was literally yellow with ugly brass sculptures and trim. I know this ship was built in 2006 but cant imagine it was even stylish back then. We made our way to deck 6 and as we walked aft to our room , I couldn’t believe how ugly even the hallway was. Ugly wall covering, peeling in most places, cabin doors that looked like cork and ugly blue funky carpeting. My heart sank..The ship is so dated and worn. I know it’s going in to dry dock for a refurbishment in May....but I’m not sure HAL will do enough to make this ship really competitive in the industry. There are so many new ships out there and ships being remodeled, I would think HAL must be losing ground. I noticed when I got home they are advertising a lot and wonder if they are beginning to have trouble filling up ships with all the stiff competition out there. CABIN: See below on cabin review...but we had a Neptune Suite 6177. LOVED LOVED the huge wraparound veranda. DINING: i prepaid 6 specialty restaurants ,,,3 for Pinnacle and 3 for Canaletto. I was happy to find out that we had the same 2 top reserved for the whole cruise in the Main Dining Room . I dont know if that is normal, a suite perk or our travel agent set it up for us, but it was a lovely surprise. I loved the food on this cruise. I thought it was better than Celebrity and not too far off from Silversea. There were lots of choices every night. After eating one night each in Canaletto and Pinnacle, we decided that although very good, I dont think they are worth the upcharge as the MDR was so good and I dont think they were better than the MDR in my opinion, so we canceled the remaining reservations at specialties. We also had very good service in the MDR>. Loved our waiter and asst waiter and we felt the service was quicker in the MDR and a bit slow in Pinnacle and Canaletto. I dont like to linger at the table for hours on end during dinner, so I appreciated the quicker service in the MDR. Every meal I had was good (except room service). The only thing we didnt like at the restaurants was a ginger chocolate cake one night for dessert. Had no flavor, seemed a bit “wet”...just blah. It wa like a major ingredient was left out . We only ate at LIdo Buffet twice as I hate buffets. We did salads for 2 lunches and they were good. LIdo Buffet dining room was always packed and hard to find a place to sit. Decor looked straight out of Golden Girls episode. ROOM SERVICE: Definitelly needs improvement. Without going into detail on each item we ordered....just seemed like it lacked someone doing quality control. Missing or short ingredients in salad, food not to temperature, omelette bathed in butter/oil, only hot milk brought for cereal, Every time we got it, we were disappointed. Fortunately, we had access to Neptune’s Lounge and there are always snacks and sweets there all day long. ENTERTAINMENT: I dont normally like cruise ship entertainment, so i didnt go to any shows , so I cant really comment . I can only say that friends I made on the ship didnt have anything good to say about the shows. SERVICE: Noordam really shined here. Everyone from our cabin stewards, to our waiters, to bartenders etc, were all excellent. Everyone was so nice and friendly and even though it’s a larger ship than what I m used to, i was surprised at how many workers knew my name and used it frequently. The only place where employees werent friendly was Explorations Cafe....I felt like I was in the “soup nazi: episode of Seinfeld. Order quickly then move down counter to collect your coffee and pastry. They didnt smile, didnt seem like they enjoyed their job, seemed annoyed if you didnt know what you wanted right away. OVERALL: It was such a mixed bag of experiences. While I loved the service and the food and the passengers were pretty social (unlike Silversea sometimes). The dreariness of the ship tarnished the experience. I loved the pool aft, big open space and never crowded. I never did the midship pool because it seemed like every time I walked through it, the roof was closed and they were doing some type of sidewalk sale from the shops and there were tons of people clogging up the space and being noisy. I loved that HAL has happy hour from 4-5 and 9-10. The bars were packed and a lot of fun and dare i say a great value for dinks on a ship! I got 2 gin and tonics or old fashioned s for $11 total including gratuity. Celebirty is outrageous...so I was very pleased. SPA: so while i dont do spa treatments on cruise ships as I think they are way too expensive, my mom loves pampering herself and so I encouraged her to enjoy. What I will say is that on day one, we did a tour of the spa and fitness area and was totally turned off/irritated. There was such a hard sell on this ship like I have seen on no other. I dont like when they wont take no for an answer. I had to get pretty curt in order to overcome their hard core selling pressure. My mom did 5 spa services and after the first one , she came back to the cabin with hundreds of dollars of unneeded and overpriced products. She’s very soft and easily influenced and the spa crew definitely knew her number. I was furious...feeling like they take advantage of an older person. GYM: old equipment and too small of a free weight area. PORTS: SYDNEY...MY FAVORITE CITY IN AUSTRALIA...BEEN 4 TIMES, LOVE IT! MELBOURNE: feel like it is overrated. Surprisingly, I didnt care much for it. We did our own thing...lots of locals at port to help with tourism advice. We uber’d Everywhere and it was easy. We did the Royal Botanic Gardens...Amazing!! It’s huge and gorgeous. Probably the best I have done anywhere. Then we went to St Kilda Beach. A great beach town south of town. Beach not as nice as many in Sydney, but clean. The village there has lots of local boutiques, restaurants etc...kind of a funky, hip town. Had a good lunch there in one of the many sidewalk cafes. Then we went to city center for some shopping. Ugh, what a mistake. Felt like just another huge city, with too many cars , people etc....it was claustrophobic....didnt feel like it was unique or interesting. General consensus of my happy hour friends that night was the same....Melbourne was a bit of a disappointment. ADELAIDE: we overnighted here. However, it’s a 45 min train ride into the city, so not as convenient. Train was free that weekend....it isn’t usually, but for whatever reason, that line was free. We loved all the beautiful architecture in Adelaide. It’s a smaller city which I liked and easy to walk. We also did the botanical gardens there which were very nice as well. Shopping is good ...they have a huge pedestrian mall/street there with anything and everything you would want...and lots of restaurants. Seemed to be the hub of the city. . Would definitely go back. PORT LINCOLN: small town of about 15k. Did a ship excursion that gave us a bus tour of the highlights of this fishing village. Then we walked around the town, poked in some shops. Some might not like it since its small and not a lot to do, but i love small towns and enjoyed the slower pace very much! KANGAROO ISLAND: wow....this was probably everyone’s favorite destination. Anyone we talked to , raved about this island. You go here for wildlife. We did a ship excursion..but you could easily do it with a rental car as my friends did. It’s a sparsely populated island and easy to drive around and see the same sights we did on ship tour. Its gorgeous, the seals are amazing, seal lions, koalas, birds , kangaroos etc...it was a very long day, but absolutely stunning and magnicient. PORT ARTHUR TASMANIA: We did a ship tour. It was an eco cruise along the coastline for about 3 hours. It was a wild crazy fun ride. Swells were huge.....but it was such a gorgeous ride. A couple people got seasick...but the rest thought it was exhiliarating! HOBART TASMANIA. We did ship tour here to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. They only gave us 1 hour here which was disappointing. Lots of kangaroos to feed and pet. But lots of other Australian wildlife. This place isi great and no one wanted to leave. Then we went to historic town of Richmond....no tour...just dropped us off the bus and gave us an hour to walk around. Town was boring...even the shopping wasn’t very good. My big purchase there was a Red Bull to keep me awake. Once back to Hobart, we walked over the city. REally cute quaint city...in particular the trendy area of Salamanca....beautiful old buildings turned in to cool restaurants and shops...loved it. DISEMBARKATION ...super easy and quick....took the ship arranged bus to Sydney airport for flight home. We had an amazing vacation and loved our trip, our time together, the food , the amazing new friends I met on the ship...just wish it had been on a beautiful ship where I felt more upscale and special. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
For the itinerary of southern Australia, which was great. However, we felt Holland is not as good as in past cruises. The main complaint is Dining Room (We used anytime) menu which is so limited and quit frankly other then the beef not ... Read More
For the itinerary of southern Australia, which was great. However, we felt Holland is not as good as in past cruises. The main complaint is Dining Room (We used anytime) menu which is so limited and quit frankly other then the beef not really good. Vegetables all cooked to death and hardly any green ones, like broccoli, green beans, etc. and you didn't even get more then 5 string beans or 3 halves of brusell sprouts. I know it is not quantity, but vegetables are good for you and go with a meal of meat. Pastas at lunch quite good but not offered each night in dining room. The daily offerings need to have shrimp cocktail back on it , many nights I went without appetizer, as nothing was to my liking. The service has not been as good as in past, like a shortage of help. Wine stewards slow in getting to tables. Room and Cabin Stewards no complaints in fact some of the best we have had. Casino was good and so was most of the entertainment. Holland needs also to get with the Wifi service and offer it at better pricing or as a perk for booking. And work on those menus. Acutally Lido meals were better then dining room offerings. I am a 4 star but will look to become that on another line that offers better food and perks for bookings. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We choose HAL because we liked the Itinerary, as it was our first cruise to New Zealand and Australia. It was also our first time on HAL. The food on the Noordam was excellent, with a lot of variety, great presentation. We enjoyed all ... Read More
We choose HAL because we liked the Itinerary, as it was our first cruise to New Zealand and Australia. It was also our first time on HAL. The food on the Noordam was excellent, with a lot of variety, great presentation. We enjoyed all food areas the buffet was great, The Pinnacale was fantastic. The ship is an older ship as other reviewers indicated the staff does a great job keeping it clean and looking good...however, it needs to be refurbished. We enjoyed the captain and felt he Had a great sense of humor, was always reminding cruisers to wash there hands and kept safety at the for front! One of our favorite bartendars was Jude and he works up at The Sea Pool Bar, he always has a smile on his face, remembers everyones name and what they like to drink. We found all the staff on the ship to be happy and ready ro assist. Most of the staff has been with HAL for years, which says a lot about the cruise line. We found the entertainment lacking on the ships in compairson to other cruise lines, the casino was very dissapointing with regards to the variety of slot machines. On other cruise lines, we have found a lot to do and activites that go all day and evening...on HAL we were sometimes bored, maybe it is the average age group on the ship? However, we just didnt find alot of activities that appealed to us...the most excitement was either in The Paino Bar or in the BB King Lounge...however, you odnt want to go there for 15 nights straight. We will try HAL again, but would like to be on a newer ship and with more activities. Shore Excurisons are very expensive on HAL so we used outside companies while in port and can highly recomend Viator and Zealanider Tours. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
15 day Christmas and New Year cruise on the Noordam it sounded wonderful we had sailed with Holland American befor but it was our first time on the Noordam We Decided to pay the extra and book a Signature suite but was upgraded to a ... Read More
15 day Christmas and New Year cruise on the Noordam it sounded wonderful we had sailed with Holland American befor but it was our first time on the Noordam We Decided to pay the extra and book a Signature suite but was upgraded to a Neptune Suite we were very excited with this came prioritie boarding it was so good we got on the ship so fast.The first impression of our suite was fantastic,large room extra large wrap around balcony we were at the back of the ship good location .Our problems started from the first day . We had a good size bathroom .I noticed a great deal of mold between the tiles in the shower and on the floor I called our room Stewart and asked him to clean it before we would use it he did twice then a maintenance person came to inspect it and we were informed it wasn't mold but the bathroom needed grouting this person came to do the job and he stated it didn't need grouting it was dirt and he reported it again again they tried to clean it this all happened befor we left port not a good start and it's not what you would expect to happen in any cabin category.Then we tried to use the toilet on the first day but found problems with flushing they came and fix it we hope our toilet broke down every day for the first ten days out of a 15 day cruise we often had to find a public toilet to use we weren't happy this issue causes us a great deal of stress.Our bed doona was dirty,stained and it smelled I had to request all the linen to be changed at once .Then on top of all this I sent a new skirt to the cleaners and it came back with a big cut and no explanation. On board the staff are limited to what they can do to help if something goes wrong once I returned to Sydney I have sent several emails to Holland American head office but have had no reply or acknowledgement of my email it would seem they don't want to know You once your cruise has finished .Now about the ship good size very friendly staff food is basic ,room service is good but the menu is the same daily, not much to do on see days that doesn't involve money,excursions are expensive if you book on the ship We booked all our excursions On sure for a fraction of the price you can also do deals with taxi drivers to take you around we did and had a wonderful time and if you can get extra people to go with you you can split the cost. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We are an early 40's married couple who travel permanently and have taken about 10 cruises in the last 18 months. We have sailed HAL, Celebrity, NCL, P/O Australia and Regent. Our previous experience on HAL has only been on the ... Read More
We are an early 40's married couple who travel permanently and have taken about 10 cruises in the last 18 months. We have sailed HAL, Celebrity, NCL, P/O Australia and Regent. Our previous experience on HAL has only been on the Koningsdam. We chose this cruise to celebrate Xmas and NYE after loving a similar cruise last year and to see some of the south pacific we have not visited before. We had amazing weather on this cruise and very smooth seas which helped make it a great cruise. As with our other HAL cruise the average age of fellow passengers was quite high and the overall vibe of the ship more conservative than what we have found on Celebrity and NCL. We embarked in Sydney (where we are originally from) at the White Bay terminal. Embarkation was reasonably smooth bar the annoyingly condescending terminal staff who seem to suffer from self importance delusions. The Noordam is similar in size to most other ships we have been on. The layout was simple to follow. It is about 10 years old and probably needs a make over. The theme is nautical with dark colours. It was kept very clean and seemed to be maintained well. We loved the promenade deck which was a nice place to walk and a great place to relax in the shade and we had no problem finding a lounger. The explorations cafe is a nice large area with books and games. The crows nest was also a favourite and much better than on the Koningsdam. There were 2 pool areas on either side of the Lido. We had an inside cabin which we found smaller than other cabins we have had. The storage also felt less than usual. The bed was large and very comfortable. The tv was basic but we rarely used it. The shower was a bit small and we didn't like the use of a curtain. Also the layout meant that one person exiting the bathroom while the other was getting changed was completely incompatible and dangerous if a warning was not given of exiting the bathroom. Our attendant was superb. Dining: Breakfast we either used room service or the Lido. Room service was on time but the eggs were awful (powder I assume). The Lido had good options with different egg options, different bacon and plenty of smoked salmon with a reasonable selection of breads. We like that it is not self serve although it did make it slower. The layout of the tables etc was good and service was reasonable. We used the MDR for lunch on sea days and always prefer it there, food was basic but tasty. Other times we had a burger from the burger bar which are a high standard or a freshly made salad from the Lido (great healthy option). Dinner - we didn't use the specialty restaurants as did on our last cruise and found them to be inconsistent, it also annoys me that most of the other patrons are staff and officers and hence you feel like you are subsidising them. The MDR had good quality food (not bread) and in particular desserts were the best we have seen for some time. Service was generally very good although on the few occasions there was an issue they were poor at dealing with (eg a hair in one of the dishes did not receive an apology or even a change to another dish). The issue was the seating at the MDR, queues were common, reservations did not help as you still had to join the same queue. Requests to eat at other times didn't help either. The sommeliers were far too slow and often we did not get any wine until half way thru our main course and in the end I often left the MDR and got my own from nearby bars. Entertainment - we appreciate the effort the ship made for Xmas (lots of carols, decorations, xmas food, special cocktails etc) and nye (fun outdoors party). The production singers were of a high standard but some of the shows seemed very short and it would be good to see a live orchestra used more. Guest entertainers were mostly singers and generally entertaining. Jo Little was a highlight. The cruise director was friendly and knew us by name and we found him (Andy Knox) to be highly visible. He was usually at the tenders in the morning and could always be found fraternising after the shows. Erin the assistant cruise director was absolutely charming and took on a huge amount of activities and dj'ing. We enjoy activities and found this cruise to have less than normal especially in comparison to NCL or P/O. Some more dance classes would have been great. The cooking demonstrations were so tedious we didn't bother. The aboriginal art and didgeridoo classes were terrific. Service was generally of a high standard. The front desk was inconsistent in knowledge and generally rude in dealing with accounting errors (always their fault but always presumed it was ours). Bar staff was about average but generally friendly but they would at all times try and get you to order away from the bar and use a waiter. This is fine but then they would always give priority to those who refused and stayed at the bar. We bought the SBP, we think it is a good deal for us as we like to try a number of different drinks and allows us to get sparkling water regularly and plenty of specialty coffees. We also like that we can take unopened drinks back to our cabin. The wine choices were too limited. There is a 15 drink limit which is fine but there is a lot of confusion around whether this is only alcoholic drinks (all bar tenders say it is and front desk says it is not - poor policy) and there is no way of the ship keeping a record?? The itinerary was mostly beach oriented which was fine by us and we found some great snorkelling options. Noumea - xmas day so most things closed. We went to duck island using the lyvia HOHO. Very nice snorkelling. Isle of Pines - spectacular place - we snorkelled all over Kunamera Bay (not just the rock) and walked and relaxed on Kuto Beach. Private tours were available but not to the natural aquarium which was a shame. Lifou - we spent the entire day at Jinek Bay as it was a snorkelers paradise! Mystery Island - unfortunately blue bottles on the snorkelling side so just relaxed on beach. Port Villa - fought off the touts took a water taxi to town and then a bus out to the cascades. Nice place but expensive for what it is then walked to the Secret Garden which was ok. Luganville - ignored touts walked into town and finally found a fair taxi. Went to million dollar point, took canoe on riri river and blue hole and did water dance cultural visit. Champagne Bay - snorkelling and beach. Easo - only half day so went to the beach and snorkelled. HAL has price guarantee on tours but it was obvious they threatened local ports to not allow tour companies to offer private options. Disembarkation very easy. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We enjoyed the whole cruise experience on Noordam -HAL, cruise for 15 days over the Christmas New Year period. It was good value for money compared to other cruise line offerings for the same period. We have cruised with HAL many times and ... Read More
We enjoyed the whole cruise experience on Noordam -HAL, cruise for 15 days over the Christmas New Year period. It was good value for money compared to other cruise line offerings for the same period. We have cruised with HAL many times and are now nearing the achievement of 4 star Mariner status. The ports on this cruise were in some cases a repeat of the 2016-2017 Christmas-new Year cruise. We booked a guarantee balcony cabin and were very happy to be allocated a VA category cabin on deck 5 . The cabin showed damage on the wall presumably from luggage. There is a life boat underneath the balcony which did not obstruct the ocean view from the balcony apart from looking down to the promenade deck. There was noise associated with the lowering of the boat for tender ports.,usually about 7a.m. We ate mostly in the main dining room. The food was good to very good judged from the standard of what we paid.. The Lido is very busy most of the time with a variety of food from international to Asian. The ice cream counter is open all day and serves delicious ice cream and other desserts and cookies.. The standard of service and friendliness of the staff on HAL ships is without equal and this cruise was no exception. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I am not a complainer and prefer positive feedback. This is a little of both. I can only compare to P. & O. Stateroom, food, staff exceptional. I did not find as much fun as P. & O. lines. The Gala nights were almost not, ... Read More
I am not a complainer and prefer positive feedback. This is a little of both. I can only compare to P. & O. Stateroom, food, staff exceptional. I did not find as much fun as P. & O. lines. The Gala nights were almost not, sure we dressed up but nothing special went on. I missed the buzz of theme nights. Activities were mostly, to me and my two daughters, boring. I mean who goes on a holiday to have lessons in cooking, computer and digital camera. The art was exceptional, the Spa was great albiet very overpriced. Shops were better than P. & O. and the bars were great altho the cocktails I love just did not taste the same as P. & O. We loved our rooms next door to each other and balconies which were opened so we enjoyed going in and out of each others rooms without having to knock. When I was sick it was great my daughters could check on me without me getting out of bed. The Restaurants were wonderful and staff everywhere as I said were exceptional,. Entertainment was mediocre but enjoyable. Summery: Theme nights more fun, activities which are fun rather than chores. Would I go on a Dam again. Not sure, but as an avid cruiser it is possible. I did win a "cruise" but was told that it is not actually a cruise you get whereas when I won one on Aria, myself and friend have a balcony suite for two and ten day cruise, so with P. & O. I did win a full cruise, have not rung yet but will be interested to see exactly what I won with Noordam. Excursions - unfortunately I am physically unable to get into a tender so could only do two shore excursions which I enjoyed immensely. I took a photography package and photographer was wonderful, we have everlasting memories. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We have cruised HAL before. previously Trans Atlantic and Med with Noordam and Baltics , Scandnavia on Konningsdam, WE loved all before and were prepared to travel long distance from Oz but now figured a cruise close to home would ease ... Read More
We have cruised HAL before. previously Trans Atlantic and Med with Noordam and Baltics , Scandnavia on Konningsdam, WE loved all before and were prepared to travel long distance from Oz but now figured a cruise close to home would ease the travel strain. We took the cruise for the ship/cruise not the destination. Another reason for the cruise was to compare HAL and Princess who we sailed the new Majestic in June. Maybe this review may seem like a comparison of the two....if you want a comparison read on. Firstly the ships are diferent sizes Majestic being almost twice that of Noordam. So embarkation was slower with Majestic but that may have been the fault of immigration/customs as we boarded in Singapore with Noordam boarding in Sydney. Of the 1900 guests on Noordam we were told there were over 1000 from USA , couple of hundred from Canada and only 200-300 from Australia and New Zealand. that really surprised us. With the Noordam being mid to small and Majestic being large there is no real comparisons to be made. you either like big or you like small. Personally we prefer small. Statistics show that both ships are rated 5 stars. Majestic is brand new whereas Noordam is kept in emaculate condition...everything works , everything looks brand new even though she is 11 years old. Maybe some of the chairs show some wear but with people in them all day everyday id be surprised if a chair lasted 12 months. The biggest difference I noted was the attention to detail displayed by the staff. Noordam staff took ownership of any problem whereas Majestic seemed to pass the problem back to the customer. The customer service desk on Noordam was frequently absent of customers whereas on Majestic there were constant lineups of customers wanting something attended to. I would say that on Noordam if there was a problem it was fixed whereas on Majestic it kept re-occurring...that would explain the disparity between the 2 ships. Cleanliness seemed better on Noordam, staff always polishing cleaning etc. I found that for writing this review Majestic has 2.6customer per one staff while Noordam has 2.39. Noordam is better staffed by number and probably better staffed by attitude and training. On the plus side for Noordam Ill also list the food court or buffet...lots better but we used it rarely and then generally breakfast...Noordam has the greatest selection of poached eggs anywhere in the world even on land. Princess has the best bread rolls at sea bar none. Dining room was on a par but Princess deserts win hands down. We did anytime dining both cruises and on both we were able to secure the same table (for two) after the second day and talking with the maitre di. Same good service. bar staff were comparable both great but Noordam drink stewards seem to have more incentive to chase you down....you rarely have to look for someone to get you a drink. Drink packages- I don't get them...cant drink like I did 30 years ago. But I do get the wine packages. Noordam was good value with wine averageing about $27 USD per bottle. If one purchased the bottle separately they were about $35 each. May seem expensive but at $9 per glass and 5 glasses per bottle this saves $10 on a bottle. On our 15 day cruise we purchased about 20 bottles all up so packages can be worthwhile. I remember princess was similar. Entertainment or lack is what let Noordam down. We ate at 7.45pm and there was generally no Band playing for the hour or so before we ate. From 6.30 pm the ship was dead until things started up about 8.00. We attended the late shows (both ships) and entertainment was similar...both good with the same mix of magicions comedians etc etc. Tours excursions were abundant on each ship...my suggestion to others is to do plenty of research before the cruise ....you can sometimes get the same thing for less off the ship. Finally the clientel age was similar with age mainly 55 and above. there seemed less walkers/wheelchairs/walking sticks on Noordam and people seemed to dress up a bit more. I noticed that on most evenings many many ladies wore outfits that would generally be acceptable on a formal night. I like this although I only wear a jacket and bow tie at Gala night. Most men were dressed smart casual. Here is an interesting observation though. On the second night I approached the Maitri di at the door to the dining room at 5.30 pm asking for table reservation. He obliged informing me not to come back with my shorts on...which I would not even consider knowing dining room rules. Maybe he was lifting the dress standard from the gutter where it is on some cruises. Finally...which ship? Noordam wins I think because it appears the cleanest healthiest ship. People appeared to be in better health with no coughing spluttering etc. But Majestic was more fun around dinner times. Its the smaller ship for me especially with what I think was better staff training and attentiveness. I believe Noordam does care . majestic gave me the impression of Oh Well. Next cruise....neither. We have 2 sets of cruises booked. the first back to back for 14 days. The second BTB 21 days.....both different from the Majestic and the Noordam...both sets of cruises are on 3.5 to 4 stars. It will be interesting to see the difference. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Friend had recommended. A last minute decision to take a holiday following long wet winter. Purchased just a month ahead of sailing, online, and overall very pleased with cruise. Very good value. Prices were discounted at this time. Calm ... Read More
Friend had recommended. A last minute decision to take a holiday following long wet winter. Purchased just a month ahead of sailing, online, and overall very pleased with cruise. Very good value. Prices were discounted at this time. Calm seas all the way from Sydney, Tasmania, NZ ports, disembarking Auckland. No rain, all sunshine. Met some lovely interesting passengers, mainly from Canada and USA. Met quite a few repeat HAm repeat cruisers. A few did say they had noticed cutbacks in some areas, particularly theatre entertainment. Excursions are expensive compared to same land prices as is wifi. But, if your tour is late back the ship will wait which did happen once I believe. Do take some of your own coathangers! Major shortage for some reason. Good cabin steward, a very happy crew, good atmosphere. We had a lovely time and would be a repeat passenger but not on main deck because of night noise from carpenters shop? so beware. Saw only less than 10 children during voyage. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We scored a great price on a 15-day HAL cruise from Sydney, Australia to Auckland, New Zealand. Perhaps the price was so affordable because a) November is a less popular travel window (our itinerary included Thanksgiving); and b) the ... Read More
We scored a great price on a 15-day HAL cruise from Sydney, Australia to Auckland, New Zealand. Perhaps the price was so affordable because a) November is a less popular travel window (our itinerary included Thanksgiving); and b) the Noordam is due for a significant refurb very soon, which is much needed because her passenger spaces are outdated and worn. The AC failed in our cabin the last four days of the cruise; they never could fix it though they brought us a fan which make the ventilation almost bearable. Itinerary: The Australia/New Zealand itinerary did not disappoint. Between Sydney and Auckland, we stopped at eight lovely ports, each with its unique charm and scenic/cultural offerings: Melbourne, Hobart, Dunedin, Akaroa, Picton, Wellington, Napier and Tauranga. We would definitely recommend a vacation Down Under. On-Board: As with all cruises, there is no shortage of on-board activities. The Maori cultural ambassadors were great, as were several of the other evening entertainers. Kelly, our on-board EXC tour consultant, was a real asset. She prepped us for upcoming ports of call, giving historical context and tour options to match diverse interests. Her commentary as we sailed into Milford Sound and thru Fiordland Nat'l Park made that part of the cruise all the more interesting. Dining: We dined mostly on the Lido Deck for its convenience and wide variety of choices. We did notice there seemed to be more servers peddling alcohol than clearing tables and bringing water/lemonade. Burgers and Mexican choices at Dive-In by the pool were always good. We ate at only one of the specialty (extra charge) restaurants -- the Italian Canaletto. It was our least favorite meal of the cruise, the food too unusual/bizarre for our taste. I order lasagna (what can go wrong?) and didn't care for it at all. The food and choices in the main dining room were good (we ate there about 5 times), but it takes TWO HOURS to be served dinner. That's just too long for our American lifestyle. Cabin attendants: Our room stewards were okay. We never saw them, and on the rare occasion we made a request, "Green apples in the fruit bowl, please" we got bananas, red apples and unripe pears instead. "Please don't close the curtains unless we are in port", but they always did anyway. I understand they have a heavy workload, which probably grows heavier every year as HAL tries to reduce the number of staff. What is missing: Having cruised with Holland American for a decade, we've seen a number of old "traditions" disappear. The beautiful ice sculptures, chocolate night extravaganzas, and any-time ice cream/dessert bars are gone. I'm sympathetic to the competitive nature of the cruise/hospitality industry and the need to cut corners wherever possible. I enjoy a good cruise experience for a bargain price, so some of these niceties are inevitably trimmed in the process. We will sail with Holland America again! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Heard good things about Holland America and we agree. Food and service was exceptional. Our room with a balcony was very comfortable. Only negatives were that the excursions were pricey, charging for water when going on excursions, and ... Read More
Heard good things about Holland America and we agree. Food and service was exceptional. Our room with a balcony was very comfortable. Only negatives were that the excursions were pricey, charging for water when going on excursions, and charging for very poor internet. The excursions were expensive and thought they could have had a better selection. However, most the stops were very accessible on your own. The major cities were very crowded and involved a lot of waiting. Also, thought their ship announcements were very hard to hear. The ship offered a Windows 10 class which was excellent and was filled most of the time. The instructor was very good and they just needed more space. The ship was exceptionally clean and there was certainly no lack of food at any time. The exceptional service on the ship really made a difference as everyone smiled and made you feel special. Would definitely recommend Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
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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