26 Sydney (Australia) Holland America Noordam Cruise Reviews

Unfortunately, HAL has gone downhill in our opinion. We haven't cruised with them for a few years due to dates and prices, so were expecting similar experiences that we had before. The ship itself is kept extremely clean and ... Read More
Unfortunately, HAL has gone downhill in our opinion. We haven't cruised with them for a few years due to dates and prices, so were expecting similar experiences that we had before. The ship itself is kept extremely clean and the staff are wonderful. The main issues were the food, entertainment and the Loft (lack of). Firstly, the food in the main dining room for the first few days of the cruises was very uninspiring. It was hard to find something to eat. The food did improve. Cannot fault the wait, wine and front of restaurant staff, they were very friendly and always smiling. The entertainment was very poor, the entertainment that did come on to the ship were very good (in particular Patrick McMahon) but there wasn't enough. In one week they had two guest artists that played individually and then together one night. Also, on two nights they should movies. We don't get the chance to see live entertainment much because of children so in the past the cruise night time entertainment was something to look forward to. There is BB Kings that play 3 times a night. They are good but unfortunately both singers got sick at the end of the cruise so they weren't able to sing and the head office wouldn't let anyone else stand in for them. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
When we booked the cruise we were unaware that our departure was from the White Bay Cruise Terminal. Only good point was you sail right under the Harbour Bridge. On the back deck when leaving Sydney, the atmosphere was very lack luster, no ... Read More
When we booked the cruise we were unaware that our departure was from the White Bay Cruise Terminal. Only good point was you sail right under the Harbour Bridge. On the back deck when leaving Sydney, the atmosphere was very lack luster, no music to signal the start of the journey, although there were drinks available, you had to guess if they were alcoholic or not. There was no photographer taking photos for international tourists to capture the harbour sights either. The ship is in urgent need of upgrade and looks tired and dated. It is due for a refit towards the end of the year - this is only internal. There were issues with the airconditioner being cold, so they ran the ship on four generators to warm it up and when the swell got bigger, turned the fifth generator back on. When running on the lesser generators they also experienced electrical and power issues. Food in the Lido Market was below par and what was there for lunch appeared at dinner with a different name. We asked what the temperature of the food bays were set at and the reply " I don't know it isn't my area". I had yoghurt for breakfast and could almost pour it into a cup to drink. The desserts were in this same fridge and were never at the correct temperature. The meals from the hot bays were luke warm, the plates on the other hand were extremely hot and at times unsafe to carry back to the table unless you brought your napkin. The serving staff were hit and miss with personality.Our cabin was a verandah and adequate for the two of us and our stewards who cleaned it daily were accommodating and . The entertainment we found to be enjoyable and the people we met also had mixed views about the staff and overall appearance of the ship. We had 4 shore excursions - Port Arthur, Hobart, Adelaide and Kangaroo Island. As these are all in US dollars research if there are companies that provide similar tours that can be booked from Australia to avoid the exchange rates. We enjoyed all our tours and only had one bad experience when in Kangaroo Island. Our 9 hour tour was uncomfortable as the airconditioning on the bus packed in 45 minutes into the tour and there were no other coaches available. The temperature inside the bus got to around 38 degress. The driver attempted to do all he could to make the best out of the situation, but by the end all us passengers couldn't wait to get of the coach and board the ship and get cold drinks. When we complained we were advised we would received a 15%refund that only equated to $60 dollars from a tour that was more than $300 USD. Should have pushed for a full refund. The only port where we felt welcomed was in South Australia were there was a bush band singing at arrivals and volunteers waiting to direct us to the buses, taxis or train to the city. The disembarkation at the ports was well managed and even the days we needed to use the tender boats. As I have used HAL prior, I was looking forward to sharing the experience with my son for his first cruise. Overall, regardless of the flaws mentioned, we had a relaxing time, but next time we cruise, will look at another company to compare the service and atmosphere. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
All ports were good. Cruise Tours were very expensive so we organised our own. Left from White Bay and getting aboard was smooth and easy. Once we departed things were a bit disorganised. On stern pool deck there was a table of drinks but ... Read More
All ports were good. Cruise Tours were very expensive so we organised our own. Left from White Bay and getting aboard was smooth and easy. Once we departed things were a bit disorganised. On stern pool deck there was a table of drinks but no assistance from wait staff as to price/type of cocktail. There was none of the usual atmosphere of departure (same at every port). Only advantage was going under Harbour Bridge. Cabin was fine albeit a pretty small balcony. Whole ship needs a real freshen up/full refurb. Lido lounge food was average. Some hot foods not hot but if asked for fresh cooked steak/fish then this was done (that's the clue!). Breakfast omelette was the best choice. Entertainment was very ordinary. Magician/Comedian was good. movies were on a very small screen and sound ordinary. Cabin staff were excellent. Stern Pool Bar staff were great, especially Troy! This ship seems to cater to older travellers. I'm 58 and there weren't many younger than me. Most people we spoke to were not happy with entertainment, bar times, Lido Market food. The day time food demos were good. Trivia bar quizzes were ok as were bar happy hours (if you could work out where/times). in summary, cabin was very good, quiet. Whole ship was immaculately clean. All Bar staff and some Lido Market staff were excellent. Dining Room was top shelf, staff, ambience and food. Would I travel Noordam again? No.Have travelled Celebrity before and they are chalk and cheese apart. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted to have Christmas and New Year on a cruise and the HAL had been recommended by some American friends. We had a wonderful surprise when we were upgraded from a SS midship to a Neptune suite at the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to have Christmas and New Year on a cruise and the HAL had been recommended by some American friends. We had a wonderful surprise when we were upgraded from a SS midship to a Neptune suite at the back of the ship.A really big cabin with an L shaped veranda at the back. Having access to the Neptune lounge was a plus, the 2 concierges could not have been more friendly and helpful and the free capuchino was another plus! As a handicapped person I did find the long distances to other places on the ship was a problem,which was why we booked midship, but we worked around that problem by choosing room service a lot of the time.We had some problems the first few days, with cold food and missing items, but after a visit to the desk and a talk with Gilroy, the maitre d, it was soon fixed. Our main problem, which caused us to leave the cruise after the 1st section, was the ship's doctor.We had problems understanding him, and the other medical staff, and he did not seem to understand us.He seemed to be very unsure about what procedure to take, even after speaking to my own home doctor on the phone. He did not seem to have had any experience with my problem, a U.T.I. and said that he was not happy about me staying onboard for the last 2 weeks of the cruise in case the infection got worse and he would have no facilities to help if we were at sea or in the small islands that were next on the itinerary. So we had to leave the cruise after the 1st 2 weeks of what should have been 4 wonderful weeks. So much for our much anticipated month in the Pacific!! Now I have to deal with our travel insurance office and try to get reimbursed for the 2 weeks we missed. NOT how I expected to be spending my time at New Year!! This was our 1st and last cruise with H.A.L. after 27 cruises with Princess I think we will be staying with them. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We had sailed with HAL on 3 previous cruises. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and had just been on Celebrity Solstice six weeks prior to this one and so comparisons between them were fresh in our minds. Where Solstice is clean ... Read More
We had sailed with HAL on 3 previous cruises. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and had just been on Celebrity Solstice six weeks prior to this one and so comparisons between them were fresh in our minds. Where Solstice is clean crisp lines with what we thought were much higher ceilings, Noordam is lower ceiling, less open spaces, fine arts but darkened lounge areas. Noordam did not come close to Solstice from the quality of their food, attention to detail and service of the crew. Embarkation for Noordam was slow. Our cabin was spotless our only complaint were the lumpy pillows. Our attendants always had a smile and were happy to assist to meet our needs. Dining - this is one of the features of cruising that we enjoy and were let down terribly. The menu selection and quality of food was poor, even in the Pinnacle Grill. We thought the standard in the Main Dining Room had dropped from our previous cruise with HAL but had improved measurably in the Buffet Dining (Lido). At all three dining venues we found the selection of deserts (and slices) disappointing. The attention to hygiene on board the ship was lacking. Rarely did we see a crew member ensuring that passengers used the sanitizers before entering the dining areas. The Air conditioning was poorly balanced and some areas of the ship were warm and others were very cold. Hence there were a lot of sick people on board. In the theatre during lecture and showtime there was constant coughing by passengers. Activities - not a great deal of variety or imagination used in planning the activity programme. The Test Kitchen was American food which was not to the Australian culinary style. exc Talks - Two great speakers were the Barrier Reef Pilot and Brian Stoddart who did a series on the Pacific the influences through history, art, internationalisation etc. The other speaker did a series on World War II in the Pacific is content was very disappointing. Entertainment - The highlight was the Planet Earth documentary accompanied by the String Quartet and Band. Fantastic! Mix of entertainers and three dance/shows. The BB King had us all tapping along with the music - they were great. Our first port of call was Gladstone....A wasted day. Not much to do or see the city tour included pointing out Bunnings and the local Library as sites of the town! Alotaou was not so much scenic as historically interesting port. If you are interested in the Second World War and the fighting in Milne Bay you will find doing a tour/excursion worthwhile. You will find locals portside who will take you on a tour of Alotaou. The next 2 ports were Kiriwina and Kitava Islands. Both beautiful islands where you can meet friendly tribal people These islands surpass the South Pacific Islands for swimming and snorkling in their lovely clear coral waters. You could buy wooden bowls carved by the village men or woven bags from the ladies. They do appreciate KENNA currency. Buy your currency before you leave home. Dont buy it off HAL they would not take back any unused currency (and they could sell you notes in poor condition that a bank will not accept - this happened to one passenger on our cruise). Next stop was Conflict Islands - this is a group of Islands owned by an Australian. It is very picturesque but very commercialized. (Buy any carvings or bags on this Island and expect to pay at least four times the price as on the other two islands... and you are not buying from the tribes person direct.) Our other ports were Cairns (Yorkies Knob) and Airlie Beach and then Brisbane. This cruise is not a cruise for those with disability issues. Only 3 ports were to a dock, five ports were by tender. The tenders were efficiently run and we did have to wait more than a couple of minutes at each port. It was extremely hot and it was lovely to have ice water and iced handtowels to greet us on and off the islands. One thing we did appreciate was the limited "on-sell" of spa, dining & drinks packages. It only occurred the first day or two. There are two issues that really were unsatisfactory.... 1. US$25 per person to get a shuttle bus from the wharf to Brisbane CBD. At Airlie Beach we paid A$5 in Australian dollars. Didn't add up paying Australian dollars on one occasion and USA dollars (at an exorbitant price) on the other. 2. No Christmas Carols on board the ships PA system. The ship was decorated with Christmas Decorations but no music. At requesting at the Guest Relations for some Carols to be played on the PA we were advised that the company had made a directive that no HOLIDAY MUSIC be played until the 22nd December. Yet they were quite happy for us to pay the ship's photographer to take "our CHRISTMAS PHOTO taken by the CHRISTMAS TREE". This is not the cruise line for children.. and especially around Christmas time. We were so disappointed at not being put into the Christmas spirit, that I doubt we will ever go on a cruise at Christmastime again with HAL. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
As we wanted to see Australia & try a cruise that was more than 2 - 3 weeks, this cruise fit the bill. We flew in a day before our cruise from Vancouver, mainly to re-coup from the long flight & see a bit of Sydney before ... Read More
As we wanted to see Australia & try a cruise that was more than 2 - 3 weeks, this cruise fit the bill. We flew in a day before our cruise from Vancouver, mainly to re-coup from the long flight & see a bit of Sydney before embarking on our journey. As it turned out, we did mostly re-couping than sight seeing. We stayed at a hotel in the Mascot area, near the international airport, which was also a block away from the train station. Understandably the hotels by the airports are more reasonably price than the ones in the city, especially around the Rocks & Circular Quay. The next day, after a leisurely breakfast, we took the train to Circular Quay & strolled to the Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT) to embark the Noordam. The train ride was around 20 minutes & cost about $4.50 AUD/person. The distance from the train station to the OPT was an easy 2 flat block walk along a beautiful waterfront. Enroute, we walked into the many stores along the waterfront & took a whole bunch of pictures. Remember you can't check in until about noon, so you have a lot of time. There were around 10 - 15 stations (maybe more) for check in & a point person to tell you which station to go to. However, when the 4 or 5 star folks arrive & sometime in large bunches, they understandably get priority check in. That could be a little frustrating especially if you've waited for a long period of time. Notwithstanding, the check in went as smooth as possible. We had a post night stay following our cruise & elected for a late disembarkation, as such, it went smoothly. As titled, the Noordam is an old reliable friend. She is dated, but she is still capable & reliable especially when we encountered the rough seas. I found her clean, comfortable and with friendly helpful staff. I found the service to be very good. My cabin review is shown hereunder. We found the dining to be average to good. There was certainly no "wow" factor. In fact, I found the food a little on the salty side & repetitive, especially at the "Lido". Again, I found the service at the Lido & in the dining room to be very good. I don't really enjoy "Broadway" type productions, but I did like the "sandman" from New Zealand & Patrick McMahon the Australian musician. A comment about the gym. For those who like to use the free weights (dumb bells), there are cabins situated under this station, as such you have to place your weights down VERY quietly, or else. This station should be moved. A couple of comments respecting the ports in Papua New Guinea (PNG). We were led to believe that PNG prerfers passengers spending in PNG kinas, as the Australian, let alone US dollar was hard for the locals to exchange back to kinas. As such, Holland America brought in someone to convert your money to PNG kina (1 USD = 3.36 kina, 1 AUD = 2.39 kina, Jan./19 rate). Understandably, for this service, you will not be getting a good, let alone, a best rate. I was a little disappointed that when we attended a ship's shore excursion, most if not all the arts & crafts were in Australian dollars. A little more lost money in conversion, albeit small, but still another lost. Just saying. The locals on the islands that we visited in PNG were friendly, even if no purchases were made. The port of Gladstone, Queensland was a new stop for Holland America. During cruise ship season, a local market is set up about a 5 minute walk from where the ships are docked. The locals makes this as a day out there and were friendly & happy to see us. We docked on a Sunday, a day where most things were closed in town. Not knowing this, we purchased shuttle tickets for $30 pp, from the ship to go into town. You would have thought Holland America ought to have known that most, if not all things were closed in Gladstone on a Sunday. Just saying, again. Read Less
Sail Date November 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
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
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
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 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’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 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
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
Had a great time and met some great people on the boat, unfortunately one band for the whole entire 28 day cruise, they were an excellent band and they rocked new years like you wouldn't believe, but for the whole cruise, come on!! ... Read More
Had a great time and met some great people on the boat, unfortunately one band for the whole entire 28 day cruise, they were an excellent band and they rocked new years like you wouldn't believe, but for the whole cruise, come on!! and only two comedian shows for the 28 day cruise. I was expecting a lot more as I had been on other cruise ships before. Spoke to one of the staff and they said that it was hard to get entertainers at that time of the year, I think that it was lack of planning. Food was outstanding and I am now five kilos heavier. Trying to get a drink up on the back deck was a bit hard sometimes, staff was run off their feet. Italian restaurant was outstanding and Pinnacles was good also. The main restaurant got busy at times and there was a bit of a wait, the food was excellent and the staff were friendly Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This cruise was on our "bucket list!" The ports in New Zealand and Australia that we did visit were good. We did run into a mechanical problem and were not able to sail to Auckland or Bay of Islands. This was unfortunate, but ... Read More
This cruise was on our "bucket list!" The ports in New Zealand and Australia that we did visit were good. We did run into a mechanical problem and were not able to sail to Auckland or Bay of Islands. This was unfortunate, but these things happen and I feel we were fairly compensated for the delay. We did spend an extra day in Napier and everything that could be done was done to make our extra day enjoyable. The trans-Pacific repositioning portion of the cruise was hampered by some bad weather and outrunning a couple of storms. We had three or four ports where there were only beaches to enjoy and I am not a beach person. I am a "seasoned" cruiser and found the food had deteriorated in both selection and quality since our last cruise a year ago. The cutbacks being made are beginning to really show! Have you ever heard of macaroni being served as an entree? The servers were run off their feet and the food was "warm" and not "hot" when it arrived at our table. The Indonesian and Phillipine staff continue to amaze me with their smiles and desire to help you. Entertainment was - for the most part - very good. The cruise director, Carlos, was exceptional. Unfortunately, the Captain was visible to passengers only when it was essential. Unfortunately, this was far from the best cruise we have taken with Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We thoroughly enjoyed the ports we visited, however we did encounter a few missed ports due to both weather conditions and a problem with the ship's starboard thrusters. Parts had to be ordered from Finland so we spent two days in ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed the ports we visited, however we did encounter a few missed ports due to both weather conditions and a problem with the ship's starboard thrusters. Parts had to be ordered from Finland so we spent two days in Napier. Unfortunately Aukland did not have a berth to house the ship the next day so we returned to Sydney. We also missed the Bay of Islands stop. The food on the Noordam was not up to Holland America's normal standards - except in the Pinnacle Grill. We were also surprised that the Captain only showed his face when it was absolutely necessary! I found the final "show" was a total waste of our time. On previous cruises, the entire ship's crew - including the captain and his officers - appeared on stage and the ship's entertainers did a short show. This "windup" consisted of crew staff coming on stage, facing left, right, and centre for picture taking and that was the end of the show! A real disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Neptune suite was great and he Neptune Lounge is fantastic. No waiting in line at the front desk and terrific concierge help at the Neptune suite. First three/fourths of the trip was great. But at Napier, New Zealand, we broke down. A ... Read More
Neptune suite was great and he Neptune Lounge is fantastic. No waiting in line at the front desk and terrific concierge help at the Neptune suite. First three/fourths of the trip was great. But at Napier, New Zealand, we broke down. A defective thruster. We were supposed to leave Napier at 4:30 PM. That departure time came and went and we stayed there at the dock overnight and NOT ONE WORD from anyone on the ship. Nothing from the captain. The next morning, captain announces the thruster is fixed but we will continue to stay in Napier another day and not depart until 10:30 PM. As a result, he announced we will skip the next two ports of call, which were Bay of Islands and Auckland! Compensation was $100 a person OBC and 20 percent off your next cruise. Concensus among the passengers was that we could have at least stopped at Bay of Islands, since it was a tender port. Next: food on the Lido deck is prepared and individually served, usually by one person. Limited seating. Lines were usually ten to fifteen minutes long, even for toast. Could they not have two people preparing the meals??? Lido food service closed at 8 PM every night. Food in the DR is good but as the trip progressed, there was more and more soup, such as apricot soup, peach coconut soup, mushroom soup, potato soup, parsnip soup, carrot soup, and my favorite-- meatball soup. As the days went on, there was less and less fresh fruit, such as strawberries. At one point, the wine steward charged someone else's drinks to our account. When I pointed this out to the front desk, I was told it had to be investigated (?) I protested and on the spot, the purser took it off the bill. The gym is outdated with old, chipped, rusted equipment and the connection for sound on the tread mills did not work on any of those machines. Gym attendant said it had been reported but no one had tried to fix it. Shore excursions were a little confusing as there was lacking signs on the docks. Otherwise they were very good, altho expensive. Entertainment at night is "fair", with performances by a Chinese accordian player, a ventriloquist and a guitar player. Activities during the day are poor. Only one lecture that did not involve trying to sell us something. There are gatherings everyday for Gays and another separate gathering everyday for LGBT folks. There are digital classes everyday but since the room only holds 28 people, you have to stand in line almost 30 minutes to get a seat. There are also cooking demos. Note that by 9 PM every night, there was almost no one on board. They were all in bed. Even the casino was almost always empty. Our suite was lovely and the cabin attendants were cheerful and very attentive and all the staff is very friendly. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I have cruised with Holland America twice before in America and I was very pleased with this cruise line but that was eight years ago. I bought a last minute special in a verandah cabin and was very excited to cruise again. Firstly,I ... Read More
I have cruised with Holland America twice before in America and I was very pleased with this cruise line but that was eight years ago. I bought a last minute special in a verandah cabin and was very excited to cruise again. Firstly,I would like to say that this ship is very clean and the cabin stewards work day and night to keep the cabin clean.The crew are very friendly and the public areas and bars are well maintained and look quite opulent. The captain always kept us well informed at all times. The problems for us started when we were shown to our cabin we were very disappointed as the door of the cabin was covered in graffiti! The fold out devan bed was made but could not be pushed down into its hide away position so it was half out! It took days for a engineer to fix as best he could but it never folded in completely.The room was in need of a makeover, the bed was uncomfortable and I had to request a foam overlay and the pillows were very worn so on our first port stop I bought a pillow. The restaurants onboard are average although we did enjoy the specialty Italian one very much. Some of the entertainment was good but the overall experience with the singers was very average. I just can't believe a cabin with graffiti on the window was sold to me! Unfortunately this was our last cruise with HA. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We have just disembarked in Sydney from our 16 night cruise around New Zealand over the 2015 Christmas and new year period. The cruise experience was enjoyable but, having cruised with Holland America in 2010, it just felt that the company ... Read More
We have just disembarked in Sydney from our 16 night cruise around New Zealand over the 2015 Christmas and new year period. The cruise experience was enjoyable but, having cruised with Holland America in 2010, it just felt that the company is cutting corners and is turning every cent. The staff were visibly tired and overworked. The entertainment (yes I know it's not the cruise line with a reputation for great entertainment) was dull and amateurish. That having been said, they sport the BB Kings Band who were simply fabulous but after 16 nights we yearned for something different. Whereas the prices commanded for alcohol were exorbitant, the wines sold on board ranged from average to cheap. Coming from South Africa, we recognized that the South African wines sold at a mark up was at least 75 percent. The cost of the onboard activities (such as gym classes and at the spa) were prohibitive to say the least. And this says nothing about the shore excursions - do the research and you can do the identical tours with far fewer people at a fraction of the price if you organize them locally. The ports were interesting and we enjoyed seeing them from the sea as they are mostly on the shore line save for Christchurch and Rotarua which are inland. Wellington, Picton, Auckland and Sydney are all fabulous destinations whereas Napier, Dunedin, and the bay of islands were also enjoyable stops. The country is very focused on tourism and with the minimum of effort one can plan your activities well in advance. The car rental services mostly met us in the port and most of the ports lay on a free shuttle service In and out of the towns. The entire cruise only had two tender ports - both of them were long but reasonably organized. At every port the New Zealand travel information services -I-site- were fully represented and local tours could be booked independently of the cruise line. Although one can book cheaper tours by going on line, the local tour organizers that met the passengers on shore were able to offer identical tours at a fraction of the price of the shore excursions offered on board. My teenage daughter had a fabulous time - she met lots of new friends and the activities offered were good and the staff fabulous. Unfortunate there were a number of unruly small children on board but that is probably due to the timing of the cruise. The dining was good albeit that the choices were much more limited than on previous cruises. For someone who seldom eats fast food, I can say that the 'dive in' hutch made fabulous burgers. The Christmas and New Years activities centered around large outdoor barbecues which focused on quantity and not quality. I would definitely recommend that anyone who does this cruise researches the activities ahead of time or at the local I-site centers. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was my second HAL cruise, my first being in October on the Maasdam out of Montreal. this time the ship was better (the Maasdam old at 22 years for a cruise ship) but still tired and in need of a refit although a beautiful ship. My ... Read More
This was my second HAL cruise, my first being in October on the Maasdam out of Montreal. this time the ship was better (the Maasdam old at 22 years for a cruise ship) but still tired and in need of a refit although a beautiful ship. My bathroom smelt of mildew and mould and despite the very best efforts of my delightful cabin crew who kept it spotlessly clean they couldn't solve the problem. My toilet was scratched and scarred and should have been replaced before I saw it. My cabin wallpaper was split at the seams - and although a lovely cabin the condition of both not good enough for the line. The crew were excellent, absolutely no complaints there but the food mediocre at best and cost cutting was evident in the vegetables in the dining room and fruit in the Lido. Having to pay $US1.50/75 for coffee after dinner was an insult - surely the line could absorb that, it would have cost that to process to the account!! As for $US150 to do the tour of the ship - this totally blew me away. This was outrageous!!!!! $US20 for the shuttle off Dunedin wharf (no other way of getting off there unless you were on a tour) was excessive - think of a family of two adults and three children who would be down $US100 before they got into town - totally unacceptable. The Wellington shuttle at $NZ10 return very fair and the others were free. On the upside the cruise director was excellent and I enjoyed most of the entertainment. A broken handbag strap was dealt with at the front office very quickly and efficiently and with no charge - I would have been most happy to pay for this as I deemed it an extra service. A piece of property lost from my cabin was quickly found in the laundry by my cabin steward and returned to me. The Captain's daily communication was excellent and we particularly applauded his dealing with a passenger who had been using unacceptable language to a staff member after the ship was unavoidably delayed out of Auckland - very well done there. A first class Maitre' D in the dining room sat me at thoroughly enjoyable tables (I was travelling alone) where I met delightful friendly people and after the first time, he knew me and knew I didn't want to eat alone. Well done. To summarise, I think the Line has much to improve on it's cost cutting penny pinching problems and dining room food.. I have cruised many times and have to say I would use HAL again but they would be my lower choice rather than preferred. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
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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