17 Sydney (Australia) Holland America Noordam Cruise Reviews

I have just returned from a Vanuatu, New Caledonia 14 day cruise from Sydney returning back to Sydney cruise, and it was fabulous. What fantastic service, what wonderful delicious food served every day! I could not find a thing to complain ... Read More
I have just returned from a Vanuatu, New Caledonia 14 day cruise from Sydney returning back to Sydney cruise, and it was fabulous. What fantastic service, what wonderful delicious food served every day! I could not find a thing to complain about, sure the ship is a little worse for wear, and it can definitely do with a renovation, which I believe is going to happen at the end of 2019, or so I was told, but it is kept spotlessly clean at all times. And nothing is too much trouble for any crew.I loved the Dine-In free of charge cabin service to all cabins, 24 hours a day. I had the best mushroom vegetable omelette with goats cheese on top every morning, it came out hot and delicious. The toast often wasn't but that didn't worry me! Every meal I had, except for one, where the turkey schnitzel was a little dry, but it was replaced immediately. The ship does seem to cater for a more mature clientele, but once again that didn't bother me. I could choose from at least a thousand movies for my cabin DVD player free of charge, you order, a steward delivers and picks it up again, fantastic! Fresh fruit for my basket supplied daily without being asked. Beautiful great quality toiletries suppled as well. As I am not as mobile as I used to be, I cannot say what the actual Islands were like, as I did not get off, but fellow passengers were all impressed on their return. The only complaint I have are the 'compulsory gratuities' that are charged at US$14.50 every day, but in the long run they did deserve this tip and I am accepting of it! It used to be that you could remove it on going to the Service Desk, but I was told that now you must fill in a form to give the reason why you don't wish to pay it! But that is not the ship's fault but HAL! All in all I just loved the ship and can't wait to rebook another one with them Thank you Noordam! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise mainly due to the Australian itinerary & to see Kangaroo Island. We had low expectations of the condition of the Noordam given the reviews I had read were not very complimentary about the condition of the ship. ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly due to the Australian itinerary & to see Kangaroo Island. We had low expectations of the condition of the Noordam given the reviews I had read were not very complimentary about the condition of the ship. We were pleasantly surprised that it really wasn’t as bad as some of the reviews I had read had indicated. Yes the ship is due for refurbishment but the staff seem to go to enormous lengths to try and keep everything as pristine as possible. Our embarkation time was 1pm at White Bay Terminal. We had to wait in the queue for about 1.5 hours as it seemed a lot of other people decided to ignore their dedicated time and come earlier. We went to the mandatory safety muster but for some odd reason our passes didn’t register as having attended and we kept on receiving letters in our cabin telling us we had to do it until we went to reception to get it sorted out. Leaving Sydney harbour on a sunny afternoon is nothing short of spectacular even though we live in Sydney it is an amazing experience. We had an aft facing balcony cabin 8145 which was just under the Lido deck. Walking to and from the back of the ship was never an issue for us. The room was reasonably spacious with plenty of cupboard space. The only issue was the chair scraping noise coming from the Lido deck about 5:30am every morning. The noise lasted about 20 minutes. We would definitely book an aft cabin again as it’s wonderful watching the wake while sitting on the balcony. I would make sure it’s not under the Lido in future. We found the main dining room food ok. We went to Canaletto three times as the food is amazing along with the service and for an extra USD15 it is definitely worth it. We also went to the Pinnacle Grill twice although we preferred Canaletto. We loved the refined style of service on the ship. It was really good to not have pushy photographers like some other cruise lines and while there are lovely art works to view there were no dodgy art auctions either. Kangaroo Island is very beautiful. We did the day tour through the ship which went to Admirals Arch, Remarkable rocks and Hansen Bay Koala Park. While we thought the tour was extremely expensive through the ship we wanted the piece of mind as there is quite a lot of road travel involved. Lunch was included in the tour and there was loads of sandwiches available so no one would have gone hungry as there were many spare after lunch. There is no iPhone reception on the island and I was relieved we didn’t do our own tour as we would have had no way of contacting anyone if something went wrong. This was our first time on a HAL ship and I would definitely go on one again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was a 30 day that was a rd trip from Sydney. Tasmania, Kangaroo Island, Melbourne, up the Queensland coast with several stops then Papua New Guinea (3), Conflict Islands, Cairns, Great Barrier Reef and Brisbane. The crew was second to ... Read More
This was a 30 day that was a rd trip from Sydney. Tasmania, Kangaroo Island, Melbourne, up the Queensland coast with several stops then Papua New Guinea (3), Conflict Islands, Cairns, Great Barrier Reef and Brisbane. The crew was second to none! Fantastic food and service. Really good entertainment of all types brought on at many ports. Really enjoyed America's Test Kitchen and band in BB King. 4 Happy Hours every day. 2 each in 2 lounges. Jai, the CD was really professional but fun and very approachable. He is Dutch as most officers are. The mainly Filipino and Indonesian crew go out of their way to make you happy. We are Elite on Princess and Platinum on Carnival. Had only sailed HAL 25 years ago and were bored. This was far from It! We had a wonderful time and have already booked a 28 day to China and Japan. No, it's not all old people (I thought it would be). Granted very few children but guests of all ages. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Firstly, disregard all the negative reviews of this ship. It is a meticulously maintained, modern ship with top quality food and staff. Many people reviewing relatively luxury cruise ships, like the ms Noordam, have silver spoons broken ... Read More
Firstly, disregard all the negative reviews of this ship. It is a meticulously maintained, modern ship with top quality food and staff. Many people reviewing relatively luxury cruise ships, like the ms Noordam, have silver spoons broken off inside them and tend to complain about ridiculous things, like slices of lemon. Holland America Line is by no means a party ship, or even a 'family-fun' cruise line. It is a cruise line designed for unwinding and relaxing with just enough entertainment to make you want to never go home. I am 30 and found this cruise to be fantastic, although I know a few party-animal friends that would be bored to tears on this ship. If you want to party, go on a carnival line. Also, I counted 9 children out of about 1500 people, and these children must have had their voice-boxes removed as they were quiet, obedient and barely noticeable. Ship The ms Noodrem is a modern, luxury ship designed to provide panoramic views without the weather disruptions (these ships were designed with cold-weather cruises in-mind). Expect lots of glass on the lido deck, overlooking the ocean. Expect heated pools and a sauna. The ship is exceptionally well appointed with modern amenities and brand-new trimmings. The ship has no worn carpet or torn furniture - that is a total lie. Cabin We had a balcony cabin just under the lido deck. The balcony was huge with good privacy and amazing views. I should mention we originally booked a balcony room on the 5th floor - I would not recommend this level due to potential obstructions from the tender/lifeboats found midship. The balcony room was large, comfortable, and well maintained. There were a few squeaks from the roof during rough seas but nothing to worry me. In the mornings and evenings, noise from above was heard but did not bother us in the slightest - would definitely book another room under the Lido deck. Dining Food was of very high quality except the odd dish, which didn't have much flavour. The formal dining room produced amazingly high quality food, with exceptional service. Worth noting, it takes about 2 hours from the time you order until the time you finish dessert in this formal setting. The lido market, the buffet, was fantastic. You could find a seat easily, unless you were fussy and wanted to sit near the huge panoramic windows (which we wanted to). Food was great although more variety day-to-day would have been nice. Entertainment This was probably the only issue I had. Entertainment varied from exceptional and hilarious to boring and embarrassing. The comedian was absolutely hilarious and the Noordam dancers were quite good however the guest singer, who did 2 shows, was embarrassing and ridiculous - she tried to be funny and was not. At all. I have seen some pretty amazing shows while at sea so I may not be the best person to judge the entertainment on the Noordam. Things like the BBC presentations were great but bingo was less energetic than what you would find at a retirement home. Again, I have played bingo on P&O, which, hands-down, is the most fun you will ever have blotting numbers. Service Service was the best I have ever experienced. Land or sea. The staff are courteous, friendly and attentive. They will bring you dessert without asking as they have noticed your favourite ones the night before. They were that dedicated and hard working, I often felt guilty. You could not fault any of them. Ports and Shore excursions. Although a little bit more expensive than other cruise lines I have been on, they were not over-the-top. Expect to pay 10-20% more for a similar shore excursion when compared to Royal Caribbean or P&O and about the same as what you would expect from Princess or Celebrity. Very good range and all the benefits of booking through the cruise line - cancellation refunds are instant should the excursion be cancelled, they'll wait for you if delayed and you're covered, somewhat, with their insurance. All in all, an exceptional cruise filled with friendly, traveled people who are happy to have a chat with you. Disregard the other reviews, you will love it, unless you're a teenager looking to party. If you are not sure if you will like it, you will, I promise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Summary: We chose this cruise for the itinerary after first looking at a similar Oceania cruise; we saved substantially on HAL, and for this itinerary that was more important to us than the expected diminution of values relating to the ... Read More
Summary: We chose this cruise for the itinerary after first looking at a similar Oceania cruise; we saved substantially on HAL, and for this itinerary that was more important to us than the expected diminution of values relating to the cabin, passengers and food. We were very pleasantly surprised at the high quality of service we received from the Maitre D, Waiter and Assistant Waiter; cabin service was excellent and we found the crew as a whole very pleasant. Food and Entertainment greatly exceeded our expectations. Embarkation: We did not board until 2:30 as were were enjoying Sydney (we spent 4 days pre-cruise there and wish we had spent 6); when we did board the process was efficient and fast. We brought on board 6 bottles of wine purchased in Australia; we were charged for 2 immediately (and the others as we used them in the Dining Room). No issues there. Cabin: When we reached our cabin we received our luggage in short order; our cabin steward came by and we requested that the fridge be emptied as we were only going to use it to cool wine bottles and water; this was seen to very quickly and for the rest of the cruise the fridge, not being overfilled, worked quite well. Twice a day service kept the cabin in good shape. See below for more detail. Dining: We had an early assignment in the Dining Room as requested, and were seated at the higher level at a table for 4, but occupied only by us - this was better than the two top we requested. During the cruise the 3 course dinners were served very quickly (45-50 minutes) which was fine with us; we had time to go to the Lincoln Center and other entertainment thereafter if we chose. Service including water refills was excellent. If we wanted an additional appetizer this was never an issue. Given the temperature limitations of cooking meats on a cruise ship we thought the chefs did quite well; medium rare was usually medium rate though not as juicy as at a land based restaurant. Some of the dinner apps and mains were really excellent, including Veal Roast in a mushroom sauce, and perfectly prepared Tuna. Pretty much everything was good or better. We tried Canaletto one night; it was decent but not outstanding. Pinnacle was great for lunch, and good at dinner but the wonderful Bouilliabaisse served at lunch was unavailable at dinner. Sel De Mer (X2) was very very good, with the sweetest lobster with brown butter sauce, Torchon of foie gras, a heaping plate of very fresh seafood for from clams to crab legs for a measly $25, great truffled potatoes and a very good classic souffle for dessert. Cellar Master's Dinner was very very well done and a real bargain compared to more expensive dinners we experienced on Oceania's Riviera. Beef tenderloin had very good flavor. Desserts in all venues were usually quite good. We asked our Maitre D if we could experience an Indonesian dinner and he provided us with an off menu dinner one night and an Indian dinner another, both very enjoyable. Only had dinner once in Lido; had pasta and enjoyed it.We had all but one of our breakfasts in the Lido, which was very crowded; omelets were very well made in accordance with instructions; good smoked salmon every day; tried to get creamed herring every day but failed (despite promises); the only downsides at breakfast were absence of fresh berries and overworked wait staff making it hard to get beverage refills. The other down side, in virtually every setting, was the fact that we could overhear our neighbors, which was usually annoying and at times painful; I would vote for higher noise level so that we wouldn't have that repeated experience. The Ship: Noordam is not new, but we don't have a fetish about that and we found it and its condition more than good enough. There were a few leaks (one big one just outside the Lido) on rainy days but otherwise no issues. Covered pool area was nice on cool days; hot tubs being available early and last was nice. Music played in various public areas and the Lido was just a weird mix, though sometimes the crew liked to sing along. I was told that the same music is played in all ships which suggests that little though is put into it. Pinnacle thankfully had some quieter classical music. Compared to Riviera, the ship has fewer quiet public spaces but we found a few; there is at times a near claustrophobic feel especially when large numbers of people are rambling towards Vista Lounge for a show. The small cabins can get that way as well. Photography and Cruise Art areas which must be passed several times a day were tiresome as well (haven' been on a cruise with those in about 15 years), but this was a minor annoyance. Noordam still has a nice library (as of now). We had very good weather for the whole cruise and almost no rocking or vibration. Crew (Service) :Great, the Captain made timely and good announcements, Cruise Director was fine. Entertainment: Lincoln Center featured 5 very talented musicians playing different concerts 5 nights a week in a very nice dedicated space with good sound - a mix of classical concerts, and other types of music all played very well. This truly made a huge difference for us. BB Kings was enjoyable. The Comedian and Violinist who played at Vista were fun; I did not like the pianist "Hyperbole" Knight, who performed a Readers Digest version of Rachmaninoff, but I was definitely in the minority. Port information shows were very good. That's about it for entertainment for us: we didn't do trivia etc. We also didn't do bars. My wife enjoyed her one beauty treatment (expensive as expected). Ships' stores had a few pleasant items (magnets and earrings) but nothing serious. Ports and Shore Excursions: We did our own excursions except one ship excursion which was rather disappointing. Captain did a great job showing everyone Milford Sound. Very nicely arranged shuttle buses where needed. Passengers: the vast majority ranged in age from 50 to 75, with the largest number from the US, followed by Australia. The Americans were from all over the US, but the majority (from conversations we couldn't avoid hearing) were conservative and if they weren't comparing notes on their cruise experiences they would share their social observations; the group was much more conservative in their expression than any cruise I've been on; since we traveled in part to escape that it was disappointing. Aside from that e were very happy with this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We are an early 40's married couple who travel permanently and have taken about 10 cruises in the last 18 months. We have sailed HAL, Celebrity, NCL, P/O Australia and Regent. Our previous experience on HAL has only been on the ... Read More
We are an early 40's married couple who travel permanently and have taken about 10 cruises in the last 18 months. We have sailed HAL, Celebrity, NCL, P/O Australia and Regent. Our previous experience on HAL has only been on the Koningsdam. We chose this cruise to celebrate Xmas and NYE after loving a similar cruise last year and to see some of the south pacific we have not visited before. We had amazing weather on this cruise and very smooth seas which helped make it a great cruise. As with our other HAL cruise the average age of fellow passengers was quite high and the overall vibe of the ship more conservative than what we have found on Celebrity and NCL. We embarked in Sydney (where we are originally from) at the White Bay terminal. Embarkation was reasonably smooth bar the annoyingly condescending terminal staff who seem to suffer from self importance delusions. The Noordam is similar in size to most other ships we have been on. The layout was simple to follow. It is about 10 years old and probably needs a make over. The theme is nautical with dark colours. It was kept very clean and seemed to be maintained well. We loved the promenade deck which was a nice place to walk and a great place to relax in the shade and we had no problem finding a lounger. The explorations cafe is a nice large area with books and games. The crows nest was also a favourite and much better than on the Koningsdam. There were 2 pool areas on either side of the Lido. We had an inside cabin which we found smaller than other cabins we have had. The storage also felt less than usual. The bed was large and very comfortable. The tv was basic but we rarely used it. The shower was a bit small and we didn't like the use of a curtain. Also the layout meant that one person exiting the bathroom while the other was getting changed was completely incompatible and dangerous if a warning was not given of exiting the bathroom. Our attendant was superb. Dining: Breakfast we either used room service or the Lido. Room service was on time but the eggs were awful (powder I assume). The Lido had good options with different egg options, different bacon and plenty of smoked salmon with a reasonable selection of breads. We like that it is not self serve although it did make it slower. The layout of the tables etc was good and service was reasonable. We used the MDR for lunch on sea days and always prefer it there, food was basic but tasty. Other times we had a burger from the burger bar which are a high standard or a freshly made salad from the Lido (great healthy option). Dinner - we didn't use the specialty restaurants as did on our last cruise and found them to be inconsistent, it also annoys me that most of the other patrons are staff and officers and hence you feel like you are subsidising them. The MDR had good quality food (not bread) and in particular desserts were the best we have seen for some time. Service was generally very good although on the few occasions there was an issue they were poor at dealing with (eg a hair in one of the dishes did not receive an apology or even a change to another dish). The issue was the seating at the MDR, queues were common, reservations did not help as you still had to join the same queue. Requests to eat at other times didn't help either. The sommeliers were far too slow and often we did not get any wine until half way thru our main course and in the end I often left the MDR and got my own from nearby bars. Entertainment - we appreciate the effort the ship made for Xmas (lots of carols, decorations, xmas food, special cocktails etc) and nye (fun outdoors party). The production singers were of a high standard but some of the shows seemed very short and it would be good to see a live orchestra used more. Guest entertainers were mostly singers and generally entertaining. Jo Little was a highlight. The cruise director was friendly and knew us by name and we found him (Andy Knox) to be highly visible. He was usually at the tenders in the morning and could always be found fraternising after the shows. Erin the assistant cruise director was absolutely charming and took on a huge amount of activities and dj'ing. We enjoy activities and found this cruise to have less than normal especially in comparison to NCL or P/O. Some more dance classes would have been great. The cooking demonstrations were so tedious we didn't bother. The aboriginal art and didgeridoo classes were terrific. Service was generally of a high standard. The front desk was inconsistent in knowledge and generally rude in dealing with accounting errors (always their fault but always presumed it was ours). Bar staff was about average but generally friendly but they would at all times try and get you to order away from the bar and use a waiter. This is fine but then they would always give priority to those who refused and stayed at the bar. We bought the SBP, we think it is a good deal for us as we like to try a number of different drinks and allows us to get sparkling water regularly and plenty of specialty coffees. We also like that we can take unopened drinks back to our cabin. The wine choices were too limited. There is a 15 drink limit which is fine but there is a lot of confusion around whether this is only alcoholic drinks (all bar tenders say it is and front desk says it is not - poor policy) and there is no way of the ship keeping a record?? The itinerary was mostly beach oriented which was fine by us and we found some great snorkelling options. Noumea - xmas day so most things closed. We went to duck island using the lyvia HOHO. Very nice snorkelling. Isle of Pines - spectacular place - we snorkelled all over Kunamera Bay (not just the rock) and walked and relaxed on Kuto Beach. Private tours were available but not to the natural aquarium which was a shame. Lifou - we spent the entire day at Jinek Bay as it was a snorkelers paradise! Mystery Island - unfortunately blue bottles on the snorkelling side so just relaxed on beach. Port Villa - fought off the touts took a water taxi to town and then a bus out to the cascades. Nice place but expensive for what it is then walked to the Secret Garden which was ok. Luganville - ignored touts walked into town and finally found a fair taxi. Went to million dollar point, took canoe on riri river and blue hole and did water dance cultural visit. Champagne Bay - snorkelling and beach. Easo - only half day so went to the beach and snorkelled. HAL has price guarantee on tours but it was obvious they threatened local ports to not allow tour companies to offer private options. Disembarkation very easy. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We 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 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 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
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
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
New Zealand was on my husband's bucket list for a long time. We decided the best way to get a feel for the country is to do a cruise & sample as many ports as possible. So we chose Holland Americas 14 day cruise with 8 ports. ... Read More
New Zealand was on my husband's bucket list for a long time. We decided the best way to get a feel for the country is to do a cruise & sample as many ports as possible. So we chose Holland Americas 14 day cruise with 8 ports. It was fantastic. Lots of stops in the South Island and also on the North Island. Unfortunately, because of large swells in the port of Christchurch where we were mooring because of damage to the wharf from the earthquake, we had to skip this port. It was unsafe to transfer to/from a tender. But everything else was fairly smooth sailing. The upside was that we were able to spend another 3/4 day in Dunedin & we saw a castle that we wouldn't have otherwise seen! Yeah! Food was delicious in both the Lido and main dining area. We did not try the "pay" restaurants, but hear good things from others. Entertainment (with the exception of 2 acts) was the only area that could use improvement. The Noordam singers/dancers were not the caliper that we are used to on Holland. Also the "other" activities on sea days could have been improved. No free popcorn for movies...boooo!!! Cabin attendants were friendly, helpful, and showed up when we were not there. Invisible little elfs! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
my 3rd time on the Noordam, 9 weeks totol, so i know her well. For the price of apx 110 per night for a balcony the value is terrific. The BBKing band plays 3x per night and are an exellent ship dance band. The Theater ... Read More
my 3rd time on the Noordam, 9 weeks totol, so i know her well. For the price of apx 110 per night for a balcony the value is terrific. The BBKing band plays 3x per night and are an exellent ship dance band. The Theater is awsome, the shows ok. The piano bar is good, The room good, the food great. The evevators were fast and frequent and all over. There are two one hour happy hours per day, so two good coctails are only 12 dollars including tip. The Microsoft classes are very good and free. The personell are great, and knowledgeable. I would pick a balcony room on floor 4 because it is larger and near the action. I don't have any real complaints. but here are a few. FOR THE SAKE OF OUR PLANET -- I dislike people grabbing four towls for each visit to the pool, (why not take them back to your room for reuse) People throwing away lots of uneaten food, at the buffet seconds are free- so get small portions of what you do not know for shure you will enjoy. Maybe take back to your room what you can not finish for later. At the show if the theater will likely fill up do not leave on empty seat between the person your sittinng next to. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We chose this cruise because we were traveling to Sydney to see family. My cousin suggested a tour of New Zealand, which we took by bus. - It was with APT Tours & was wonderful After a 3 week stay in Sydney we wanted to take a ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were traveling to Sydney to see family. My cousin suggested a tour of New Zealand, which we took by bus. - It was with APT Tours & was wonderful After a 3 week stay in Sydney we wanted to take a leisurely trip back to the US via Vancouver, BC There are not enough accolades to give the Noordam & her crew. From the moment of embarkation until we docked in Vancouver we were surrounded by wonderful people, service & food ( & lots of it) There were enough on-board activities for everyone, no matter what your interest. HAL utilized lecturers with in depth knowledge of the areas & islands we visited. The Cruise Director, Carlos & his staff kept us busy on the sea days, with daily team trivia, pool games, etc. The evenings entertainment was top-notch. We became nightly denizens of the piano bar! We celebrated Anzac Day for those Kiwis & Aussies on board. There was a Passover Seder and anyone interested was invited to attend. Our favorite area on any cruise is always the Spa & this was no exception. We indulged ourselves for the many spa amenities & were very pleased. We visited New Caledonia, Lautoka , Vanatu, Noumea, Pago Pago, Mystery Island & Honolulu for 2 days. We crossed the International Date line & had April 16th twice. We also crossed the Equator. They had an initiation ceremony for those new crew members who crossed the Equator for the first time! "Kiss the Fish"! I could easily get used to life on board a ship! & we have already booked our next cruise with HAL. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was our 2nd cruise with HAL. Last one was on MS Oosterdam in Dec 2014, which was good but some aspects were definitely lacking. By comparison the MS Noordam is far superior in every way. First & foremost, the food was perfect ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise with HAL. Last one was on MS Oosterdam in Dec 2014, which was good but some aspects were definitely lacking. By comparison the MS Noordam is far superior in every way. First & foremost, the food was perfect & we ate every dinner at the Vista dining room. Had same table every night, same wonderful servers & wine steward, all gracious, friendly, eager to please, accommodating & spot on with their suggestions! Compliments to the chefs who gave us delectable 3 course meals every single night. Had one dinner at Pinnacle Grill & although lovely it was of similar standard to Vista dining room, so there's really no need to pay the extra money. Lido buffet was also lovely, both for breakfast & lunch. Pasta bar a favourite for us. Staff all over the ship were incredibly friendly, happy & genuine, much more so than on the Oosterdam. Cabin stewards always around to say hello & assist if required. Cabin itself (8040) was kept immaculate & no issues with anything. We truly enjoyed our Noordam cruising experience! The BB King Blues club band were simply amazing & we saw them on many nights. Am more than happy to recommend both HAL and MS Noordam to anyone. Their staff, crew & chefs are a credit to HAL & could teach the Oosterdam a thing or two. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
NOORDAM was a beautiful ship and we enjoyed our cruise tremendously! It was our second venture onto Holland America Line and as we did with our transpacific cruise in 2014 we would highly recommend HAL. This trip was to New Zealand one ... Read More
NOORDAM was a beautiful ship and we enjoyed our cruise tremendously! It was our second venture onto Holland America Line and as we did with our transpacific cruise in 2014 we would highly recommend HAL. This trip was to New Zealand one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The people are friendly and the scenery spectacular. The service aboard could not be faulted, the cabin stewards were attentive and had a special treat each night with a towel animal creation which must have taken extra time and effort. The food and wine selections were amazing and we never dined anywhere except in the main dining room. We decided on an Admiral's selection of wines from all over the world something that we would not normally do (never drink much) so this was a real treat. It was a little too cold for swimming for us but some hardy soles braved the elements and looked to be enjoying themselves in the heated pool. I think there was something for everyone on board and as a senior person it was pleasant to be without too many youngsters on board. Thanks Holland America for keeping up the traditions of the sea we will definitely be back!! My partner and I are keen birders and we were not disappointed in New Zealand, we choose HAL short excursions that reflected our interest and we had the opportunity to add to our lifelist. Read Less
Sail Date November 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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