105 Sydney (Australia) Holland America Noordam Cruise Reviews

This review will not be lengthy but more to the point.Having completed our Sydney to Vancouver crossing from 8th April to 30th April ;I feel appropriate to comment on this ship Firstly the Noordam is a beautiful ship and we ... Read More
This review will not be lengthy but more to the point.Having completed our Sydney to Vancouver crossing from 8th April to 30th April ;I feel appropriate to comment on this ship Firstly the Noordam is a beautiful ship and we could not see any signs of wear and tear and the ship was meticulously maintained in all aspects.Perhaps a couple of carpet sections worn that's about all; but who cares really Food and entertainment all good.One area that did annoy me was the Lido area at night.Only open till 8pm is a joke if you are a late eater like ourselves.They usually only had 2 food stations open so queuing was the norm.That was okay in itself.The problem was you had to wait for food as they often did run out.The next problem was if you wanted more ;2nd's that is ; it was often too late as they would religiously shut down at 8pm Not a huge issue ; but i do like my food and it was good on the Noordam;probably our preference for that extra touch was for the dining room The Noordam had plenty of public areas and never an issue getting seating in whatever area.We loved the decor of this ship Our cabin was at the stern on deck 5.A great experience with the ever present wake and our balcony was big ;cabin 5187 small problem with soot from the funnels stained some of our clothes but we did not put any t shirts or the like out on deck after this People on board were great and we sat at different table each night usually 6-8 wouldn't do it any other way.Met Americans/Canadians/British people Ports of call were good even though we had been to many before.We like the long sea days so this was not a problem for us Embarkation was a breeze and as we boarded around 3pm in Sydney we walked straight on no one in front of us.Getting off at Vancouver was the same streamlined and efficient as well. And now for the worst part ; something that has probably turned us off sea travel for a fair time I would say; maybe forever FLU VIRUS ON BOARD! The 1st day out from Sydney we noticed a steward coming out of the cabin diagonally opposite ours.The only point of difference was that he was wearing a face mask.This caused alarm bells to go off.Obviously quarantined After a few days about it it was pretty obvious that MANY people on this ship were coughing and spluttering and being very casual about it.One woman coughing continuously on the open deck remarked to someone she was talking too "Yes I have a cough but so does half the ship ;so what she said" Great attitude to your fellow man So in due course after everyone being so considerate and health conscious my wife and self finally came down with this Flu virus "A or B" as confirmed by the ships doctor ($1000 medical bill).Our only saviour was that we both got sick in the last week after leaving Honolulu.We were both confined to our cabin for 4 days and during that time i did not eat at all ;I was so ill.I can honestly say I had not been as sick since I had the Mumps when I was 20 years old.Both my wife and self are very fit people slim and exercise daily as well. When we disembarked from the ship in Vancouver ;we were both very weak and my wife had developed Bronchitis which was bordering on Pneumonia after the Flu virus.We had to see a Doctor 2 days after we arrived as I thought we may have to cancel our Rockies tour.We saw the Rockies which was our highlight for 6 days I guess my gripe with HAL is that this Flu virus had been on the ship for some time ;from NEw Zealand or before in it's Australian cruise season.How do I know this because 2 of the stewards told us so I condemn HAL for not making passengers more aware of this spread and doing something about it.It was something that almost ruined our holiday and made us both very wary of venturing on a ship in the future.We are 67/68 by the way so not veterans yet! I must be truthful and say I would have given the ship a "Very Good" review in Value for money except for our horrific experience with illness and yes we did have Flu shots before we left Australia;doesn't cover all strains Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose Holland America as they are our favourite cruise line. Having an aft suite our embarkation was smooth without any wait although this actual cruise had commenced in NZ and there were already guests on board. The cabin was great ... Read More
We chose Holland America as they are our favourite cruise line. Having an aft suite our embarkation was smooth without any wait although this actual cruise had commenced in NZ and there were already guests on board. The cabin was great with no complaints. Dining always good on HAL with good choices in all areas. Service good and all our excursions were booked through cruise line. A few of our choices of excursions were not as expected though did not stop us from enjoying them. Entertainment and activities were sparse. It was our only down point of this cruise. Movies were shown in queens lounge which did not hold many people so missed out on what we wanted to see. There could have been more activities on board during the sea days and it became a little boring. Speakers did not give talks about much of interest to most and bingo was a waste of money with only four games per session. Sales days were not what we have experienced in the past - three or four tables of items only with total lack of interest by staff and cruisers. Word was the captain didn't want big sales on deck. Easter was just about non-existent. A couple of dyed eggs at breakfast. We are a married couple and we would sail HAL again for the exceptional service however HAL need to pick up on the entertainment side. Noordam is a good ship but we feel Oosterdam had more options as far as entertainment goes. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose this cruise to fit in with school holidays and to meet friends in Hawaii. The stateroom was excellent. See below. The ship was very lush and we enjoyed the ambience in every venue. All areas were well maintained and ... Read More
We chose this cruise to fit in with school holidays and to meet friends in Hawaii. The stateroom was excellent. See below. The ship was very lush and we enjoyed the ambience in every venue. All areas were well maintained and elegant. We knew the wifi would not be good, so we enjoyed having 2 weeks free of this. Dining. We could not fault any meal, whether it be in the Vista Dining room, Lido buffet, poolside or the specialty restaurants. We mainly ate in the Lido and always managed to find a seat at any time. There were little, if any, queues at each food station. We tried every station and were never disappointed. We never experienced food at incorrect temperatures. The food in the main dining room was very good, with small to medium portions which we appreciated. The Canaletto and Pinnacle dining rooms served wonderful food each time we visited them and the service was excellent. Entertainment. Every night we looked forward to the shows. There were great acts from Australia and at the end, a great a capella group from the USA. The acts were world class, (in our opinion) and were well received by the audiences every night. On a couple of occasions there was standing room only! Obviously the 8 o'clock crowd came back for more at 10pm! We were very impressed with all of them.We also very much enjoyed the BB Kings Blues Club on quite a few occasions. We had a great fun night on a "pub crawl" and enjoyed the piano bar a few times. Daytime activities were good, with our favourites being the daily team trivia, Happy Hour, food and wine pairing and a couple of culinary sessions and guest lecturers. We also enjoyed down time lazing in the aft pool, sitting on deck chairs and also on recliners in the Crow's Nest. We celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary with a Renewal of Vows ceremony. WOW! What a wonderful experience! The Captain presided over the ceremony(we were the only 2) and his wife was with him. We were overwhelmed with the attention to detail....champagne, finger food, corsage and buttonhole, photographer, wedding cake, dinner for 2 at the Pinnacle restaurant, flowers in our stateroom, swans and rose petals on our bed and a beautiful wedding album with our certificate, photos and mementos of the event. A magical night! Port excursions. We did a couple our ship excursions and 2 of our own. All were enjoyable (we were first timers to the South Pacific), even though the humidity was quite unbearable. I can recommend Ricky's Tours in Hilo, Hawaii. We met some wonderful people and thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. We would gladly go again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We had already been on the Volendam with HAL and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and this cruise was visiting the South Pacific and Hawaii. We were on board 16 nights Sydney to Honolulu we felt this was long enough for us and it was. ... Read More
We had already been on the Volendam with HAL and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and this cruise was visiting the South Pacific and Hawaii. We were on board 16 nights Sydney to Honolulu we felt this was long enough for us and it was. The entertainment was far better than on the Volendam we enjoy the evening entertainment in the Vista Lounge and the guest speakers in the day were all very interesting. We enjoyed our evening meals in the main dining room and the Staff did everything possible to serve us well. We chose a table for 6/8 which meant we sat with different couples each night. Therefore we met some lovely people from Canada America and Australia. We also enjoyed our breakfast and lunch in the Lido where the Staff were very helpful and we met lots of lovely people there also. In fact we met a lovely couple from Australia we had met on Volendam two years previous what a coincidence. The places we visited were very beautiful the small island of Davuni in Fiji. Our cabin had a balcony on level 5, it was great and we were looked after very well by our cabin boy. We only have a couple of things which we were not happy with. One was the cost of the Wifi and the fact that it was of very poor quality. The other thing was at the end of our cruise we needed the reception to call the company we had booked our transfer to the hotel in Honolulu with to confirm the time we would be disembarking the ship but they said they could not do it as we had not booked it through them, we had no phone so unfortunately we waited for an hour in the hot sun outside the cruise terminal and our transport did not turn up so we had to pay for another taxi and lost the Money we had already paid but I suppose this was a minor problem. We also contacted the chesty thing in the last couple of days on the ship which in fact turned out to be Whooping Cough which was confirmed by blood test by our local GP and we are still coughing now after 7 weeks. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
After several great HAL cruises we were surprised to find this one to be so disappointing. It’s clear that ongoing cutbacks are the order of the day now with HAL, along with a corresponding reduction in customer service. Starting with ... Read More
After several great HAL cruises we were surprised to find this one to be so disappointing. It’s clear that ongoing cutbacks are the order of the day now with HAL, along with a corresponding reduction in customer service. Starting with the positive, embarkation was easy as so many passengers were staying on from the NZ cruise. However, we weren’t warned that once on board new passengers weren’t permitted to go off the ship again. No reason was given for this which seemed odd as the other passengers were free to come and go all day. We were pleased to see there was a Mariners lunch in the dining room – one of the few HAL traditions still surviving. We had a verandah cabin which was an adequate size with plenty of storage. However, it was quite shabby with peeling wallpaper, old furniture with the varnish worn right off the table and the cane unravelling off the balcony chairs. Also, a piece of trim had come off the desk and never been repaired leaving exposed bare chipboard. HAL styles itself as 5 star – well not with these cabins. We’ve had 2 star hotel rooms in better condition. For the first time, we found the bed uncomfortable. We’ve always loved HAL beds but this one was well ready for replacement with a hard ridge down the middle and sagging to the sides. I kept waking with sore shoulders from bracing when the ship rolled to stop sliding to the edge. The general condition of the ship was also poor. There was excessive engine noise at the back of the dining room to the point that you could hardly hear your dinner companions. Some parts of the dining room and other select areas of the ship were permanently very cold. Meanwhile in the Lido, there was water dripping from the ceiling throughout the cruise as well as rust apparent in some place. Our stewards were fine but we couldn’t say the same for the Front Desk and other staff. Many people were having issues on the cruise but the response was generally a denial of the problem followed by a statement that they couldn’t do anything about it. We were travelling with a group of people who had various problems. Our toilet malfunctioned on and off during the cruise, with a minor flood one evening that fortunately was taken care of. There were similar toilet malfunctions all over the ship with some out of service in the public areas. Another cabin had inadequate air-conditioning at night for nearly the whole cruise. After several days of denying there was a problem, the desk accepted there was but said nothing could be done. A request for a fan was refused as all the fans had already been given out because lots of other cabins had the same problem. After escalating the issue, a fan was finally produced but the measly $200 OBC in compensation offered by Seattle for sailing in the tropics with inadequate airconditioning for two weeks was insulting. We heard similar stories from other passengers. One couple in a noisy cabin with bad vibration told us about the run around they got each time they talked to the Front Desk. In a hotel, you’d just check out and move to another one but at sea the cruise lines know that you’re trapped and have no choice but to stay on in an unsatisfactory cabin. It was the same when someone’s headphones were damaged after being removed from an iPad. The Front Desk said there was no proof it was the stewards. Well, who else removed them and left them coiled on top? Nobody else had access to the cabin. I guess the stonewalling had the desired effect as you got to the point where it became too unpleasant to report problems when you just want to relax and enjoy yourself. We’ve always thought HAL had the best food but not so much any longer. The food was generally OK but standards have declined. Often the food had too much fat, salt or sugar. With the concerns about growing obesity, it’s time the cruise lines started serving more healthy options. For instance, hardly any vegetables were served with main dishes. There was definitely a reduction in quality with poorer cuts of meat being served. A pork chop is now a tough shoulder chop rather a than a loin chop and we were startled to find that a main dish of a shrimp salad contained just two shrimp. When we queried this we were told that was the how dish came! We ate once in the Pinnacle Grill and enjoyed our meal. However, when ordering the cheese plate instead of dessert, it was disappointing to be presented with the same plate with three miniscule pieces of cheese that’s served in the dining room. When you’re paying a hefty surcharge for the top restaurant on the ship you expect to get more than standard food from the dining room. The food in the Lido was generally good with the best being the Asian station, the pasta bar and particularly the salad bar which is excellent. However, Lido opening times are very limited and although advertised as closing at 2pm we often found stations running out of food and closing just after 1.30 pm. Dive In’s burgers and fries were great as usual. The free ice-cream was very welcome but the desserts were mostly the same very sweet items day after day. We were concerned there were no staff encouraging people to use the hand sanitisers so it was no surprise that we both got the bad chest complaint that everyone had. You could hear the hacking cough all over the ship and I still have it three weeks later. This was a cruise with few ports and lots of sea days. However, the entertainment offered was woefully inadequate. Beside the classical music in the Explorers Lounge there was little other music in the evenings. The Piano bar was popular but always full and the BB KIngs are way too loud to listen to in comfort. Dancing to music in the Crows Nest appears to be a thing of the past and no one was tempted by that dark hole called the Northern Lights. The shows were mostly of medicore quality with the exception of the marvellous and energetic Patrick McMahon. There were no special events - no BBQs or poolsie parties, no sailaway parties, no dessert extravaganza, no sporting competitions, etc, etc. We were looking forward to the Crossing the Equator event, remembering entertaining shows staged in the past. There was nothing like that. Instead guests were invited to jump in the aft pool in front of a poorly dressed King Neptune and get out again. There was hardly any participation by the officers, no presentation of crew pollywogs and their crimes, no amusing speeches or antics. We didn’t know if this was policy or if Jeremy Whitehead, the Cruise Director, just couldn’t be bothered organising a proper event. We suspect the latter as his efforts were pretty poor throughout the cruise. There were queues of people for the computer classes and Trivia was very popular as something (anything) to pass the time. Even then, the timing was absurd with Trivia being cleverly scheduled at 1pm and 7pm to clash with lunch and dinner. Even Food Trivia was held at 3pm to clash with afternoon tea. Not that the teas are the special occasions they used to be. No longer in the dining room, they’re now served in the limited quarters of the Ocean Bar so if you don’t get there very early, you miss out. And for the first time, I was refused the option of a fruit or herbal tea. There was just one tea poured – no choice -and not everyone drinks Indian tea. I was told this was a directive from Seattle which seemed inexplicable considering fruit teas are served in the Lido. And the wonderful Indonesian and Royal Dutch teas are also gone. It seems Seattle is determined to get rid of everything that guests used to enjoy. Back to the positive, we appreciated Happy Hour with the extra drink for $2 and the canapes. The laundry package is still good value although friends had two items of clothing damaged. Needless to say, once again, the ship refused to accept any responsibility. We were pleased to find that the Noordam still has a proper library and Explorations café on the Promenade deck. This area was very popular and always full of people. We also love the wrap around promenade decks on the older ships and regret the news that they are being reduced on the new ships. We enjoyed many aspects of the cruise but in retrospect, with so few port days, it was mostly plain boring and very disappointing. No doubt the cutbacks are set to continue with little thought for what guests actually want. HAL is clearly not interested in updating its fleet of poorly maintained, older ships, and fighting the Front Desk to be heard is not our idea of fun while on holiday. So, after many years of great cruises, we intend to go back to land-based vacations. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Holland America obviously don't read these reviews otherwise things would have improved by now - or perhaps they just don't care! My friend and I boarded the Noordam in Sydney and I was very much looking forward to the cruise ... Read More
Holland America obviously don't read these reviews otherwise things would have improved by now - or perhaps they just don't care! My friend and I boarded the Noordam in Sydney and I was very much looking forward to the cruise experience - boy was I disappointed! The ship looks very elegant from the outside but inside it looks like it was decorated by a retired Dutch museum curator - who wants to look at antiques in glass cases as you sail across the tropical blue Pacific? The decor generally is dark, heavy and outdated, and the air conditioning very patchy. It is good to be able to walk continuously around the deck, but It is impossible to do laps in either of the pools which look like they belong in Disneyland, with massive concrete leaping dolphins and Neptune's chairs.. I was VERY disappointed by the lack of interesting entertainment. The priority of the company seems to be to flog as much as they can - art works, jewellery, beauty treatments, exercise activities, the casino etc. Many 'talks' were just thinly veiled attempts to sell, sell, sell and these 'talks' often had the prime time slots while genuine talks or activities (eg. trivia) were on a 9am. 1pm. or 7pm. There was no one looking after the library and solo card players, scrabble players etc. had to make contact with like-minded people by writing their name and cabin number on a list on the unmanned library desk so they could find a partner. Films were shown in a ridiculously small and inappropriate room (at a time when the theatre was empty!) where the front row seats were higher than the ones behind - meaning the people in the back rows couldn't see properly - plenty of frayed tempers. We mainly ate dinner in the dining room where we met some very nice, interesting people and generally the food was fairly good but, for my taste, the chefs use far too much salt. Generally on the Noordam the staff were very good (I can't say the same for the Veendam). My friend who has traveled with Holland America several times before said she very much noticed the falling standards and felt embarrassed. To add insult to injury about 80% of the passengers came down sometime during the 3 weeks with an extremely serious upper respiratory tract viral infection that was apparently bought onto the ship in Auckland - not a mention was made of it by management, yet all hell breaks lose when Nora virus breaks out! I can tell you the 1 ply tissues they give us were totally useless - I'd rather have decent tissues and forget the cutesy towel animals on the bed every night (think of the extra wasted time and washing these create!). Ten days later we boarded the Veendam (I can't be bothered wasting my time doing a separate review on it) to cruise the St. Lawrence Seaway and while I thought its public rooms were more tasteful than on the Noordam, the cabin we were allocated would not have looked out of place in a backpackers' hostel - after our protests and paying an extra $US500 each we were moved to a nice balcony cabin in the stern.The philosophy of this ship is the same as the Noordam - sell, sell, sell with the added insult of disgusting service in the Lido restaurant and incredibly poor organisation of loading people on to tenders etc. Also I was not impressed with the cost of the Wifi ($US55 for 100minutes on both ships). If this is cruising with Holland America, they can keep it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary which suited our plans to see a little of New Zealand within a limited time frame. Embarkation went without a hitch and we were pleasantly surprised by our stateroom on deck 8 complete with ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary which suited our plans to see a little of New Zealand within a limited time frame. Embarkation went without a hitch and we were pleasantly surprised by our stateroom on deck 8 complete with balcony. The Noordam is a beautiful ship in all respects with comfortable lounges beautifully furnished and kept spotlessly clean by the crew who were forever tidying and cleaning throughout our 12 night cruise. Special mention to our cabin stewards who looked after us so well during the voyage. The speciality restaurant was outstanding with first class food and service and the main restaurant offered a varied menu which was sufficient to suit all tastes.I would say however that the service was in my opinion a little rushed with plates being removed from the table before all had finished their meal. The entertainment was for the most part disappointing. The resident band in BBKings were good although their time on stage was limited to 2 x 45 minute sets.It would have much better to have had one performance nightly starting after the second stage show. There was also a disco which carried on at the same time close to BBKings lounge which for the most part was deserted.!! The Crows Nest lounge was the obvious place to have this disco and would have attracted a bigger audience. The Crows Nest was undoubtedly the best lounge on the ship but was for some reason greatly underused closing at 9.30pm each evening. In fact all the entertainment and bars including the casino were closed up by midnight. The evening entertainment was in the main disappointing and would influence wether or not we would sail on this ship or indeed cruise line again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We chose this particular cruise based on our schedule and desire to see Sydney, Tasmania and New Zealand after a week on Australia's Gold Coast. The Noordam cruise was perfect for us (our 10th cruise, and first on Holland America). ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise based on our schedule and desire to see Sydney, Tasmania and New Zealand after a week on Australia's Gold Coast. The Noordam cruise was perfect for us (our 10th cruise, and first on Holland America). Embarkation at the White Bay Cruise Terminal was fairly quick. Our boarding pass showed 12:30 pm boarding for a 6:30pm embarkation. However, we arrived at 11am by taxi (AU$20 from the CBD). We were in boarding group 2, and went through security at 11:30. Remember that you can take 2 bottles of wine or champagne in your carry on luggage when boarding. We were on board at 11:50, in time for lunch. Our room was ready, and our luggage was there when we returned after lunch. Very nice. Only downside to White Bay is that there is no wi-fi in the building; odd in a city that tends to have wi-fi everywhere. They need to get with it. We selected an aft balcony cabin on deck 7, so that we were not under the Lido noisy deck or over the theater or dining rooms; made that mistake on our first cruise and never again. Our room was quiet and peaceful; in 12 days, we saw our neighbors 3 times and only heard the people in the cabins next to us and above us only once. Our room stewards Dodit and Eko were fantastic, greeted us always by name, and maintained the room in perfect condition. The room was a bit on the small side, and only one of us at a time could walk between the bed and the wall. The bathroom had a tub with shower; very nice. Lots of storage in the bathroom and throughout the room. Plenty of closet space and shelves. The room was clean and the bed was very comfortable. The climate control system was easy to use and responsive. We really enjoyed the food on the ship. I'm a vegetarian, my wife is not, and there were plenty of choices for me for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We went to the Lido Market (buffet restaurant on deck 9) for breakfast and lunch, and to the Vista Dining Room for dinner each night. We chose the flexible dining option, and only waited more than 2 minutes on the first night. We chose to sit with others at tables of 6 or 8, which allowed us to meet a wide range of cruisers from all over the world. However, we did note that the dining room Maitre' D never sat us (we're from the USA) with any of the Asians, or had them sit at our tables when we were first seated. It was explained to me by friends later that Asians don't care to socialize with "whiny, pushy Americans". I don't blame them; I actually told the Maitre D' one night not to seat us with other Americans; they tended to complain about the littlest things, forgetting that we were on an amazing cruise ship and seeing a beautiful part of the world. We enjoyed the theater productions, as well as the entertainers that were brought in. Especially Patrick McMahon, the highest energy entertainer I've ever seen. He was a blast. The BB King Blues Band was excellent; their male and female singers were great. Best of all was the piano-violin duo called Adagio. These two female musicians were incredible, and played what the cruise line called "sophisticated music". Classical, some pops, always amazing. People would stop in the hallways to listen. We really enjoyed listening to them. Cruise Director Jeremy was great, informative, and entertaining. He answered a lot of questions for us prior to each port. There were 5 Maoris on board until we got to New Zealand. They had several days to provide us with lessons in basic Maori language, and how to do the Haka war dance. A very fun group that added a lot to the cultural part of the cruise and prepared us with knowledge of their culture prior to our first port in New Zealand. I used the fitness center at least an hour a day, and attended morning "stretches" and evening "stretches" or "circuit training". Personal trainers Namik and Heather were very good leaders and kept us motivated and moving. We always book our excursions through independent tour operators via the internet before the cruise, never through the ship. We go through the reviews here and on Trip Advisor for each port. We pay about half of what the ship's costs are, and get smaller and more personalized tours. The ship always cautions you that "if you're late on our tour, we wait for you, but not if you're on a non-ship tour". It's never been an issue. All of the independent tours get you back on time; if they didn't, their reviews would show it and they would instantly lose business. We had great tours in nice comfortable smaller buses, with small groups and very knowledgeable local guides. Not being gamblers, we did not visit the casino. One very nice thing that both Australia and New Zealand have are the "iSite" visitor information centers at each port. Almost all of them had wi-fi, which was very nice for making calls and checking emails. You can also book tours at these centers. Port Arthur, Tasmania and Akaroa, New Zealand require going in by tender boat (the ship uses its large lifeboats, which hold 50-60 at a time comfortably. Both tender trips were only 12-15 minutes. There were plenty of them, but you do have to get in line early in the morning to get a tender ticket if you want to be on a tender after people that booked the ship's tours. Shuttle buses are used in:1) Port Chalmers to get into Dunedin (there is a cost, but if you book any of the tours, they pick you up at the visitor information right by the ship, so there's no additional cost to get into Dunedin, about 5 minutes away), 2) in Wellington (free bus, 15 minutes to a stop downtown), and 3) in Napier (free bus, 5 minutes to a stop at the iSite visitor center and then 2 minutes more to the aquarium). Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We always find the South Pacific to be a beautiful and very relaxing place to visit and the people are so friendly. Always glad to return to the South Pacific... wish it was closer as the flight is long. We stayed 2 nights precruise at ... Read More
We always find the South Pacific to be a beautiful and very relaxing place to visit and the people are so friendly. Always glad to return to the South Pacific... wish it was closer as the flight is long. We stayed 2 nights precruise at Ovolo Woolloomooloo hotel, very clean and quiet (on the HOHO bus line and walking distance to Circular quay and parks. We hit a heat wave in January. We did not realize that this is summer break for the Australians so there was a lot of children onboard so keep in mind if this is a concern to you. Hope the following youtubes are of help to you in your planning of the ports we visited https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLVmQFwCb0y4quUfQWyoCQsieQQ6hF6szd 1. NOUMEA, New Caledonia --took the HopOn/Off bus around -$10.pp/USD at cruiseport. Enjoyed the Market and all the different produce. Also shops by market took USD and AUD$...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eus4rvE8AJE&t=2s 2. LIFOU, New Caledonia -Melanesian experience tour... see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2doAVL7j4K0 3. PORT VILA, Vanuatu -Around the Island Safari /interesting tour -enjoyed the Iarofa Cultural village...see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGUvRreGTsQ 4. DRAVUNI ISLAND,Fiji -only 150 people on island; took boat ride around the small island/$10 USD/pp. Went for a swim in the warm waters. Enjoyed the people...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gR1fNjp-e68 5. LAUTOKA, Fiji -Took Oolala Savala island day cruise - fun -however, there was not enough seating for everyone. Water is very very shallow-hard to swim without touching coral. Be sure to use lots of sunscreen here ...see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRmByxKUn-0 ** We took South Seas Island tour on next cruise and there were better swimming conditions and enough seating for everyone on tour ...see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDoUOCRe93k 6. ILE DES PINS, New Caledonia - Pretty island. We just walked around and went for a swim...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMcFUGECrUk Feel entertainment was poor in quality except for the Explorers Lounge. Food quality has really gone down on HAL in last few years. We got off Noordam and got on RC Voyager of Seas the same day for our back to back cruise and we really saw the difference in quality of foods. Service was good on HAL. Found we could use USD$ and AUD$ at all ports. Definitely recommend a South Pacific cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was very misrepresented in the website and available information from the cruise line. It was only "back to back cruises" not a separate all in one cruise. entertainment and activities were mostly repeated the second two ... Read More
This was very misrepresented in the website and available information from the cruise line. It was only "back to back cruises" not a separate all in one cruise. entertainment and activities were mostly repeated the second two weeks (which were slim pickings even the first two weeks). Everyone had to disembark in Sydney and could not get back on the boat until time for new passengers to board. Would have been good to understand all of this before deciding to book this cruise. Destination was unbelievable! Did almost all private prearranged tours and really saw New Zealand. 10 days of port calls there! First time on Holland America. Best a embarkment, allowed on early and went straight to rooms! Excellent disembarkment also. Very nice staff. Staterooms have a lot of storage space. Beds and linen amazingly comfortable. Free room service wonderful, but could have had increased selection of items. Buffet eating with staff serving made utilizing this area much nicer and safer (decreased germs from passengers!), so much more comfortable utilizing this option than on many other cruise lines. Loved Explorers' Lounge area, except puzzles and may items were old and missing pieces. All need to be thrown out and new ones bought. Excellent Microsoft classes and teacher! Added more new computers after trip completed, but not enough and not enough space for these popular classes. Culinary Center was beautiful, but most times was empty and not well utilized. Salad bar and pasta bar were excellent, but terrible pizza and premade Italian dishes. Many of foods in buffet area were not warm when served. Salmon was always great, as well as shrimp. Ship is old and staterooms not completely updated and our balcony had several large rusty holes in it that were not even covered with rugs to protect us (we had to ask for this). Pictures very old and not worth looking in stateroom area and halls. Entertainment was very poor. I love entertainment on cruises and not much by cruises' performance staff and only one act that was great one night. Only showed movies in theater during port days while docked! Stateroom TV's and system were antique and very poor reception on top of that. Menu was also antique and slowly scrolled three hr span, but you had to watch time spans already completed and next day before getting to your time, then info screen then start all over and you were so bored you blinked and missed the time you were looking for! This was really disappointing. Activity choices were slim pickings! Except for the occasional item in the Culinary Arts Center, local related program and Microsoft classes there was nothing much going on activity wise on the ship! Most of my time spent walking on the outside walking deck (did help me eat too much and keep the same weight though!). Vegetarian menu was nice to order from. Should have had menus more easily available, as well as ordering options improved for days did not eat the night before in the dinning room. Also, "Dive in" eating area by pool should have other vegetarian choice such as regular vegetable burger, not just mushroom burger and grilled cheese would be nice. Signature Suites were very misrepresented online. Often read about "Suites" and thought this referred to all suites, but only was for non-Signature suites. Extra space and separate tub & shower were great. No concierge ,no pillow menu or choices and not much else. Food and choices were very nice the first few days, but declined as cruise continued. Much smaller portions and presented as two course meals, though you can order a three course meal or whatever you want. Quantity was good for me, but many who have more of appetites or binge on cruises will be surprised compared to other cruise lines. Not many standard choice that are available every day. Thank goodness the salmon was good and I could eat it. One of the few entrees available most days, but on gala nights/ special occasion nights, the menu was had even less choices and the daily items were not available. Invited to many special occasion lunches/ meals but expected to eat provided meal, even if on a special diet. No one cared to even try to eat dietary needs these days. Many days after the first week, I was tired of the vegetarian choices and had nothing I could eat on the regular menu and they did not care enough to fix something for me as always do on other cruise lines. Desert choices were slim, especially on gala nights (which is good for the waistline, but not what I expect on a cruise. Only once got a real piece of regular cheesecake which is so unusual and most of their ice cream is not worth the calories to me with most days having only vanilla, chocolate and strawberry plus sometimes one other choice. ( which is very unusual from what I am used to when sailing!). Not many vegetables served and in the dining room it was only like a garnishment (except potatoes & rice were always available). Never had so many of the staff being fairly close to the start of their contract. Tried to be helpful, but not aware of many things when asked. Always nice, but just did not display that "at your service/ cruise ship" attitude I am used to.. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We have always wanted to go to Australia/ New Zealand. It did not disappoint. The New Zealand part was very busy with many different stops, all interesting. One of my favourites was Tauranga, where we rented a car and went to Hell's ... Read More
We have always wanted to go to Australia/ New Zealand. It did not disappoint. The New Zealand part was very busy with many different stops, all interesting. One of my favourites was Tauranga, where we rented a car and went to Hell's Gate Mud and hot spring pools. I was just getting over a cold and loved the soak in the warm mud and then the hot springs. The Dunedin Awesome Tours Royal Albatross and Otago Penninsula was really fun. Seeing the baby seals and the nesting sites of the Albatross was awesome. We rode a 8 wheel drive vehicle which we enjoyed. Also the best beach was at Ile des Pinsin New Caledonia. The waiters on board were so great. They always looked so happy to see you and always welcomed you. They learned our names and likes early on and found out where we lived and what it was like in our country and told us abou their life. Sue and Diti in the Lido. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose this cruise for the itinerary which was very satisfactory. Noordam looks as though she needs a sprucing up, carpeting in hallways has been replaced in some ares but not in others. Our cabin was comfortable, but there were marks ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary which was very satisfactory. Noordam looks as though she needs a sprucing up, carpeting in hallways has been replaced in some ares but not in others. Our cabin was comfortable, but there were marks on the wall paper and the carpet. The verandah door whistled, and the outside lock plate was corroded enough so that it wasn't in place. We were disappointed in the Main dining room, the food was much less satisfactory than on our previous Noodam trip which of course had a different chef. Portion sizes were inconsistent, on roast beef nights (and why have these two days in a row?) portions were enormous, but other entries were tiny, such as the scallops. It was summer on our trip, why serve parsnips, cauliflower, which are winter vegetables? A lot of the sauces were far too salty. This was advertised as a 27 day cruise, and there was not enough variety in the food for that long a period. This trip none of the entertainment appealed to us except for Adagio. Offerings of on board activities were much less interesting than we had previously had on other cruises. The worst was "How to tie a sarong" given by someone who had to borrow sarongs from the audience in order to give a presentation, it was very poor. Service from crew was excellent, but occasionally slow from the wine stewards in dining room. Ports were very interesting, we would have liked longer in Tauronga. Ship shore excursions were very expensive, the same thing could be arranged on shore for much less. We liked the Ports that had shuttle services available, especially Napier. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was our first cruise so was not sure what to expect. Had a great time. My favorite on board activity was the computer classes given by Toni. He did windows 10, Cortana, edge, photo gallery, cameras, internet security and was very ... Read More
This was our first cruise so was not sure what to expect. Had a great time. My favorite on board activity was the computer classes given by Toni. He did windows 10, Cortana, edge, photo gallery, cameras, internet security and was very informative. The food was delicious. We found ourselves eating in the lido as it was faster and had the same food but more variety. The dining room took 2 hours for a meal. Felt like the service in the vista dining room was not good. Did not clear dishes in a timely manner nor did they keep water glasses full. We did our own shore excursions as the the ship ones seemed expensive. The shore excursion desk of course=rse was promoting the ship's excursion but I felt like they tended to make you think you could not find anything just winging it off the ship. Ex: on one of the small islands was told their was not much in the way of tours or independent drives. When got there, there were plenty. This happened more than once. Boarding and leaving was very efficient. Did have a problem with the port in Sydney that was not the main port. We docked and to get anywhere to start sightseeing, it cost $16 ferry ride or taxi ride. Think the ship should have provided some sort of transport to a central area. I could have done with less nice clothes as we ate mostly in the Lido. Did some shore excursions via Viator. Most were very good. Seemed like the smaller ports had more set ups to help us find tours and were more organized. Could have just waited to get a tour in those smaller ports. This itinerary is really two cruises put together and thus some of the entertainment was repeats. Even in the summer, New Zealand can be chilly. I threw in my long johns just in case and ended up wearing them a lot as we cruised the fiords and on the deck of the ship. The gym on the ship was great. Was crowded the first couple days and then thinned out. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We’d like to provide our thoughts on our 27 day South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand cruise-which is our 16th cruise and our 5th on Holland America. The itinerary was perfect-great port stops-and the food was exceptionally ... Read More
We’d like to provide our thoughts on our 27 day South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand cruise-which is our 16th cruise and our 5th on Holland America. The itinerary was perfect-great port stops-and the food was exceptionally good-perhaps the best we have had on any cruise line. We enjoyed the Lido buffet, the main dining room and both the Canalleto and Pinnacle dining rooms as well as the beautiful and plentiful foods in the Neptune Lounge. The staff service was also among the best we have encountered. Our cabin stewards were great and the two Neptune Lounge concierge attendants were also competent, helpful, and cheerful. We also like the fact that the Casino is now smoke free-a particular issue with us on past cruises. Our disappointment with the overall cruise and our reluctance to book another HAL cruise centers on the on board entertainment, or lack of it, as well as the marketing direction that Jan, our Cruise Director, indicated HAL is taking. In several discussions with Jan, he advised us to find another cruise line more suited to our taste since HAL is committed to eliminating social/ballroom dance venues in the Crow’s Nest and Ocean Bar and replacing them with carpeted areas with kiosks for researching shore excursions and providing more videos. He indicated that there will be more BBC videos shown (the same ones I can get on my cable television at home) and these will provide a significant portion of HAL’s entertainment offerings. We were also disappointed to learn that HAL has eliminated the dedicated dance combo we enjoyed on past HAL cruises. The result of this on our cruise meant that the orchestra was providing dance music (excellent by the way) but only on nights that they were not performing in the VISTA Lounge. This left many nights without pre and post dinner musical entertainment including a GALA night that had no entertainment because both the orchestra and Adagio were doing live music as a BBC video was being played. The ship was like a funeral parlor-hardly gala and many people commented on how dull and boring. It is interesting to note that the dance lessons provided by the ship’s dancers were well attended-usually 80+ per class and while elementary in nature, they indicated a sincere interest in dancing by many people. Yet we are told that HAL is eliminating these and the dance venues as well. There were huge gaps in many evening’s entertainment with nothing going on except for the ship’s dancers and singers which by the way repeated the same dull performances during the 2nd leg of a “Collector’s Voyage”- a title that still baffles me. Our Cruise Director said he would try to fill in some of these but the only option he had was to schedule more Adagio performances. While we enjoyed these excellent classical musicians, there is a limit to how many of these concerts you can enjoy. Jan indicated that HAL’s marketing direction is committed to providing top quality entertainment on board yet we saw little instance of this. Many of the performers were merely 2nd rate and some were downright bad. Better screening and more selective decision making is needed. Why doesn’t HAL consider eliminating the ship’s dancers and singers altogether and replace them with top drawer entertainers? I must mention that the sound level in BB King was totally above acceptable DB limits and painful to ourselves and many of the guests on board. I have administered hearing loss programs in industry and know prolonged exposure to levels above 85 DB result in permanent hearing loss. If I were a staff member assigned to that venue night after night, I would be filing for Worker’s Compensation due to hearing loss. Jan indicated he told Seattle that many guests had complained about the sound being too loud but Seattle’s response was that they were within the contract limits so Jan could do nothing about it. Hardly makes sense to me to have a field commander overruled by Washington bureaucrats but that happens also. To summarize our concerns, the ship’s atmosphere was just plain dull, the entertainment was mostly second rate and many times nonexistent, BB King venue too loud to enjoy for more than 30 seconds and I am not exaggerating, the Crow’s Nest was empty at night -we remember dancing with a DJ till late night on other ships and not in a dark hole like the Northern Lights that is allocated to the DJ now. It took approximately 30 days for Holland America to reply to my concerns and they offered no encouragement that any if these issues would be changed. We have cancelled a suite booked on a July trip to the Norwegian Fjords on Koningsdam and have booked with another cruise line. We d not anticipate booking with HAL in the future. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was the third HAL cruise for me and second for my wife so we knew what to expect. We were travelling with our three young children (1,4 and 6) plus my parents and 11 year old niece so spread across verandah cabins 10004, 10008 and ... Read More
This was the third HAL cruise for me and second for my wife so we knew what to expect. We were travelling with our three young children (1,4 and 6) plus my parents and 11 year old niece so spread across verandah cabins 10004, 10008 and 10010 on the Observation Deck tucked behind the Crows Nest. Embarkation was smooth however the obliging staff who allowed our baby to sleep through the ID photo was offset by the security staff who insisted she be removed from her baby carrier to go through security which resulted in screaming child. We only started cruising with HAL as they were the only line that would allow a baby under 12 months to cruise to New Zealand. Despite their reputation for focussing on senior travellers we found the staff literally fawned on our children and assisted with emergency nappies and nappy bags etc. We had ordered the bubbly package to our cabin and nibbles and these were waiting for us. Our cabins had an incredible view although the only surprise was that the balcony dividers could not be opened as on other cruises we have taken which meant we couldn't connect as planned. But this was a minor inconvenience. Overall we had a fantastic cruise. I've seen a few reviews saying that this ship is old and run-down but nothing could be further from the truth. With three young children running riot we got to see a lot of the ship and despite looking for signs of wear and tear we saw none. Dined in main dinging room several times but generally stuck to LIDO as more relaxing with the family. Dined in the Pinnacle 3 times (4 if you include the special Le Cirque evening) and the staff were only too willing to assist with time and table requests. Ronald the wine waiter was our pick of the Pinnacle staff. We did every single wine tasting offered as well as the whisky , port and champagne tastings. All were excellent although with a few only a handful turned up which was a shame as they were well worth the extra charge. Free Room Service was great and having breakfast in your room felt very indulgent. For entertainment we stuck mostly to the Piano bar. The best of the main shows were the fantastic Éver After show which was a take on fairy tales and Glenn Starr who did a Michael Buble show and a 50s and 60s song night. Highlight for us was that we paid for the Renewal of Vows package online prior to embarking as our 15th Anniversary fell whilst onboard. It was around $160 but worth every sent. Donna from the event team was exceptional and planned everything and there were personal invites for our family members. The package included a cake, nibbles, certificate presented by the captain and dinner in the Pinnacle plus photos. Great value for anyone considering it. We expected a token appearance by Captain Peter Bos but he stayed for an hour chatting to us after the ceremony. There were rose petals on the floor and a towel swan surprise in our room later. The staff in Club HAL (kids club) were great and looked after the three that could attend. Our kids were honestly looking forward to it each time and couldn't wait to go. Talking to another parent of an under 3 year old it is annoying that they can't use the swimming pool (we received a formal written warning in our room on embarkation). I can understand why for the health reasons but try explaining that to a young child who can't join their siblings in the pool). We had a bad experience in the LIDO twice but the way in which floor supervisor AR handled it was impressive. HAL advertises that Pizza and Pasta is open till midnight. So after a great night out early in the cruise we turned up at 1150 one night and 1140 the next hoping for a late snack. Everything was closed both times. The second time it happened we passed AR as we were leaving and told him. He insisted we must be wrong and ran back to check. He went white and was aghast when he realised that they were closed. We told him it was fine and we would get room service. The next day he separately tracked down myself and my wife and apologised with two glasses of complimentary wine. He explained it was due to a new staff member on their first shifts. We did the Chou Chou train in Noumea with HAL (well worth it) and a snorkelling trip in a glass bottomed boat at Port Vila. Both were around $60 each and well worth it. We loved Dravuni Island and Isle of Pines as the beaches were good. WIFI still expensive ($100 for 250mins) but I loved being able to check your account and the days program on your phone/ipad regardless of whether you had internet. However, we didn't get an account under our door like they used to which was strange. Also, for those that have heard rumours that HAL no longer does afternoon tea I can advise that the Noordam did it every day in the Ocean Bar (sometimes hard to get a table). There was however no Royal Dutch High tea. Overall HAL did not disappoint and we'll certainly cruise with them again Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
I'm 66 and retired and I don't usually cruise during school holidays for obvious reasons but this year choose the Noordam in early January around New Zealand and with the hope that not many kids would be on board. There ... Read More
I'm 66 and retired and I don't usually cruise during school holidays for obvious reasons but this year choose the Noordam in early January around New Zealand and with the hope that not many kids would be on board. There weren't many and they were mostly well behaved. Not like some cruises lines that encourage a few too many of them. I traveled alone and thoroughly enjoyed myself on this cruise. Its my 5th cruise with HAL and it won't be my last. Cabin was quiet and restful. I had nice quiet neighbours besides, above and below me.. Dining was well up to expectation. Lido for Breakfast and Lunch, Vista Dining Room for early anytime dining. Service staff in all areas of the ship were just wonderful.10/10 I did not feel the need for Specialty Dining but I heard it was great value and memorable. The entertainment was a bit sad. From a lack lustre Cruise Director down to the hoofers in the theatre. Seen it all, heard it all over and over and over again during my many cruises. Sorry to say, time for a re-invention. Did not use HAL's shore excursions. On shore the same thing is much cheaper. Quite good shopping on board and great duty free liquor prices - even if they were in US dollars. I guess Australians are gonna have to get used to the USD being much higher than the AUD again ? Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose this cruise as it fitted in with our annual company closedown in January each year, when we must take most of our annual holiday leave. The price was great for this peak holiday time in Australia. Both the embarkation and ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it fitted in with our annual company closedown in January each year, when we must take most of our annual holiday leave. The price was great for this peak holiday time in Australia. Both the embarkation and disembarkation processes ran extremely well, no queues All food was fresh and good quality, with the dining room providing gourmet meals each night. We initially asked for extra vegetables with our meal, thereafter a separate plate of steamed vegetables was automatically provided for our table to share each night. Dining room service was excellent. The free food on the swimming pool deck was welcome, we have cruised with other lines three times & always needed to pay for food outside the dining room & cafeteria. In addition, each day a self-serve Mexican food bar was set up on that deck, enabling us to enjoy tacos & nachos - the pulled beef was yummy! WE dined in the Pinnacle Grill for lunch on two occasions. For an extra US$10 per head for three courses plus tea or expresso coffee, this was most worthwhile. The prawn bruschetta (entree) & seafood in tomato broth (main) were highlights. We were each able to take a 750ml bottle of wine aboard on embarkation, which we could drink in our cabin. To take a bottle to the main dining room incurred a corkage fee of US$18. When we visited a wine region in New Zealand, we were each permitted to take a further bottle aboard for use in the dining room, without incurring the corkage fee. A good move by Holland America. The first sitting for dining was at 5.30pm, which meant we sometimes missed dining there due to still being ashore on port days, or missed viewing the ship's departure from ports as we were in the dining room. In hindsight we would choose the later dining option. Our major gripe was with the cost on internet on board the ship, very expensive. Also quite slow according to those who did use it. Accordingly, we waited for port days to use free wifi at local libraries or cafes. However, in NZ this was not always satisfactory as it appears they are still using 3G, at times we were unable to read incoming emails & text messages, & most times could not send emails, although text messages were fine. The entertainment on board was first class, ranging from an in-house band, in-house singers & dancers, to guest comedians, musicians, & singers. There were a variety of classes especially on sea days, including a unique series of computer classes dealing with all aspects of Windows 10, & also several computer Q & A sessions .Everyone found these classes very helpful. Other activities included cooking demonstration, DIY cocktails, galley tour, fitness classes, health & beauty talks, excursion previews, just to name a few. We didn't take any ship organised excursions, mainly due to cost. As we travelled with another couple, we hired cars at two ports to travel further afield, & noticed other groups especially families, did this as well. One excursion I saw advertised privately online prior to the cruise for NZ$50 (Napier town tour 1 hr), yet the ship charged US$69 for exactly the same tour, with the same company, which was double the price (taking into account the exchange rate). This is something cruise ships need to look at closely, to encourage more use of their own shore excursions. For the cost of our cruise, we would definitely sail with Holland America again! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We like NZ and have been there on land, but wished to see the Sounds and ports offered. In the past HAL gave reasonable value for $ and "tried" to sort our differences. We are two 70yr olds and travel on ships geared for minimal ... Read More
We like NZ and have been there on land, but wished to see the Sounds and ports offered. In the past HAL gave reasonable value for $ and "tried" to sort our differences. We are two 70yr olds and travel on ships geared for minimal children.This trip had abysmal dining and very poor entertainment and shore assistance. We could not get palatable food and found that the feedback forms gave no option for feedback so after the first form went off on day 2, I fired off another on day 5 with our contact details and problems. [ Food in Vista was too rich and/or spicy for our tastes and stomachs. Standards of dress had dropped. Children allowed unsupervised and intrusive.Wait staff abrupt/overworked. Supervisors would not listen/understand. Gassed out of cabin twice by maintenance painters. Heart monitor on bike in gym was erratic/busted and supervisor took little interest. Shore/port assistance very poor.] In sheer frustration I fired off another feedback form on day 10. We got to be able to preorder meals with notes regarding the spices on day 12!! We got some decent food for the last 2 days!! There was never any personal feedback until one supervisor gave us a free bottle of sparkling wine on the last day - but no discussion. As usual the cabin staff were good. The cabin was tidy but getting a little tired. Would we go again on HAL/Noordam? We'd go anywhere if the price is right and itinerary interesting - but only if there was personal interaction BEFORE and during the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was our 3rd cruise . We have previously cruised on the Disney Fantasy in 2014 and then Royal Caribbean Legend of the seas in 2015 . As we are still quite new to cruising we are keen to explore several cruise lines but we have been ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise . We have previously cruised on the Disney Fantasy in 2014 and then Royal Caribbean Legend of the seas in 2015 . As we are still quite new to cruising we are keen to explore several cruise lines but we have been warned by fellow cruisers already that we started with one of the best cruise lines so everything by comparison is going to be difficult to measure up . The departure was from Sydney and we arrived a couple of days before so that we could explore Sydney and enjoy the lead in time before starting the cruise . The ship left from White Bay terminal which is a little out of the CBD but an easy trip via taxi . The cruise terminal is well laid out . There were plenty of staff to greet you as you turned up at the terminal so we were directed to the bag drop off.which was a breeze but we did get there quite early around 11am so that may have been a factor . The staff at the entrance to the terminal then handed the customs cards and health check forms that we needed to fill out, Once inside the terminal there is plenty of seating and there is also a cafe , we managed to grab a table and had a coffee while we filled out our cards , then it was just a matter of waiting to start the registration process and get our photos taken and ship cards issued . Once commenced the entire process was very quick and painless , the boarding procedure was handled efficiently and before you knew it ,we were on board and exploring the ship and heading up to the Lido Market for lunch . One of the main things I liked about this ship is that it feels spacious enough to easily cater for the approx 2000 passengers , you never felt really crowded . The decor of the ship is looking a little dated , I felt that it was a little over the top but then again I suppose they have to make some grand statements with design to try and get the wow factor . The layout of the ship is quite easy to navigate once you have been on board a couple of days . All of the areas appeared clean and generally in decent condition but there were some signs of repairs and maintenance needing to be done , some of the areas of the carpet were looking somewhat worn , along with the interior of the staterooms that we were in . We stayed on deck 7 , we decided on this deck after reading several reviews of the ship and weighing the likelihood of referred noise from the restaurant, theater or deck 9 where the Lido Market and swimming pool is located . When deciding on your stateroom I think you always need to look at the entire layout of the ship and consider all possibilities of where noise is generated . We were a family of 4 and we stayed across 2 different staterooms . We were unable to get connecting staterooms but we settled on 7103 and 7112 because they were far enough away from the lifts and 7112 was a couple of doors down from a utility room that could have become noisy when staff started accessing it early in the morning . The cabins overall were quite good , they were inside staterooms , this is the first time we have done inside rooms , in the past we have had verandah and sea view , having done this I would always at least have sea view because not having any natural sunlight is not something I found enjoyable . The argument is that you only sleep in your stateroom so why do you need a sea view but there is something natural with your body clock that just makes me feel better if I wake up to sunlight . The size of the rooms was a little on the small size with no real seating other than one chair with a very small table and one stool at the desk area . The wardrobe space is very good and the size of the bathroom was also very good . As with most ships the space under the bed is a great situation for storing those suit cases . The decor of the cabins is a bit ho hum and overall I think the ship is definitely due for a refit . The beds were very comfortable and the pillows also great . quality of the towels when changed was variable , some really soft and luxurious others a bit scratchy and older . The lovely waffle texture robes provided for use during your stay was a nice touch and the beach towels provided during those beach shore excursions also a nice touch. On the evening of 7th Jan I had an issue with stateroom 7112 . There was an extremely loud banging noise which started between 9.30 pm - 10 pm and this continued until 6.45 am on 8th Jan . My son and I tried to get some sleep but it was impossible . I phoned the front desk at 2 am and I was offered earplugs having been told that nothing could be done until an engineer became available which would not be until we arrived at our next port at approx 6.30 in the morning . Now wearing the ear plugs we tried again to get some sleep but to no avail , I ended up getting up and going down to the desk . I was told that we could not be relocated because there was nothing available , the only spare cabin was being used for a medical emergency . There was no engineer available to attend to the issue and I had accepted the offer of earplugs - this made me feel that it was now my fault that because I accepted the earplugs they didn't bother trying to get it fixed . It turns out that several cabins were affected by this noise and it was some problem with a heating pump for the swimming pool . The next day for our port of Dunedin was ruined because my son and I were operating on no sleep . As an apology I was left a bottle of red wine - this was supposed to make up for no sleep for the entire night and a port day ruined due to exhaustion . I took the wine back as I don't drink red wine , I was then offered 2 meals at piccalo cafe - long story short I had to battle to get a small credit put onto my account of just $54.00 which I hardly think makes up for the cabin that was not fit for purpose for 1 night . The TV in the cabin was not great , my husband had a problem with the TV in his room , there were vertical and horizontal lines that made viewing very unpleasant , we phoned to get it seen to and the technician felt that it was fine , we pressed the point and said it was not good until it was finally changed over by a somewhat surly technician . Clearly they don't like being told when something is not up to scratch. We had problems with toilets not working in both of the staterooms and when talking to other passengers , it seemed that this was a persistent problem , again possibly a maintenance issue ? On a plus note the dining experience was for the most part fantastic , the quality and variety of the food was excellent . the Lido Market on deck 9 which is essentially the buffet is really well layed out with duplication of structure both sides . The think what HAL is doing really well here is having greater control over the hygiene of the food . Rather than having an open buffet style layout where people are serving themselves everything , you go to the various stations and say what you want and you get served , for breakfast there are some serve yourself situations for things like croissants , danishes and muffins ,but if you want bagels or toast you get served by someone , if you want omelettes made you pick your ingredients and they make it for you , this means you don't get people touching things with their fingers or sneezing or coughing into a bowl of bacon or eggs . I think the system is really going to cut down on people getting sick. The vista restaurant is very nice and the menu selection quite good although I did not think much of the entrees . There is the Dive In burger and hot dog station which was fantastic , the burgers were amazing and it only takes around 15 minutes for your order to be ready . Explorations care does amazing coffees and frappe's . overall HAL gets a big tick of approval for the food . Out biggest dissapointment on this cruise was the entertainment , there just didn't seem to be enough of it . The Noordam singers and dancers were very good and the shows that they put on were very good although one of the male singers had a much weaker voice than the others but they harmonised well . The guest entertainment was a mixed bag. there were only a couple that were any good . There was a band playing in the Atrium in the late afternoons and Adagio near the explorations cafe in the evenings . BB kings was quite good but after being on board for almost 4 weeks their sets became quite repetitive . This was a real issue for me because we were sold this cruise as being a 27 night cruise but in reality it is 2 cruises back to back so all of the shows from the Noordam singers and dancers that were performed for the NZ leg were then performed again for the Pacific Islands leg . I don't think they have really made maximum use of the atrium area , it would be nice if there was musical entertainment there or near the pool from around 11am . There was a good array of books , puzzles and board games at explorations cafe but this place got very busy , I think this was evidence of a lack of entertainment as well . What was a big negative was that there no real cinema on board , they did show movies in the vista lounge on port days but really there were no current movies being shown . You had your usual fair of trivia quizzes and the dancers did dance lessons in the observation lounge on deck 10 but I get the feeling that the entertainment is operation on a lean budget . The worst effort was the Japanese ventriloquist that was booked , I have never walked out of a show but I walked out of this one , it was absolutely disgusting . Overall the service was pretty good . Our room stewards did a very good job and were friendly and helpful , the bar staff were overall pretty good but a few were a bit surly and grumpy to deal with but some were absolute stars . We felt overall there the ship was operating on lean staff numbers which could be putting those staff that are there under increasing pressure . There were times when public bathrooms had not been cleaned or they were closed due to maintenance problems . The staff at the front desk were less than fun to deal with on occassions. When trying to sort out my issue with the noise problem in my room I was met with almost a robotic response from the staff . I think there is a real problem with their training because they deal with confrontation by having a wooden , distant and non emotional response which then comes across as being arrogant and unfeeling . The ports that we visited were all great and we know NZ quite well so we were well equipped for our various stops , it was very useful to go to the talks about the various stops on the Pacific Island leg of the cruise but we never booked any excursions via the ship because the mark up is ridiculous . One of the things we did have to fork out a bit of money for was the laundry service . for the 27 nights it costs USD 196.00 for unlimited laundry . The quality of the work was wonderful and the clothes arrived back the next day beautifully folded with shirts etc on hangers , this was a great service but again very expensive . The reality is that they keep the cruise fair down to a reasonable cost but boy do you pay for everything else . We paid the USD 12.50 per person, per day gratuities fee even though we did have the option to reduce it because we did not want to penalise the staff that did work very hard even though management decisions on how things are done is damaging the overall experience for the guests . Overall we did have a good time but HAL can do better and I feel that if they want to get return customers , particularly in what is becoming an increasingly competitive market , they need to seriously look at some of the decisions they are making, there is a lot of room for improvement and one of the key areas they need to work on is that customer relationship when things do go wrong. I feel that they need to fairly compensate the guest when they are inconvenienced . I have come away feeling that although, yes I did get the benefit of everything else that the cruise had to offer , what sticks in my mind is how I was treated with the noise problem and the lack of compensation for a cabin not fit for purpose for 1 night . One final note - I think it is fitting for the captain and master of the ship to make announcements as to weather and conditions arrivals and departures along with rules and regulations and by all means remind people about hygiene and wash those hands , however I think it demeans the position for him to act like a salesman and promote going to the casino or spending those last holiday dollars at the shops . You are the captain not the marketing manager . Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We sailed on the Noordam with our two teenagers leaving Sydney on the 4th January. It was spectacular leaving from White Bay as the ship had to wait for the tide to drop; so we could sail under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It was amazing to ... Read More
We sailed on the Noordam with our two teenagers leaving Sydney on the 4th January. It was spectacular leaving from White Bay as the ship had to wait for the tide to drop; so we could sail under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It was amazing to sail past the iconic Opera house and coastline. The boarding process was very quick, no wait time and staff were friendly and welcoming. We had a balcony cabin 6012 for ourselves and the teenagers had an interior cabin adjacent. The cabins were tiny by comparison to other ships we have been on, however they were extremely clean and our cabin stewards Judtih and Zon were amongst the best we have experienced. Nothing was too much trouble and their service was discreet and helpful. Yes, the decor and the furniture in the cabins is worn never the less, it was still pleasant. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and it did not disappoint. The opportunity to circumnavigate the South and North Islands of New Zealand was one not to be missed. There are only two tender ports Akaroa and Waitangi so exploring on your own without the need of ship shore excursions is possible. Shore excursions were expensive and to be honest if travelling in a family or group car hire is a more affordable option with destinations easy to get to. E.g. Rotarua is an easy 1 hour drive as is Hobbiton nearby. Food on board was quite good. Plenty of variety between the buffet and the dining room. The Pinnacle Grill is worth every cent. We cruise quite often on NCL so I do have to make a comment about the price point of this cruise. In terms of value for money NCL offers a far superior product. Gratuities were extra once on board the Noordam adding a hefty $750 US to the on board bill. By comparison the NCL suite product we access often offers free speciality dining, drinks, reduced guest rates, pre paid gratuities, free shore excursions, free wifi all inclusive. So when we added up our cruise fares, gratuities, drinks, specialty dining etc a penthouse on the NCL would have been cheaper. But they don't offer this itinerary, yet! Overall, we enjoyed the ship. Public areas are clean, staff are friendly (Toni Barillo - pool bar and Casino Bar) was exceptional. Entertainment was disappointing compared to NCL. If booking for the itinerary only you will enjoy it! If you want a 'bang for buck' value cruise this isn't it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We like the size of the ship as well as the ports. We were pleased with our choice. We had a balcony room that gave us some added space. The rooms are not overly fancy, but comfortable. The ship is beginning to show some wear and tear ... Read More
We like the size of the ship as well as the ports. We were pleased with our choice. We had a balcony room that gave us some added space. The rooms are not overly fancy, but comfortable. The ship is beginning to show some wear and tear but overall, in good shape. Food was plentiful and we really enjoyed the salad bar where you could have your salad made to order. Room service for breakfast was prompt and hot. Dining room service was awesome! We purchased the beverage package and found the biggest draw back was that you couldn't use it in your room and you could only order one drink at a time. We would have enjoyed being able to enjoy our balcony with more than one drink at a time. Cost wise, well, we didn't come out ahead, but it was convenient. There is a $12.50 charge, per person a day, automatically added to your bill as a gratuity. Also all drinks have a 15% charge added automatically to your tab. This adds up real quick, especially if you have tipped staff previously. We didn't book tours with the ship because we found the cost was very high. We booked all our New Zealand tours through Zealander Tours and saved a bundle. Not only was it less expensive, the tours were much smaller and allowed for more interaction with the wonderful guides. We also found that getting help from the staff as to what to do or what to see as an independent traveller was impossible. We cruised for close to 30 days and did use their laundry service. $20 a bag was totally worth it! Quick and folded and hung! Entertainment was pretty good. The group that does their productions did very well. There was and awful ventriloquist from Japan! The Australian "Michael Buble" was awesome as were the other special entertainers. As for other night life, it is pretty quiet. The outside pool area is nice as is the interior pool. The spa is overly expensive and I didn't find it worth going to. The gym is small and there is a surcharge for many activities. The front desk was a bit rude and really didn't help, although they do have "smile training". We had some issues with our bill and it took a number of visits to the front desk to fix. For "our convenience" they made us come down as we were departing the ship, even though we had been ensured that it would be fixed on our final bill. If you have cruised before, you know it isn't "convenient" at all to wait in line on the last day of a cruise. The room stewards work so hard to make sure that your room is looked after. They even supplied us with beach towels for our beach stops! The internet is awful! Very slow and very expensive. It takes so long to even get a connection that you are out $5.00 without even doing anything. We found free wi-fi sights at most ports in New Zealand and did without on the tiny islands. We would travel with Holland America again, we just wish that the nickle and diming in charges would stop. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
My wife chose this cruise as it went over the Christmas break and went to the South Pacific.We are a family of 5 and booked 2 rooms. A Verandah Room and an inside Room both on Deck 6. After a slow start in the kids room having a double ... Read More
My wife chose this cruise as it went over the Christmas break and went to the South Pacific.We are a family of 5 and booked 2 rooms. A Verandah Room and an inside Room both on Deck 6. After a slow start in the kids room having a double bed and the no food available for a few hours we got into exploring.The ship is mid sized and while it has around 1800 passengers we didnt ever not get a table in the Lido Market. Self yourself style. We didnt realise we had a fixed dinner table each night so when we turned up the following we night we met our charming dinner companions. We ate with them all but one night. The Vista is alacarte and had lots of variation and choices, a few staples such as the French Onion Soup was on each night. Buying anything on the boat was pricey as it was in US Dollars and oftern with a 15% service charge built in. It offers a lot of shows and entertainment and we saw a few but New Years eve on the pool deck with the BB King band was fantastic.Ice Sculptures, Free champagne near midnight and very fun and noisy. While it is very different from P&O in being an older crowd it was good value and very relaxing. Advice from the Port videos was very helpful and we enjoyed most ports. The tendering went well and the Islands are picture perfect. Service was very good. My wide and daughter used the Spa a bit and the extras on offer during the cruise were interesting. I booked a Shore Excursion direct with a Luganville Tour Guide prior to going and it was half the price of the boat and in Aussie dollars.We took Aussie cash in advance. The Captain was witty and his briefings always made good listening.We had one false fire issue and though there was no alarm he told us what was happening during and after the incident. Very proffessional. We bought Beverage cards for our kids and they didnt spend $50 ea on soft drink as the Lido has Water, Lemonade (juice), Grape Juice , Iced Tea ,Hot Chocolate etc etc. Wince can be dear at dinner but you can get wines by the glass, carafe and bottle. You can take a bottle of Wine or Champagne on board at embarkation as long as you drink it in the Stateroom. We did have an issue with the Auto Gratuity as we thought it was only for over 18 but in fact everyone was charged. So we filled in a form and had it removed for the kids and tipped the server at dinner and the Room steward at the end of the cruise. This does irk Aussies and most aussies commented on it during the Cruise. This is already a dearer cruise than similar P&O etc. The 3 standout things I took away from the boat was 1:Glass rail guards allowing you to see the view from your bed (not a steel plate) 2:Glass Elevators amidships giving you spectacular views going up or down. 3:Complimentary Room Service - Breakfast in your room was wonderful. It was a great ship and I would travel with this company again as long as the Aussie dollars doesn't drop against the Greenback. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
The reason we choose this cruise, well just to be away from the family for a change over the Christmas & New Year and we were not disappointed The ship & crew were fantastic, the food again was really, really great with plenty ... Read More
The reason we choose this cruise, well just to be away from the family for a change over the Christmas & New Year and we were not disappointed The ship & crew were fantastic, the food again was really, really great with plenty to choose from The ship was decked out in Christmas decorations & New years eve was a blast, with great entertainment on the Lido pool deck Fiji was not to our liking due to the locals being a little over the top. Mystery Island was a blessing however. Maybe we should have done some shore excursions as some of the other passengers did and were very pleased with their decision. Also met up with some great passengers and had a very good time. We had a great choice of food with goose for Christmas eve & the Pinnacle grill was fantastic with great food & service. To sum it up, we loved the cruise, the staff, the service and the people. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Christmas Cruise. Loved the ambiance of the ship - it was warm and cozy. The cabin was very clean, the steward excellent. The food was great! We had dinner in the dinning room every night and I thoroughly enjoyed it every night. The ... Read More
Christmas Cruise. Loved the ambiance of the ship - it was warm and cozy. The cabin was very clean, the steward excellent. The food was great! We had dinner in the dinning room every night and I thoroughly enjoyed it every night. The staff was wonderful. The Captain was a very compassionate man. He spoke on Christmas Eve and their was not a dry eye in the audience. Very considerate of his guests and his staff. We always feel comfortable on HAL as the pace is peaceful and the guests are much like ourselves - looking for a beautiful, relaxing cruise with excellent food and service. We were treated very well and HAL is our favorite cruise line. Our favorite things to do are when they have piano players and acoustic guitar player. Watch for the Sip & Savor - you can mingle with others and enjoy a $4.00 glass of wine with a tasty snack usually from the Pinnacle Grill. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Xmas and New Year at sea. What more could you want. You want to take that special bottle along with you, and if you are flying in from interstate then don't share your baggage. Your baggage is going to be confiscated because ... Read More
Xmas and New Year at sea. What more could you want. You want to take that special bottle along with you, and if you are flying in from interstate then don't share your baggage. Your baggage is going to be confiscated because you have bought more than your allocated share of alcohol on board and you are not going to get your bags until you go and get them. The lines of people waiting for customer service are horrendous so be prepared. We finally got our bags at 11PM. The ship is probably in need of an upgrade, however the cabins are very comfortable and you could not ask for better service from the cabin stewards, but once again things fall apart. If you want room service the wait could be 45 minutes for a coffee There is no where to get one close to your room. Breakfast room service was on time whenever you wanted it and great if you wanted to just sit out on the balcony without having to try and hustle to get a table at the Lido Buffet This did not deter the positives. Dining In the Main dining area was exceptional so if you want a good memory then book this in when you first book. The service in this area was also incredible so I am not being over critical Entertainment. B.B.King.Bar. WOW. What a great show. New Years Eve. Truly a night to remember. It could not have been bettered. Well maybe the fireworks at the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The night was something that Holland America can be proud of. Ports. I think everyone tells you about the Shore excursions. We along with everyone else took our obligatory photos. Fiji and the environs are known for their people and the pristine waters. They lived up to both. The people are wonderful. I am glad we have them as neighbors. The waters abound with beauty and you can't not like it Then all of a sudden you are on your way home and it sinks in that the holiday is almost over. Yes it has been good. It could have been great . What can I compare it to?. I can only compare it to some of the hotels of Asia or Europe, after all this is a big floating hotel. Did it live up to some of them?. I have stayed in some places that Holland America could take some lessons from in customer service. The service desk on board was abysmal. The Hanoi Elegance Group and even the Bich Duyen in Ho Chi Minh are pillars of high standards of service that this ship could learn from. I am home now. I open my bag of duty free alcohol. Only to find. No it could not happen. Yep they have given me the wrong one. Several emails over the next few weeks have gone unanswered by Holland America. Did that make me feel like a small fish in a big pond?, Do they even care? Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
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

Find a Noordam Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click