19 Sydney (Australia) Holland America Noordam Cruise Reviews

This was our 33rd cruise and our fifth time on HAL. We chose this itinerary as a means to return to North America after a long adventure in Australia. First the things we liked: The BB King All Star Band was terrific every time they ... Read More
This was our 33rd cruise and our fifth time on HAL. We chose this itinerary as a means to return to North America after a long adventure in Australia. First the things we liked: The BB King All Star Band was terrific every time they performed, playing excellent cover versions of classic pop, soul and funk songs The BB King club was a great place to relax and dance. Overall the food was good enough. HAL has the same dishes on all of their ships, the variety is good and the quality is good enough. Generally the service all over the ship was quite good. Unfortunately the ship itself was old and the interior design was dated, unpleasant and downright ugly. This was a shock to us as we have found other HAL ships to be attractive. But the Noordam was like a bad cheap hotel with almost no pleasing public spaces. The Noordam is in desperate need of a complete make-over. There were many sea days and unfortunately the activities on board were very down market. There was only one lecturer who was mediocre, leaning on video content from other sources. Otherwise just silly games and activities aimed at upsales like gem displays and beverage tastings. So we were quite bored and had to lean on the hobbies we brought on board. Shortly after leaving Sydney, the ship began to run out of all sorts of beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. At one point there was almost no beer available. Lots of passengers were commenting about it. I got fed up and wrote a letter to the Hotel Manager which resulted in a flurry of responses, including a face-to-face meeting with the Assistant Beverage Manager. He thanked me for my letter and explained that all of the items were indeed on board but the staff just failed to go get them from their sources. He promised that they would do better. But then the next morning when the room service waiter brought our breakfast juice and coffee, he apologized that the ship was out of orange juice. Of course there was plenty of OJ on board, just not in the room service kitchen. Crazy. I was pleasantly surprised by the very low price of this cruise, but then found out the truth in the cliche "You get what you pay for." This was just a budget cruise with the quality that one usually finds with low-cost budget products. We will probably return to HAL, but probably not to the Noordam. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruises from Sydney to Honolulu as we wanted to visit the islands and Hawaii. also to try out HAL for first time, we have done 27 other cruises mainly on Princess but also on Cunard, P&O, Celebrity, Carnival. Embarkation ... Read More
We chose this cruises from Sydney to Honolulu as we wanted to visit the islands and Hawaii. also to try out HAL for first time, we have done 27 other cruises mainly on Princess but also on Cunard, P&O, Celebrity, Carnival. Embarkation was ok. Had VD verandah cabin, aft near elevators, ok with cabin. Bed fine, settee a little hard. Shower ok. Ecko our steward was fine. Had various meals in MDR and Lido, all poor, mdr meals for dinner were poorly presented and poor quality ingredients, i.e. tough meat and fish, hardly any veggies. Worse food on any ship I have been on. Little assistance given to me as a Celiac, although I advised HAL well before cruise. Not once did the head waiter speak to us re food, service at our table. Only time we saw officers was in pinnacle bar having their drinks before dining in pinnacle restaurant, they don't eat in the mdr !! The Captain did not even appear at the gala night cocktail pary and I never saw him. Entertainment was ok. I was not impressed with our first taste of HAL and will not return. Overated. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Sailed on Holland America four other times. Never on prior cruises was I told we are sorry but we out out of that. On this cruise we were told sorry we are out of diet caffeine free coke White Wines, Beers, Teas, Ice Creams, Limes, wafers ... Read More
Sailed on Holland America four other times. Never on prior cruises was I told we are sorry but we out out of that. On this cruise we were told sorry we are out of diet caffeine free coke White Wines, Beers, Teas, Ice Creams, Limes, wafers for Ice Cream. I didn't pay all my money not to have the ship properly provisioned my table mates had the same problems and felt the same way, this made the overall experience poor. Both showers in our stateroom needed a plumber (three times). TV was broken, bed had no firmness,.Gym had broken equipment. Dining and room staff were good, food was good. Enjoyed Lincoln Center music. Ports and excursions were average. Embarkation went smoothly. interesting talks in the morning, Lido Pool area staff seemed lazy, other staff was good.Over all common rooms were average. Guest Services tried their best to resolve all my issues but they could not resolve the issues involving Noordam being out of so many items, I would not recommend the Noordam as I would the other Holland America ships I have been on. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Chose this cruise for the itinerary and to be honest that's the only good thing about it. Ship is very dated and the fabric of it needs a complete overhaul. Problems started as soon as we got to the cabin with holes in the sheets and ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the itinerary and to be honest that's the only good thing about it. Ship is very dated and the fabric of it needs a complete overhaul. Problems started as soon as we got to the cabin with holes in the sheets and white stains on the overcover!!! Bedside lights were loose and dangerous, the bathroom door closer was loose too and was eventually removed completely, chips on the sink and foxing on the mirror. The sofa looked like the ships cat had used it as a scratching post. The sunloungers were stained badly and the legs were rusty with paint flaking off. There food was repetitive and only warm and the entertainment pretty 2nd rate. Really not sure what the ship showband actually did, in 2 weeks they were perhaps on stage for 8 hours, otherwise drinking and in the hot tubs. I'd like the cruise directors job, propping up the bar. Hardly any guest interaction. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We sailed recently on this ship from Sydney to New zealand on a two week voyage. Unfortunately we found that it is in need of a major overhaul -not just in terms of the decor itself, but also with the entertainments team -who appear to ... Read More
We sailed recently on this ship from Sydney to New zealand on a two week voyage. Unfortunately we found that it is in need of a major overhaul -not just in terms of the decor itself, but also with the entertainments team -who appear to be somewhat complacent in their approach to the job! Granted the general age of passengers is elderly, but the programme provided lacked fun and enthusiasm, and was more akin to an evening at an old people’s home - where the objective was to put something on to keep them happy for a while, then get them to bed early! Believe me we have cruised many many times on various cruise lines , and we were not looking brash or high energy entertainment- but a bit of fun and perhaps regular game shows might have been nice. Even the planned entertainment was not without problems. BB kings had to close for 2 nights because they had no drummer, and the piano player simply didn’t turn up at short notice on two separate occasions, because he was sick! I appreciate these things happen, but the cruise Directors ‘ solution to all of this was to simply put on a film in BB kings studio - which many passengers had already seen ! How’s that for intuition ! I fear some staff have been on this ship too long and it’s a case of “ the same old same old” approach Another missing element to mention was the shops- they were totally closed for refurbishment on the first 6 days of a 14 day cruise! AS most cruisers will know- on the sea days, many passengers like to browse around the shops , and their closure -coupled with poor or non existant entertainment, made for long and boring sea days! You could go to cookery demo if it was on or an educational lecture- but that was it,! It was my 60th birthday on departure day, and my husband had paid in advance for our cabin to be decorated , with flowers and champagne left in the room. When we arrived there was a warm bottle of champagne on the table , without glasses or an ice bucket and no flowers or decorations. The whole moment was lost- yet when he complained to guest relations , no one seemed to care or take charge of the situation. All we were told was to make sure we left the champagne out for collection so we’d get a refund- no apology - no compensatory gesture of any kind was given for spoiling what should have been a lovely memory !! My daughter who was miles away at home also ordered some birthday flowers to be delivered to my cabin- again they never came and again no apology- just money credited to an account without any cognisance being taken of what they were for, and the significance and importance of the gesture as intended. On the plus side the food in the main dining room was excellent and the staff were all welcoming and eager to please, but apart from this the ship is lacking in luster! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
The stewards and waiters were unfailingly, and I mean unfailingly and without exception, cheerful, polite and helpful. They were the highlight of the cruise. I am unlikely to recommend a Holland American cruise, certainly to no one ... Read More
The stewards and waiters were unfailingly, and I mean unfailingly and without exception, cheerful, polite and helpful. They were the highlight of the cruise. I am unlikely to recommend a Holland American cruise, certainly to no one in my peer group. It is not my scene, but that says more about me than Holland American! My disappointment is probably the result of nostalgia for the 5 or 6 voyages my wife and I did in the 1950s and '60s when sea travel was the usual way of travel between continents. There is a world of difference between a voyage and a cruise. A voyage then was a gracious and civilised way to travel. We travelled with a purpose, not to kill time and be entertained. Those voyages were much more enjoyable than our recent cruise, with its very contrived "entertainment". On the voyages of the '50s and '60s I found friendly people of bridge with and we had some excellent games, without the ship advertising bridge. On this cruise there were few games in spite of bridge being advertised, I had difficulty in finding a partner and in the few games I had, people were aggressive and unfriendly - not the fault of Holland America perhaps, though maybe reflection of the on-board culture. The food was good, but the coffee appalling, except the coffee purchased in the cafe, which was exorbitantly expensive. Exorbitant expense characterised everything for sold on the ship - the wine and the tours. All about 2 or 3 times the cost at the ports we visited. These costs give the impression of the cruise as a money gouging exercise by Holland American, which I am sure was not the intention. The “Noordam” purported to be a Dutch boat. Certainly, the officers were Dutch and the interior decor was Dutch, but the social culture was overwhelmingly and suffocatingly American. And the passengers were overwhelmingly American. A broader multinational mix would be preferable. When I arrived home 10 days after the cruise ended, two emails awaited my from Holland America inviting me to complete a survey and assuring we my opinion was important. Yet when I tried to complete the surveys, I found they were closed. So I don't think my opinion could be that important to Holland America! I am not one of these millennials addicted to staying in constant electronic contact reading emails every day! As a result my negative opinion is now public, instead of "for Holland America eyes only", had I been able to complete the survey. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Having cruised with a number of different lines over the years we chose our first Holland America cruise recently because of the destinations it was going to in the South Pacific. After having been on the ‘geriatric express’ that is ... Read More
Having cruised with a number of different lines over the years we chose our first Holland America cruise recently because of the destinations it was going to in the South Pacific. After having been on the ‘geriatric express’ that is Princess Cruises (because it was going o PNG) we were a little apprehensive but told that HAL appealed to the more discerning traveller wishing to ‘experience’ fine cuisine and luxury. Interesting. We quickly noted that quite a number of the patrons did seem to be from that precious, tedious class of human beings. A mix of many races and languages with a fair few Americans. Everything on board was very much geared to American tastes and interests. (We ran a little private contest to spot somebody smiling - it took 3 days.) Example: in the middle of the hot Pacific Islands there was an inordinate number trooping off to the Dining Room all decked out in suits or tuxedos and finery. As a person who has spent his whole life wearing suits I sure don’t want to put one on while on holidays in the steamy Pacific. Despite it being school holidays there was only a sprinkling of children on board and they seemed all quiet and well behaved. Cuisine - dull to bad, repetitive with some really awful/silly concoctions. Every night meat and vegetables. Tricked up cafe level food. Very limited selection and in the buffet no self-serve. Instead a ridiculous system whereby you have to lineup (something akin to Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi), state (very quickly) what you want, (having just seen it), be served and step away. The queues grew long and people became very testy. A stupid, demeaning and inefficient system. HAL seem to be trying too hard. They produced numerous attempts at various cuisines but the result was amateurish and generally overcooked. Interestingly we noticed that only about 50% of diners washed their hands when entering. We had booked a transfer to the ship via HAL. When we arrived at the pickup point for the coach, as per instructions, there was nobody there and no coach. We searched everywhere in case we had missed something. Sometime later, back at the original pickup point, a confused mini van driver arrived and asked who we were. Apparently the coach had been cancelled and we’d somehow fallen through the cracks. No apology. Eventually, days later somebody noted the ‘inconvenience’. Incidentally we could have taken a local transfer coach for a third of HAL’s charge. Which brings us to the prices on HAL. All cruise ships tend to rip you off. You’re a captive audience. HAL have the highest prices we have yet seen. Virtually everything from yoga to meditation classes involved a fee. To add insult they place a 15% service charge on their prices at purchase. We also had a few cases of wrong items appearing on our account. Then of course there’s the gratuities where the ships adds $16 per person per day to your account. HAL operates in US dollars so for Australians by the time you add on their service charge and convert to $A and include the card fee we’re paying 50%-60% more for everything. NB Most of the ship’s photos went unsold because of the high prices. In search of a positive about the ship I can quote one that happened by default. The lifts were great and there was no waiting time. This is because there was often nobody about. At times during the evening you could walk through the ship and not see anybody. We are not party animals but what the thousands of passengers were doing I don’t know. Seeking any sort of fun or enjoyment was not for them. The ship had the atmosphere of a well furnished, funeral parlour. There was a venue called BB Kings Blues Club. Probably connected to the BBK franchise in the US. Great I thought. I really like blues. The band looked the part. Their music was tight and slick but in a Michael Jackson sort of way. The music certainly was not blues. No hint of a BBK tribute, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters et al They played everything but - middle of the road elevator music, motown, rock and roll, some great jazzy r & b instrumentals but over two weeks never any blues. Seemed kind of pointless. The onboard cafe with complimentary coffee, tea and snacks which is such a nice feature of Royal Caribbean ships and somewhere pleasant to sit was in this case a multi-purpose games room, library, internet venue with coffee priced higher than downtown Sydney. The shows in the main theatre were mostly lifeless. With a very basic ship’s orchestra struggling along. The daily fair consisted of things like flower arranging or scrabble tournaments. There was string quartet playing Vivaldi, Brahms, Schumann etc. Being familiar with most of their repertoire I can only say that their standard of playing was not particularly good. I stayed away. We met people who were HAL groupies. They all seemed to be nouveau riche types who felt life should be quiet, erudite and dignified. A lot of it appeared a charade on their part. All cruise lines have there good and bad points. It’s just that with HAL it was 60% negative. At least the ship’s decor was in general pleasing to the eye (with some weird exceptions). Not the God-awful hideous stuff you find on say Carnival ships. The staff were all obsequiously pleasant. The crew not so much. HAL with its dubious quest for genteel travel may suit some people but we will continue to seek a happy medium between loud and vulgar and the HAL ‘experience’. Final Note: HAL sent out a questionnaire after the cruise to ascertain passengers degree of satisfaction or otherwise with the HAL ‘experience’. (Why do we have ‘experience’ everything now. You eat meals you don’t experience them, you sleep on a bed you don’t experience it ….. ) Anyway, I thought okay, I’ll give them a fair hearing, as they were keen to get feedback. The online questionnaire crashed twice. That’s when I gave up. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We have been on many cruises before this one and by far this was our worst cruise every by a country mile. Embarkation was quick and efficient and on the ship in no time ( which turned out to be the best part of the cruise) The ship ... Read More
We have been on many cruises before this one and by far this was our worst cruise every by a country mile. Embarkation was quick and efficient and on the ship in no time ( which turned out to be the best part of the cruise) The ship is in need of some desperate overhaul as it is looking very old and run down. Their was no sail away party on any deck, only soft music which no one could hear on the back Lido deck. The bar staff on the Lido deck were outstanding and made the cruise a little more enjoyable with their outstanding service. ( maybe other staff members could look at them and learn something) Many thanks to Edwin,Leonard and Ed for their outstanding service. Lido restaurant was very blend with their food night after night. Same food just with different names often Luke warm served on very hot plates. My wife had a good talk with the Lido management one night about having different theme night for dinner EG Asian,Indian,Australian international type dinners. To the managers credit they did do Asian theme for one night only then went back to the old ways. The only entertainment on the back Lido deck was a music trivia every afternoon. A band playing music would have been a lot better. We had nothing but trouble with our cruise accounts being blocked by the front desk day after day, and we weren’t they only ones with this issue Maybe when HAL travel in Australian waters in the future the should accommodate fit the Australian market a bit more as 80% of guests are either AUS or NZ. best advertising in by mouth for any business and myself and my wife and other guests will not be doing any advertising. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this as Holland America once had a good reputation for cruises. The dining was very poor quality food with very little choices offered ( no turkey for Christmas day dinner). The ship is very outdated and in dire need of major ... Read More
We chose this as Holland America once had a good reputation for cruises. The dining was very poor quality food with very little choices offered ( no turkey for Christmas day dinner). The ship is very outdated and in dire need of major refurbishment and we found that the balcony in our cabin to be extremely small given the extra cost paid to have one. Only just about enough room for two deck chairs. We found that it compares very badly with its competition eg Celebrity Cruises. Entertainment on board only moderate to fair and very limited. Port and shore excursions were quite good and well organised with an interesting variety. Neither I or my partner would recommend Holland America line for any cruises on the the Noordam unless as stated previously that it improved the quality and choices in its dining room and a full refurbishment of this ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
As this was a special occasion, we spared no expense and booked a Neptune Suite with large aft wrap around balcony. Expectations were high, more so as we have cruised extensively before and enjoyed our Cunard and Celebrity cruises ... Read More
As this was a special occasion, we spared no expense and booked a Neptune Suite with large aft wrap around balcony. Expectations were high, more so as we have cruised extensively before and enjoyed our Cunard and Celebrity cruises immensely. The trip started positively, embarkation was quick and friendly. Things went downhill from there. Cabin (and ship) decor is very dated and years overdue for a refit. Furniture and fittings are of low quality, and this was especially evident in the bathroom. Main dinning room was mediocre, decor again dated, dark and stuffy. Worst part was the food, despite an effusive menu littered with culinary terms, the food was basic, low quality, dumped on the plate and served lukewarm. We ate there twice and then never returned. Lido dinning was even worse. Very limited choice, mostly pizza and pasta, and poor process for dishing out food, leaving people waiting ages for their order to be filled. Worst was the service times, if you wanted food outside their designated times, only dried up pizza was available. Not a vegetable in sight. At 8.30pm most stations were closed, and I have a picture of staff coming through vacuuming while diners still eating ! By day three, we reverted to eating all meals onshore when in port. On sea days we ate at the Pinnacle Grill, which was excellent, but at an xtra cost of $35 per head each time. Enrichment program was limited and focused on selling stuff. Entertainment stage shows were okay, but cruise director was clearly just coasting and did not bring any energy or interest to the cruise. Officers were rude and uninterested on the rare occasion we saw them or spoke to them. The only redeeming factor was the general staff, who were worked so hard to make up for the inadequacies of the ship, the processs and the lack of leadership. They were without exception, cheerful, helpful and engaging. To all of them, our sincere thanks. Other passengers we spoke to had mixed views, many shared our views, but others were very happy, so maybe it’s a matter of expectations. For us, this was our first experience with HAL and based on this we would not book them again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
After several great HAL cruises we were surprised to find this one to be so disappointing. It’s clear that ongoing cutbacks are the order of the day now with HAL, along with a corresponding reduction in customer service. Starting with ... Read More
After several great HAL cruises we were surprised to find this one to be so disappointing. It’s clear that ongoing cutbacks are the order of the day now with HAL, along with a corresponding reduction in customer service. Starting with the positive, embarkation was easy as so many passengers were staying on from the NZ cruise. However, we weren’t warned that once on board new passengers weren’t permitted to go off the ship again. No reason was given for this which seemed odd as the other passengers were free to come and go all day. We were pleased to see there was a Mariners lunch in the dining room – one of the few HAL traditions still surviving. We had a verandah cabin which was an adequate size with plenty of storage. However, it was quite shabby with peeling wallpaper, old furniture with the varnish worn right off the table and the cane unravelling off the balcony chairs. Also, a piece of trim had come off the desk and never been repaired leaving exposed bare chipboard. HAL styles itself as 5 star – well not with these cabins. We’ve had 2 star hotel rooms in better condition. For the first time, we found the bed uncomfortable. We’ve always loved HAL beds but this one was well ready for replacement with a hard ridge down the middle and sagging to the sides. I kept waking with sore shoulders from bracing when the ship rolled to stop sliding to the edge. The general condition of the ship was also poor. There was excessive engine noise at the back of the dining room to the point that you could hardly hear your dinner companions. Some parts of the dining room and other select areas of the ship were permanently very cold. Meanwhile in the Lido, there was water dripping from the ceiling throughout the cruise as well as rust apparent in some place. Our stewards were fine but we couldn’t say the same for the Front Desk and other staff. Many people were having issues on the cruise but the response was generally a denial of the problem followed by a statement that they couldn’t do anything about it. We were travelling with a group of people who had various problems. Our toilet malfunctioned on and off during the cruise, with a minor flood one evening that fortunately was taken care of. There were similar toilet malfunctions all over the ship with some out of service in the public areas. Another cabin had inadequate air-conditioning at night for nearly the whole cruise. After several days of denying there was a problem, the desk accepted there was but said nothing could be done. A request for a fan was refused as all the fans had already been given out because lots of other cabins had the same problem. After escalating the issue, a fan was finally produced but the measly $200 OBC in compensation offered by Seattle for sailing in the tropics with inadequate airconditioning for two weeks was insulting. We heard similar stories from other passengers. One couple in a noisy cabin with bad vibration told us about the run around they got each time they talked to the Front Desk. In a hotel, you’d just check out and move to another one but at sea the cruise lines know that you’re trapped and have no choice but to stay on in an unsatisfactory cabin. It was the same when someone’s headphones were damaged after being removed from an iPad. The Front Desk said there was no proof it was the stewards. Well, who else removed them and left them coiled on top? Nobody else had access to the cabin. I guess the stonewalling had the desired effect as you got to the point where it became too unpleasant to report problems when you just want to relax and enjoy yourself. We’ve always thought HAL had the best food but not so much any longer. The food was generally OK but standards have declined. Often the food had too much fat, salt or sugar. With the concerns about growing obesity, it’s time the cruise lines started serving more healthy options. For instance, hardly any vegetables were served with main dishes. There was definitely a reduction in quality with poorer cuts of meat being served. A pork chop is now a tough shoulder chop rather a than a loin chop and we were startled to find that a main dish of a shrimp salad contained just two shrimp. When we queried this we were told that was the how dish came! We ate once in the Pinnacle Grill and enjoyed our meal. However, when ordering the cheese plate instead of dessert, it was disappointing to be presented with the same plate with three miniscule pieces of cheese that’s served in the dining room. When you’re paying a hefty surcharge for the top restaurant on the ship you expect to get more than standard food from the dining room. The food in the Lido was generally good with the best being the Asian station, the pasta bar and particularly the salad bar which is excellent. However, Lido opening times are very limited and although advertised as closing at 2pm we often found stations running out of food and closing just after 1.30 pm. Dive In’s burgers and fries were great as usual. The free ice-cream was very welcome but the desserts were mostly the same very sweet items day after day. We were concerned there were no staff encouraging people to use the hand sanitisers so it was no surprise that we both got the bad chest complaint that everyone had. You could hear the hacking cough all over the ship and I still have it three weeks later. This was a cruise with few ports and lots of sea days. However, the entertainment offered was woefully inadequate. Beside the classical music in the Explorers Lounge there was little other music in the evenings. The Piano bar was popular but always full and the BB KIngs are way too loud to listen to in comfort. Dancing to music in the Crows Nest appears to be a thing of the past and no one was tempted by that dark hole called the Northern Lights. The shows were mostly of medicore quality with the exception of the marvellous and energetic Patrick McMahon. There were no special events - no BBQs or poolsie parties, no sailaway parties, no dessert extravaganza, no sporting competitions, etc, etc. We were looking forward to the Crossing the Equator event, remembering entertaining shows staged in the past. There was nothing like that. Instead guests were invited to jump in the aft pool in front of a poorly dressed King Neptune and get out again. There was hardly any participation by the officers, no presentation of crew pollywogs and their crimes, no amusing speeches or antics. We didn’t know if this was policy or if Jeremy Whitehead, the Cruise Director, just couldn’t be bothered organising a proper event. We suspect the latter as his efforts were pretty poor throughout the cruise. There were queues of people for the computer classes and Trivia was very popular as something (anything) to pass the time. Even then, the timing was absurd with Trivia being cleverly scheduled at 1pm and 7pm to clash with lunch and dinner. Even Food Trivia was held at 3pm to clash with afternoon tea. Not that the teas are the special occasions they used to be. No longer in the dining room, they’re now served in the limited quarters of the Ocean Bar so if you don’t get there very early, you miss out. And for the first time, I was refused the option of a fruit or herbal tea. There was just one tea poured – no choice -and not everyone drinks Indian tea. I was told this was a directive from Seattle which seemed inexplicable considering fruit teas are served in the Lido. And the wonderful Indonesian and Royal Dutch teas are also gone. It seems Seattle is determined to get rid of everything that guests used to enjoy. Back to the positive, we appreciated Happy Hour with the extra drink for $2 and the canapes. The laundry package is still good value although friends had two items of clothing damaged. Needless to say, once again, the ship refused to accept any responsibility. We were pleased to find that the Noordam still has a proper library and Explorations café on the Promenade deck. This area was very popular and always full of people. We also love the wrap around promenade decks on the older ships and regret the news that they are being reduced on the new ships. We enjoyed many aspects of the cruise but in retrospect, with so few port days, it was mostly plain boring and very disappointing. No doubt the cutbacks are set to continue with little thought for what guests actually want. HAL is clearly not interested in updating its fleet of poorly maintained, older ships, and fighting the Front Desk to be heard is not our idea of fun while on holiday. So, after many years of great cruises, we intend to go back to land-based vacations. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Holland America obviously don't read these reviews otherwise things would have improved by now - or perhaps they just don't care! My friend and I boarded the Noordam in Sydney and I was very much looking forward to the cruise ... Read More
Holland America obviously don't read these reviews otherwise things would have improved by now - or perhaps they just don't care! My friend and I boarded the Noordam in Sydney and I was very much looking forward to the cruise experience - boy was I disappointed! The ship looks very elegant from the outside but inside it looks like it was decorated by a retired Dutch museum curator - who wants to look at antiques in glass cases as you sail across the tropical blue Pacific? The decor generally is dark, heavy and outdated, and the air conditioning very patchy. It is good to be able to walk continuously around the deck, but It is impossible to do laps in either of the pools which look like they belong in Disneyland, with massive concrete leaping dolphins and Neptune's chairs.. I was VERY disappointed by the lack of interesting entertainment. The priority of the company seems to be to flog as much as they can - art works, jewellery, beauty treatments, exercise activities, the casino etc. Many 'talks' were just thinly veiled attempts to sell, sell, sell and these 'talks' often had the prime time slots while genuine talks or activities (eg. trivia) were on a 9am. 1pm. or 7pm. There was no one looking after the library and solo card players, scrabble players etc. had to make contact with like-minded people by writing their name and cabin number on a list on the unmanned library desk so they could find a partner. Films were shown in a ridiculously small and inappropriate room (at a time when the theatre was empty!) where the front row seats were higher than the ones behind - meaning the people in the back rows couldn't see properly - plenty of frayed tempers. We mainly ate dinner in the dining room where we met some very nice, interesting people and generally the food was fairly good but, for my taste, the chefs use far too much salt. Generally on the Noordam the staff were very good (I can't say the same for the Veendam). My friend who has traveled with Holland America several times before said she very much noticed the falling standards and felt embarrassed. To add insult to injury about 80% of the passengers came down sometime during the 3 weeks with an extremely serious upper respiratory tract viral infection that was apparently bought onto the ship in Auckland - not a mention was made of it by management, yet all hell breaks lose when Nora virus breaks out! I can tell you the 1 ply tissues they give us were totally useless - I'd rather have decent tissues and forget the cutesy towel animals on the bed every night (think of the extra wasted time and washing these create!). Ten days later we boarded the Veendam (I can't be bothered wasting my time doing a separate review on it) to cruise the St. Lawrence Seaway and while I thought its public rooms were more tasteful than on the Noordam, the cabin we were allocated would not have looked out of place in a backpackers' hostel - after our protests and paying an extra $US500 each we were moved to a nice balcony cabin in the stern.The philosophy of this ship is the same as the Noordam - sell, sell, sell with the added insult of disgusting service in the Lido restaurant and incredibly poor organisation of loading people on to tenders etc. Also I was not impressed with the cost of the Wifi ($US55 for 100minutes on both ships). If this is cruising with Holland America, they can keep it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We like NZ and have been there on land, but wished to see the Sounds and ports offered. In the past HAL gave reasonable value for $ and "tried" to sort our differences. We are two 70yr olds and travel on ships geared for minimal ... Read More
We like NZ and have been there on land, but wished to see the Sounds and ports offered. In the past HAL gave reasonable value for $ and "tried" to sort our differences. We are two 70yr olds and travel on ships geared for minimal children.This trip had abysmal dining and very poor entertainment and shore assistance. We could not get palatable food and found that the feedback forms gave no option for feedback so after the first form went off on day 2, I fired off another on day 5 with our contact details and problems. [ Food in Vista was too rich and/or spicy for our tastes and stomachs. Standards of dress had dropped. Children allowed unsupervised and intrusive.Wait staff abrupt/overworked. Supervisors would not listen/understand. Gassed out of cabin twice by maintenance painters. Heart monitor on bike in gym was erratic/busted and supervisor took little interest. Shore/port assistance very poor.] In sheer frustration I fired off another feedback form on day 10. We got to be able to preorder meals with notes regarding the spices on day 12!! We got some decent food for the last 2 days!! There was never any personal feedback until one supervisor gave us a free bottle of sparkling wine on the last day - but no discussion. As usual the cabin staff were good. The cabin was tidy but getting a little tired. Would we go again on HAL/Noordam? We'd go anywhere if the price is right and itinerary interesting - but only if there was personal interaction BEFORE and during the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
First time with HAL and the last. What a boring, tired ship. The lighting is so dim everywhere and there is just no atmosphere at all! I travel mostly with Royal and Celebrity and there is no comparison. I found the ship cold, and it ... Read More
First time with HAL and the last. What a boring, tired ship. The lighting is so dim everywhere and there is just no atmosphere at all! I travel mostly with Royal and Celebrity and there is no comparison. I found the ship cold, and it didn't help that the weather wasn't good and that I wasn't well throughout the whole cruise. I also found the staff very aloof, like nothing I've experienced before. The whole ship needs to be revamped. Its just shabby and lack luster. I couldn't find a central point such as a main deck area or promenade - the ship is so disjointed and really odd. I've been on 22 cruises so I am not a newbie, to tell you the truth, I couldn't wait to get off the ship. It was the worst cruise experience I've ever had, and it was expensive as I pay double being a solo traveler. Perhaps their newer ships have more going for them. There were some nice touches. I liked the bathtub in the room, and I liked the PG tips. Just thinking back to this cruise makes me feel depressed so I really didn't want to write a review, but after about 15 email requests I decided to go ahead. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We chose this particular cruise because of the itinerary in Australia and New Zealand. This was my second trip on Holland America, the first being to Bermuda and I was hoping for a better experience. First for the positives: the cabin ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise because of the itinerary in Australia and New Zealand. This was my second trip on Holland America, the first being to Bermuda and I was hoping for a better experience. First for the positives: the cabin stewards and dinning staff, inclusive of the restaurants and Lido deck, were all very accommodating and attentive to our needs. The cabin, a suite, was very comfortable and well maintained. The ports visited were interesting and a fairly good variety of excursions were offered. Now for the Negatives: There was a definite lack of organization for the excursions and the information provided for the ports of call was not properly vetted. In Melbourne we chose to go ashore on our own. We were told there was a tram that does a city loop and we would be able to get off at different points of interest. We specifically asked if the trams were accessible to a motorized scooter and we were assured that they were. Well......not all are and specifically those that loop the city are not. Unfortunately because of this misinformation our trip to Melbourne consisted of waiting at tram stops to get back to the ship and not being able to see any of the sights (so much for my dream vacation) In Akaroa we chose the Nature Cruise. We took the tender assure and according to the tickets the meeting place for the cruise was the "tender pier". Well we were sent back and forth from one end of the pier to the other before we were finally told that the meeting place was in the middle of the pier. My husband, as well as a number of other guest with disabilities, found it very difficult to get around. The entertainment left a lot to be desired. There were not enough activities during sea days and port days, especially since this was not a warm weather cruise and spend hours at the pool was not optimal. Many of the activities were bunched closed together making it necessary to opt out of some. We originally had a set diner time (asked for a table of 6) but we switched to open seating because we were put at tables that were often empty....... Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We selected this cruise to see New Zealand, particularly Auckland, for the first time and to return to the USA via a transition cruise across the Pacific from Sydney to Vancouver. Our first impression was not too good as Noordam ... Read More
We selected this cruise to see New Zealand, particularly Auckland, for the first time and to return to the USA via a transition cruise across the Pacific from Sydney to Vancouver. Our first impression was not too good as Noordam obviously needs a refit with dated and dirty passageway decoration and graffiti on our balcony door glass.The air conditioning system is of the old design which will not shut off and is extremely annoying. On more modern ships the air cuts off when the balcony door is left open so you can breath real air! The HAL maintenance people managed to fit a part incorrectly and we were stranded in Napier for 2 days which caused the Auckland and Bay of Islands stops to be cancelled! HAL would not organize a coach to take interested passengers on a day visit to Auckland. Compensation offered was totally inadequate at $100 per passenger plus 20% discount on a future cruise within 12 months.HAL to date have refused to rectify this - will be talking to my attorney. A very high percentage of the passengers and some crew became seriously ill and I developed bronchitis which is still being treated. The Noordam is simply a germ machine. We departed healthy and both returned home seriously ill. Normal hand sanitation practices were being promoted but I am convinced that the closed system air conditioning is and was the culprit - circulating germs around the ship. With 2000 passengers the air system should be sanitised every week and the cabin filters changed. HAL should employ health experts for a full independent investigation in the interests of public safety. Cabin, restaurant and bar staff were excellent and most of the food a reasonable standard with the exception of some steak and particularly lamb which was very tough. We will not cruise with HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We flew to Australia and toured by land for a month. Then we embarked in Sydney for a two week cruise around New Zealand and a Pacific crossing to Vancouver. I would recommend seeing New Zealand by land also. The ship had mechanical ... Read More
We flew to Australia and toured by land for a month. Then we embarked in Sydney for a two week cruise around New Zealand and a Pacific crossing to Vancouver. I would recommend seeing New Zealand by land also. The ship had mechanical problems when we reached Napier so we missed two ports. The only advantage that I can see about seeing New Zealand by sea, is traversing the fjords. They are truly spectacular. Besides the mechanical trouble, the ship leaked a lot when it rained. In the Crowe's nest, in the hallway on deck 6, even in a stateroom that friends of ours were staying in. Towels were everywhere to soak up the water. Our friends weren't given another stateroom because the ship was full they were told. I don't think this cabin should have been sold in the first place and I question possible health issues from the dampness. It the cruise line wants to encourage repeat business, I think they should address the disrepair of this ship Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Holland America claims to be a 5* cruise line so I had high expectations. This particular holiday was a once in a lifetime luxury cruise, so we decided to pay the extra for the experience. Embarkation was at the White Bay Cruise ... Read More
Holland America claims to be a 5* cruise line so I had high expectations. This particular holiday was a once in a lifetime luxury cruise, so we decided to pay the extra for the experience. Embarkation was at the White Bay Cruise terminal (Sydney) which can only be likened to a cattle market. Be prepared to stand in line for 1 - 2 hours. Once on board, we were given immediate access to our room and luggage which was nice as this is not always the case on other cruise liners. Cabin was well appointed and staff were polite and friendly. Presentation of food was excellent, but a case of style over substance. Food in the restaurants was served warm which was disappointing. As part of the 5* experience, we dressed up for the formal nights only to find that we needn't have bothered as other diners wore trainers, jeans, polo shirts and sports wear. I was disappointed in the entertainment as it was limited to 30-40 minutes in the theatre. Nine days into our cruise, the ship developed a technical fault resulting from (as I understand it) a part that had been fitted incorrectly which caused damage to the starboard propeller. This delayed our departure from Napier and resulted in us having to stay there another day. The knock on effect of this was that the planned stops at Auckland and Bay of Islands was cancelled. So very disappointing as we were looking forward to these stops - the delays were caused by HAL. Compensation for the cancelled ports was a derisory $100 per person which was re-credited to our on board accounts and a 20% discount off a future cruise booked with HAL. I asked for financial compensation instead of 20% discount, but HAL remain resolute and will only offer the discount off a future cruise. It appears that HAL have had my money and are not prepared to repay an equitable amount of the fare to compensate for the missed ports. In order to gain compensation, I have to spend more money with them!!!! SO VERY DISAPPOINTED. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
The cruise started promising: beautifull big cabin (neptune lounge facility) large balcony-two stewards-not good at cleaning. activities: poor-very poor. port and shore excursions:verry expensive dinning:verry good (sometimes bad in ... Read More
The cruise started promising: beautifull big cabin (neptune lounge facility) large balcony-two stewards-not good at cleaning. activities: poor-very poor. port and shore excursions:verry expensive dinning:verry good (sometimes bad in specialty restaurants.entertainement: non existent . Disembarkkation: fortunately very quick summary very expensive from any aspects;exchange rate (on ship) for a$100.00 nz $ 80.00 incredible bottle of black label jonny walker approx a$ 100.00 for use incabin. The only thing free:use of lift on ship (but this is included in your purchase price) balcony on our cabin never cleaned-the table on balcony wobbley,the glass never cleaned.sugest to future passengers check prices for any additional services (drinks-excursions or anything else).cost of trip only approx 20000.00 austr. Dollars. We have been on18 other trips crystal,seaborne,azamara ,royalcarribyen, etc. B ut will never again go on holland america line. The choice is yours. try and rent a wheelchair cost a$ 500.00 ????????? 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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