105 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
Thoroughly enjoyed Dave Koz and Friends and the entertainment package!! The actual cruise ship, Noordam, is pitiful. It is dated, worn out, and in need of complete remodeling. The furniture is tired, and the bathroom in our suite never ... Read More
Thoroughly enjoyed Dave Koz and Friends and the entertainment package!! The actual cruise ship, Noordam, is pitiful. It is dated, worn out, and in need of complete remodeling. The furniture is tired, and the bathroom in our suite never looked clean. There is plenty of closet space in the suite which we appreciated. On other cruises when we had a suite, we had concierge like service. On this ship, you need to go to the Neptune lounge for concierge service. The staff on the ship are kind. I can’t say enough about the quality of the entertainment and the host of this cruise. Dave Koz is thoughtful and caring for his clients. His cruise is well planned and complete. They have more for one to do than you can even get to in a day! Would definitely recommend a Dave Koz cruise. However, I would not recommend that he utilize Holland America in the future. This ship, the Noordam, is ready for retirement Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Not an ardent cruiser but as land tours were really expensive this was a greay way to see New Zealand. I spent 4 nights on my own in Sydney and 3 in Auckland, both great ports. I am not fond of comedians but the comic and ventriloquist ... Read More
Not an ardent cruiser but as land tours were really expensive this was a greay way to see New Zealand. I spent 4 nights on my own in Sydney and 3 in Auckland, both great ports. I am not fond of comedians but the comic and ventriloquist were hilarious. You can't top the Lincoln Center players. Met lots of people on the promenade deck-a great way to keep fit after all the delicious food. Had all breakfastsand dinners in the dining room, more civilized. Milford Sound and the trip through the fjords was worth the trip. The excursions were really good-did 3 ship and 2 private tours. All guides and drivers excellent. The visit to the Maori Marae in Tauranga was really interesting. The culture and history of New Zealand was fascinating. Crew and itinerary made for a wonderful 2 weeks,. Not sure what all the complaints are about. Be glad you can travel. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This was my fifth cruise. First time with HAL. Booked at last minute due to price and itinerary. Booked a guarantee VH verandah cabin and received a VC cabin on deck 5. Very happy with cabin. Loved that the cabin came with full ... Read More
This was my fifth cruise. First time with HAL. Booked at last minute due to price and itinerary. Booked a guarantee VH verandah cabin and received a VC cabin on deck 5. Very happy with cabin. Loved that the cabin came with full length bathrobes and Ellis products and bar fridge that actually worked. Bed very comfy and stewards worked hard to keep cabin spotless. Aircon worked well. Had early dinner most nights in MDR. Food was tasty and hot and service was exemplary from all staff. Had breakfast in the MDR twice. Food was great but service was not on first visit. 2nd time it was much better. Lido deck buffet had lots of healthy options which was great. Often took my food out to the tables next to the lido deck pool as I found the aircon in the buffet area too cool. Service in lido buffet was always friendly and efficient. I didn't go to many of the shows but I went to all the informative talks in the vista lounge on subjects related to the areas we were cruising. War History in PNG, Sociology in the Pacific, talk from a reef pilot. All very interesting. Some parts of the ship were cold from the aircon especially midship and the vista lounge. Make sure you pack a light throw or some similar. Average age was 60 upwards. I am a decade younger and had a lovely time. Everyone was friendly. There was only about a dozen kids on board. They seemed to be having fun in the pool. I did a spin class in the gym and was impressed. Great instructor and equipment. I didn't use the pool much as it was too warm. 30c most days. Felt more like a warm bath. $20 bag of laundry was excellent value. Came back next day. I liked the feel of this ship. With 1900 passengers it never felt crowded. Tenders ran smoothly and there was never much of a wait. We visited PNG and FNQ. All ports were interesting. Pre-booked quite a few ship tours. Also did a private tour and explored on my own or with friends met on board. All went smoothly. Apart from the pool, I have no complaints and would book the Noordam again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Background and embarkation We chose this cruise as we had been to New Guinea only once and the ports appeared interesting. and it has been on our list for some time. The other reason for choosing this cruise being to experience the ... Read More
Background and embarkation We chose this cruise as we had been to New Guinea only once and the ports appeared interesting. and it has been on our list for some time. The other reason for choosing this cruise being to experience the Noordam, we had previously cruised on her sister ship “Oosterdam”, a ship we were quite fond of, so we were eager to revisit this class of HAL ship again. We stayed overnight in Sydney at Novotel Darling Harbour Square, we are Accor members and we received a great online deal from them, so we duly chose to stay there at an excellent tariff. We managed to score a newly renovated room with a view of the Chinese Gardens, quite a large room, with a comfortable bed and firm pillow, all the mod cons, friendly staff, we would stay again. Next morning, we were able to walk up to the Captain Cook wharf in Darling Harbour, buy tickets and we were ferried over to White Bay. HAL had hired a bus to drop people off and pick people up at the ferry wharf, very thoughtful indeed HAL. There were two ships at White Bay that day, HAL Noordam at the terminal, and P&O Explorer (previously Dawn Princess) tied up nearer the ferry wharf with a large marquee set up to disembark and embark passengers. We are 3-star mariners with HAL, after the suite, 4- and 5-star mariners registered for embarkation we were next to provide all our details to terminal staff to embark. 15 minutes later we were on the ship and in our room. We had ordered some drinks for our consumption in the room, not all had arrived as ordered, after a call to room service, not even 10 minutes late the drinks arrived. My wife’s bag arrived in the interim, however, not mine. My wife unpacked and after an hour and a half later I heard someone drop something near our door, I quickly opened the door to see someone scurrying down the corridor after they had dropped my bag off with the top handle hanging off one end, and one wheel broken. I took some pictures for evidence, that were date stamped, and a few days later took the bag down to Guest Services. Young Jay took down all the details in an incident reports after I showed him the pictures and brought the bag down. He said they would fix it if possible, and bring the bag back to us in a few days. He did just that, the bag appeared to be fixed, however, I did warn him that if a wheels and handles are broken, 99% of the time they will break again. After we disembarked, we claimed our bags, and my bag had a wheel broken, it was reported to the terminal staff and a report was alleged to be sent to HAL for compensation, to date (7-1-2019) we have had no communication from HAL at all in relation to the broken bag!! Ship information The ship is not new obviously, however, the ship has been kept in very good condition overall, the artefacts are excellent, the public areas are spacious overall, with many separate areas to be seated. It felt like an ocean liner, not a cruise ship, don’t alter it too much HAL, many people still like this type of ship as it stands/sails. Well done HAL, the public areas are clean and well maintained, the restaurants were in good condition, and the external condition of the ship and teak decks were good. Teak chairs on the promenade deck are still intact, another big tick for HAL. The library is huge, excellent choice of books, coffee shop seating is very limited, perhaps they can enlarge the seating area, and shrink the library by 10 square metres. Crows Nest at front of the ship on deck 10 is magic, don’t change it HAL, it is a fantastic area, with a breathtaking view. Activities The activities were various as they are on other lines, we attended several lectures about what had occurred in WW2 in New Guinea, they were very informative and interesting. We didn’t attend trivia this time, so not sure how good it was on this ship. However, there seemed to be a large varied of activities each day outlined on the daily program. Service Main negative was the relatively ordinary service of our two cabin stewards. There were no cards with their names in the room, until the last 4 days, after we gave them 3 chances to redeem themselves. One of them introduced himself the next day, and said he had a partner helping him with cleaning and maintaining the room. This man appeared to be invisible until he introduced himself 3 days later. They made the bed every morning, and cleaned the bathroom, turned the bed down in the evening, and provide towel animals and 2 chocolates every night. We left notes on at least 4 occasions to vacuum the floor, provide soap, as we had 2 sinks, a bath and a shower, and replace moisturiser, baths salts, shower cap, and clean the bench tops in main cabin area. With 4 days to go to the end of the cruise we were over it, we complained to guest services, this was cruise number 44, and these men were seriously the worst ever, and we were in a suite, they are supposed to be the best staff who would have been promoted, well not these guys. There were several rooms vacant on this cruise that they did not have to service, we think they were very lazy indeed. Most people that were in their service area were interviewed it would appear by the assistant Head Housekeeper and his offsider. They spoke to us about the problems around midday. We informed them that our room would normally not have been serviced by then, although in the defence of the room stewards; they serviced our room the second and third days when we left the service our room card in the door key slot outside. We did that every day, in the morning and in the evening when we went to dinner. On more than one occasion we told them that we were leaving the room and could they service it while we were away, that didn’t occur on the majority of occasions, sometimes it wasn’t serviced until after 1 pm, and after 9 pm several times when we returned from dinner. Service improved last 3 days after we had complained, one of them apologised, however, only on one occasion did he call me by name, he did not call my wife by name at any stage, nor did the other steward call me by name of my wife, this was the first time in 44 cruises that this had occurred. It would appear from the slack and poor service most of the cruise that they did not respect us, as we always used their name each time, we spoke to them, however, that was not reciprocal from them, and it would appear they thought they would “get away with it’ not cleaning the room properly each time, or at all on some occasions. Lastly, our balcony was filthy dirty for the first 4 days, when we left notes on day 4 to vacuum, we also asked them to clean the balcony, they did on that occasion. However, they slacked off again one day later, so we left notes every day for jobs to be done, to leave a shower cap, moisturiser, whatever, actually they received 6,7, 8 chances, strike 9 you are out!! Well on the band wagon and back to other staff, client services staff overall were good on this cruise, on Zaandam in late January, February 2018 in South America and Antarctica they were extremely rude and not accommodating with just about everything. That was sorted, when we received an apologetic email from the CEO’s executive assistant some weeks after we came home, we were impressed with that. It was refreshing to see both female and male staff on the counter at guest services, Zaandam were all female and they weren’t being managed well, so rude to many of the passengers they thought they would not be challenged, well they were wrong. Jay was a standout, he was extremely polite and very helpful and knowledgeable on every occasion, as was two other males who we spoke to, and two females. Only one downside, one female who we submitted a form with, it would appear did not submit the form for entry in the computer. We checked on the last night with a male staff member and he stated they had no record if it, then he entered the information manually. On the whole they actually solved problems, were not over assertive, or aggressive, as some others were on Zaandam, they do not try to dismiss your problem, and hope you go away! Restaurant staff were really quite good, standout was Dani, one of the men at the door who allocated tables, every night he tried his best to meet our needs, well done Dani. We ate lunch in the restaurant on several occasions and had breakfast twice in the restaurant, it was easier to eat in the Lido, as we walk every morning, and restaurant opening times did not suit. We were very impressed with Luis, the Bar and Restaurant Manager, he spoke with us on two occasions, he is very professional and “hands on”, a breath of fresh air to HAL, we know he had extensive experience with several cruise lines in a similar role, this man innovative, opened the restaurant for lunch on a port day, loved it, he is visible in the restaurant on almost every night, be speaks to staff on the run discreetly, he is the best we have seen in the last 10 years on any cruise line, keep this man and ask him to train many like him, he is the best! Farid, and many other waiters were good, and others were improving throughout the cruise thanks to Luis coaching and mentoring them. Staff in Lido, both cooks, chefs, food servers and wait staff were nearly always very helpful, courteous, and went out of their way to assist people, serve drinks, coffee, and tea, well done people! Nica, was a standout for me, she went down to the galley to find breakfast cereal for us, as they had run out of the cereal we like with fibre, she was fantastic. Food in the Lido, was very good, huge improvement from MSC Divina, food was bland, cold, and very little variety. Not on HAL so much variety, so many stations where food is cooked fresh, Asian/Indian food in Lido is outstanding at lunch on most days. Officers seemed friendly, and noticeable around the ship. Engineering and maintenance staff appeared to be were always working hard to maintain the ship, well done! Bar stewards in restaurant and Lido were overall really good, Liany, Jeycel, Kurt, who served us mainly, were really knowledgeable, friendly, and on the ball, well done people! Overall, apart from a few the majority of HAL staff on Noordam are quite good. Just a suggestion to HAL, we have found room stewards from the Philippines to be the best, very friendly, courteous, respectful, very efficient and effective in their roles. Port & shore excursions We enjoyed the excursion in Airlie Beach to the Crocodile Safari, Proserpine River. Very informative, educational, adventurous, great BBQ lunch, we would recommend it. Cabin We booked a balcony cabin originally, however the cruise was heavily discounted by HAL a few months prior to leaving, out travel agent asked HAL for an upgrade and we received an upgrade to a signature suite. Cabin was very large as was the balcony, overall it was in good condition. Large lounge, two large comfortable chairs, very small older TV, bed was very comfortable, pillows could have been firmer, however ok. Bathroom is little dated, however, was in good condition. Cabin had a bath and a shower, horrible shower curtain, please HAL invest in a safety glass shower door, similar to HAL Koningsdam, best shower and bathroom on the seas, to date! Balcony was very dirty, was cleaned after we complained on day 4 why had they not cleaned it, they put cushions out each day, surely, they noticed. Balcony when finally, cleaned and habitable, was really large, included a table and two chairs and two large cane chairs, large cane foot stools, and a small table for drinks. Dining Due largely to the new Bar and Restaurant Manager, Luis, the staff in the restaurant, in Lido, and bar staff were very good. Breakfast menu in the restaurant is comprehensive, very good, food quality is good, and meals are warm to hot. Lunch variety in the menus are limited, however, on the several occasions we went to lunch in the restaurant we found the food to be of good quality, and worth the decision to attend. Lunch on a port day was a great innovation, need to advertise it more, moist people didn’t notice it was open. HAL please open the restaurant at lunch longer than one-hour midday to 1 pm, most people eat between 12.30 pm and 2 pm, be a bit more flexible! We attended the main restaurant for dinner every night. The variety and quality of the food was very good, I was very pleased to see surf and turf on the last formal night menu, thanks HAL don’t take it off the menu, it was a very tasty meal indeed! Best barramundi I have eaten on any ship, coated in crushed macadamia nuts, with excellent accompaniments, wow! Lido food for breakfast is very good, smoked salmon is presented beautifully, and is delicious with freshly cooked eggs, or omelettes, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, English bacon etc, well done HAL Noordam. Good variety of breakfast cereal, Aussie milk and yoghurts, fresh fruit, pancakes, it is fantastic, more seating on some days as peak time is sometimes a problem, anyway, not insurmountable. Lunch in Lido had freshly made Asian and Indian food, different menu each day, in our opinion, it is the best fresh served food on any ship anywhere in the world, it is delicious, hot and the food service is fast and vey efficient. Pasta station is also very good, mainly fresh food and tasty, pizza is tasty, however, could HAL have a special pizza every day, for variety and the taste buds please. Turkey, sandwiches, potato chips, salads, desserts, and beautiful ice cream every day is a delight, we loved Lido food. Dinner was not as good, variety not quite up to normal standards, we didn’t eat dinner thee, however we looked each night to see what was available. However, improve dinner variety and Lido will be best buffet at sea! We like the Dive In burgers and chips, and the Mexican food, if kept away from the heat, and insects. The burgers were better on Zaandam, perhaps the cooks were better, our burgers were overcooked, otherwise tasted ok. Entertainment Most guest entertainers that we managed to see were good. The ship entertainment group had some very good singers amongst them, we watched one show, it was very entertaining. The BBC wildlife video accompanied by the orchestra and violins was magnificent. Lincoln stage was reported to be magic, we weren’t able to reach the performance on time as we had dinner, shame, we hear it was well worth it. Disembarkation No problem, we waited for our allotted number and colour and disembarked, found our bags. My bag had a wheel broken, again, as I indicated earlier in this report, we reported it to terminal staff, incident report sent to HAL, HAL yet to respond. Summary Apart cabin staff issues that didn’t end well for them, we had a very enjoyable time. The ship was in reasonable condition, great artefacts and venues, many of the dining staff and the food quality in restaurant and Lido venues and the menus won the day overall for us. We will return to HAL again we booked a cruise in January on Noordam, so here we go again! One major issue for HAL, Princess, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity have service/gratuities included in their cruise costs, don’t add them on every day, they are in $US dollars and it takes the shine off everyone’s’ holiday experience. Alcoholic beverages are outrageously priced, all cruise lines buy these beverages at less than duty free prices. Sure, you need to make a profit, not a killing on beverages, provide reasonable prices onboard, and reduce the prices of all drinks please. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Holland America Line only does this cruise once yearly, and I've looked a it for 5 years, ALWAYS over American Thanksgiving or Christmas. This year they snuck it in between the two, so I jumped on it! It is definitely a tropical ... Read More
Holland America Line only does this cruise once yearly, and I've looked a it for 5 years, ALWAYS over American Thanksgiving or Christmas. This year they snuck it in between the two, so I jumped on it! It is definitely a tropical vacation, much like a South Sea Isles, without the foreign languages. Paupua New Guinea kept going from good to better to amazing, then Conflict Islands, WOAH! Each and every port had some amazing choices for shore excursions for those of us who had never been to this part of the world before. Since I still work and can only get a few weeks off at a time, I flew to Sidney 2 days early to get my bearings. The Four Seasons where HAL put us up was lovely and withing footsteps of The Rocks, lots of eating and drinking, and not far walking from the Opera House and Inner Harbor. The HOHO bus left from across the street, so a fine place for sightseeing the whole city. Our ship left from "the other harbor" (Port Jackson) which I'm happy it did. The sailaway was incredible under the Harbor bridge and past the Opera House. I had a starboard side balcony, and it was glorious that morning. It is one of the most beautiful of my lifetime. I was in a SY cabin, 8083, rattled around in there by myself, but if I upgraded to it, they threw in 2 nights Sydney, a Meet & Greet dinner and tour of the opera house (which was excellent) and all transfers for free. It paid for itself, and having a jetted tub and shower was great for those days I hiked up hills in PNG to get the very best views of the islands. The ship was impecabbly clean, crew was constantly working to keep it so. She is due for a refurbishment in 2019, and parts are showing wear, so a pass. I did notice the upgraded Lincoln Center Stage is now enclosed since last time I sailed her, and the music acoustics was excellent! The 5 musicians, all Scandinavian put their hearts & soul into each piece, everything from Edvard Grieg to Dave Matthews Band! The place to be each evening was the BB Kings Club, dancing and singing. Did not hit the single piano bar on this sailing, though I usually do, so many other choices in entertainment on board. Both of the BBC Earth presentations in the showrooom were standing room only. I didn't attend the other presentations there, but heard from others they were enjoyable. Only ate in the MDR once, my schedule was so busy with wonderful EXC shore excursions, Martini Tastings (with David and Yoko) at 6:00pm nightly, and many nights in specialty restaurants with new friends. Other nights the Lido just seemed to have the same offerings in half the time. All of the food was tasty, hot, beautifully presented in MDR and Sel de Mer, Canaletto & Pinnacle. By the time I returned home that evening, the recipe for what I had eaten at Sel de Mer was on my pillow with some chocolates. That was a special meal for SURE!What I enjoy about the LIDO is being able to say "a really small slice of lamb, I'm a light eater," because by dinner I'm not really hungry. There were excellent enrichment programs on board this sailing, in additional to the usual, Aboriginal Marlon gave his informative talks in the Queens Lounge about his culture, WWII history about Milne Bay's importance, History of the Conflict Islands and what to do there. First day at PNG in the Explorer's Lounge there was exchange for PNG Kina (the only currency they use on these tiny islands) and postcards and stamps to mail things home. HAL thought of it all. I am NOT a Day at Sea person. There were TWO in a row on this cruise and I was a afraid I'd be climbing the walls.I finished two books, it was HOT, too hot to be out on my balcony too much. I almost did climb the walls, except that I discovered Martini Tastings, 3 small glasses, about 12 people around a convivial bar in the Atrium, and fun bar games. We learned to make a few new drinks, never really got too tipsy, but met new friends, and seriously AUSTRALIANS are FUN!!!! David was one of the most fun bartenders HAL has out there. The ports were in a excellent order, in my humble opinion. GLADSTONE: This was first time the Noordam had ever called there. Granted it was a Sunday and NOTHING was open, they rolled out the food trucks and made it a fun day for us. There was a huge street fair waiting for those who just walked off the ship. I caught the ceremony the city gave for the Captain and Officers. There was a kilted bagpipe band, dancers, Aboriginal thanking the ancestors, short talks by both parties. The HOHO vans had really nowhere to go, because everywhere was shuttered for the day, except hotel restaurants & shops. ALOTUA, PNG: The largest of the Islands and most citified. People were everywhere, very busy town. The ship parked quite far from the town center & market, but taxis were plentiful and not expensive I was told. 2 dance groups were on the pier with in traditional costume, many people were filming, paying a bit and talking to leaders in English. I took a shore excursion for a Clay Pot Cooking Class at the Masurina Lodge. It was FANTASTIC! Tables were arranged for us outside, we learned the types of yams, bananas, and other vegetables & spices they use in cooking, prepared the pots with, then toured a small WWII museum of artifacts. When it was ready we sat together and enjoyed the fruits of our labor. It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon in Alotua. KIRIWANA: This lovely island we tendered in to a nicely laid out beach full of stands where the natives sold their goods. There is a food stall in the middle to buy drinks and a few food items, but I didn't try it. Lots of people want to show you the island, but plenty of signs to show you the way. Not much in the way of beach chairs or mats, but lots of shade to the both sides off the tender pier. Bring what you need from the ship. Be willing to barter a bit. Save some Kina for tomorrow! Take a boat ride if you dare, the boats are sturdier on Kitava. KITAVA: Island Paradise! Clear water, bring a snorkle. Beach chairs to rent far to the left off the pier. You can walk in and see the coral and fish here, it is the best of the 3 islands of this PNG group. You can hike up to Captain Cameron's grave (5 Kina to go inside), worth the hike, the view is spectacular. There is another small island off the island, and for 10 Kina you have get a boat to take out out and drop you off, hopefully bring you back. Talk about deserted island! I'll try to post the pic! CONFLICT ISLANDS: Exceptional stop. The main island is a wanderers paradise. Yes, there are rooms, where I assume there were guests staying. There was a huge converted tuna processor, now a glass bottom boat. I took the Beach Picnic Shorex. Walked across the island boarded a Zodiac like skiff that took us to a larger, maybe 40 ft pleasure craft, drove us to a small, deserted island, where the skiff again met us, took our gear to shore, in twos. Beach chairs in the shade, pre-ordered picnic coolers with drinks, water, blankets, utinsils, everything needed for hours of absolute peace and quiet. At the prescribed time, our skiff returned us to the bigger boat for the return trip. I then went to the TURTLE RESCUE, which wasn't much to see, but very informative. The release of our own little guy/gal Crush was so envigorating, I wept a little, hoping he would survive and prosper in the wild. YORKEYS KNOB/CAIRNS: Unintended port for me, I changed my Great Barrier Reef excursion to go to the rainforest on the Kuranda Rail, and it was great! Exciting piece of history, with a tour guide in each rail car. Ours was really funny, and the narrative was historic and interesting. We stopped a few places for photos of the waterfalls befor arrival at the town. A few hours there, then return on the Skytrain, a cableway over the amazing rainforest to the forest floor, and a short bus back to the ship. ARLIE BEACH: Here the Whitsunday Island Tours boat picked us up right off the ship and took us out to the Great Barrier Reef dive platform to snorkle the Reef. It was a long, wavy trip and they were quite prepared with seasick bags, patches, pills and help for anyone experiencing symptoms. They served a delightful tea service, hearty lunch, and snack on the way back. We were outfitted with EVERYTHING, from stinger suits, snorkle gear, fins, everything except sunscreen and swimsuits. It as a great day, although I could have done without the sea swells, but that wasn't their fault, and they did everything RIGHT to handle that. BRISBANE: Beautiful Brisbane. Wish I had more time here. Took the excursion to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, it was much more. We toured the city both ways, seeing the highlights, spending about two hours at the sanctuary. It took about an hour in line to actually HOLD a koala, and $35 AUD for photos. Then paid $2 aud to buy kangaroo food and went into the enclosure where there were SO many roos, and you could be there as long as you wanted. I spent the rest of the time there! This was a wonderful itinerary for any Australia virgins. I will go back when I have more time after retirement. I thought the flights would be more grueling, but Delta flies the Boeing 777, which makes a huge difference in jet lag, that circulation system is amazing! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Of fourteen cruises this was my third with HAL. It was nice to renew our acquaintance after a five year hiatus. I'm happy to say that HAL have maintained their high standard, mostly. More on that later. We came down to Sydney by ... Read More
Of fourteen cruises this was my third with HAL. It was nice to renew our acquaintance after a five year hiatus. I'm happy to say that HAL have maintained their high standard, mostly. More on that later. We came down to Sydney by train and four of us took a taxi from Central to White Bay. I was amazed at how much luggage space was available in the hybrid Toyota, it all went in the back, no bags on laps. Fare was $30 which I thought was reasonable but not so much when then return fare, White Bay to Central, was only $25! Hmmm. The return was a quicker trip as it was early morning. On arrival at the terminal we checked our bags and joined the queue which looked long but didn't take to long to get through, about 30 minutes and we were aboard. Room was ready. We, my friend Tony and I, had requested twin beds but found a double made up. We pointed this out to our room attendant and it was quickly fixed. Unusually, I had trouble orienting myself when moving about the ship. I think the lack of an atrium such as on X Solstice and Ovation OTS may have something to do with it. The decor, altough tasteful and in good condition, was not to my liking- too much brown, bronze and gold made for a drab interior. Others may like it but it seems dated. Meals. First thing I noticed in MDR was that there were fewer choices compered to my previous HAL experience. HAL is not alone in this regard. What was pleasing was the food standard was still as high as I remembered. Almost but not quite up to that of Celebrity, I recall only one dud meal in MDR, a chicken linguini with basil and tomato sauce and some crispy thing that wasn't crispy. The pasta sauce was totally lacking in flavour, basil or tomato, but the chicken was ok. We ate all dinners in MDR except for three nights when we ate in the specialty restaurants. The first was a birthday dinner in Pinnacle grill. There were four of us. I ordered a honey glazed pork chop as a main, the others had steaks, I wish I had too. The pork chop was overcooked, tasteless and chewy. Everything else was good, appetisers and desserts. The next was Rudi's Sal de Mare. This was excellent. Wonderful seafood courses and all cooked to perfection. Only problem was we had trouble finishing it all. By the time dessert came we were all pretty full then had to front up to a pile of profiteroles covered with chocolate sauce and ice cream, There was also crepe suzettes which were yummy. The final night was in Cannaletto's for my 70th. Excellent Italian food and presentation with portions just right. With the exception of the first sea day, when we had breakfast in the MDR, we ate breakfast and lunch in the Lido buffet. No self serve but food was freshly cooked and served by staff. Very little wastage and a lot less temptation to overload your plate. Less chance of spreading bugs too. Lots of variety to suit all tastes. Our group of four generally ate breakfast late (too late for MDR)cdue to Tony, a late riser, and the other two who liked pre breakfast walks and gym sessions. I just went with the flow. Entertainment, This is the first cruise where I have not tried to attend every show. Our usual ritual was 7pm trivia after which we would then have dinner. The late shows were at 10 and sometimes clashed with other performances such as piano and strings in the Lincoln Centre or BB Kings or the piano bar. I did catch the comedian one night and country singer Patrick McMahon was great, both nights. Have seen him on a previous cruise. Although the HAL band was good I it lacked a brass section. This would have given it a lot more presence. Guest speekers were interesting and topical. We booked a couple of ship tours, In Alotau we did a Milne Bay cruise with a historical commentary which was interesting and informative. I was able to relate what I have read, about the Japanese attack, to the geography/topography of the area, It was here that the Japanese suffered their first WW2 defeat on land. After that we went on a cultural tour and learnt about the way of life and customs of the PNG people in this area. For the island visits we went ashore and snorkelled and generally relaxed. Exception was the Conflict Islands. What a beautiful place this is. A Coral Sea atoll of twenty one islands with a marine research facility. The owner, Ian Gowrie-Smith, has set up a turtle conservation facility. He has an agreement with Carnival that allows their ships to visit and this helps fund the facility. It was here that I found the best snorkelling I've ever seen, absolutely beautiful and unspoiled in comparison to other islands where the coral is suffering degradation from the reef shoes and too many people We had booked an outrigger sailing cruise but this was cancelled due to lack of wind. For the Australian ports of Gladstone, Cairns, Airlie Beach and Brisbane I did my own thing. I did a little geocaching which gives me exercise and takes me to out-of-the-way places tourists mostly miss. Tendering at Yorkey's Knob, Cairns is the pits. Takes up so much time although I never had any problems getting on the tenders due to crowds. I can recommend the Cairns Aquarium, well worth a couple of hours there. Airlie Beach is much different to when I was last here, about thirty five years ago. They tell me the place is usually full of backpackers but maybe the season was over as there weren't too many about. Or perhaps they only come out at night. Lots of cafes and restaurants. In Brisbane I spent a relaxing day at my sisters' and spent some time with her five grandchildren, four girls and one boy aged between five and eleven. That was fun. All good things come to an end and we were back in Sydney having missed the cyclones but got the tail end of the Sydney storms. Disembarkation was on a Saturday. Saturday is when I windsurf and my club was having a post race Xmas BBQ so I decided I would try and make it back to Newcastle in time. I self disembarked by not putting my bag out the night before and just walking off when I was ready, Shared a taxi to central and was on the train heading north at 8.18. Would I cruise with HAL again, sure, if the itinerary looks good and the ports are interesting. I forgot to mention the one change I noticed in HAL's standards. Dressing for dinner. It's now a lot less formal than it was. On my first HAL cruise I didn't have a jacket for gala night so the Maitre d provided me with one. I didn't have to wear it, just hung it on the back of my chair. Some consider the casualisation of dinner attire a backward step but for me, I'm fine with it. I wear neat jeans or slacks with a collared shirt, or sometimes a bright Hawaiin shirt. No problem. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was our third HAL cruise and the first on the Noordam. It was an relocation cruise of 24 days from Sydney to Vancouver with stops in New Caledonia, Fiji, Vanuata, Pago Pago and Hawaii. There were numerous seas days but given the ... Read More
This was our third HAL cruise and the first on the Noordam. It was an relocation cruise of 24 days from Sydney to Vancouver with stops in New Caledonia, Fiji, Vanuata, Pago Pago and Hawaii. There were numerous seas days but given the on board activities these days went quicker then expected. The cruise was blessed with good seas throughout and perfect weather except for a steady fog for the days between Hawaii and Vancouver. When we boarded the Noordam was at the end of its Australian based cruises but despite this the crew were friendly and attentive as if it was the first cruise. The ports of call, about half of which were tender ports gave us plenty of time to explore and were well organised. Pluses on the cruise were the Ex tour director Heather who gave talks with an irrelevant sense of humour, the two cruise directors Jan and Isolda whoi made the numerous trivia games heaps of fun. One big plus that given the number of Australia and New Zealand guests on board the captain arranged for a dawn service on April 25th to commemorate ANZAC Day. This was presided over by Bill Crewes who also gave various interesting talks on the geopolitical aspects of the regions we were visiting. Talks on the geophysical and fossil history of the region were done by Phil Cressey, again very interesting. The nightly entertainment was varied throughout the cruise with different sets of performers doing different stages of the cruise. Of these Sarah Moir was the most surprising and entertaining. The food was up to normal HAL standard with lots of variety and it was good to see that a proper salad bar is now an option. During the cruise we crossed the international date line on my birthday so that I was able to have two birthdays in the same year. My wife shouted me dinner in the Canaletto restaurant were I was presented with a cake and a round of happy birthday by the waiters ,most unexpected as was the card from the Captain and Cruise Director. All in all it was a very pleasant and relaxing way to cross the Pacific and I would recommend this cruise to anyone with the time to do it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Chosen for the itinerary and Holland America excellent service. Embarkation was very well organized and done in a timely manner. Cabin was very clean and comfortable. Lots of storage. Cabin stewards did an excellent job. Always knew they ... Read More
Chosen for the itinerary and Holland America excellent service. Embarkation was very well organized and done in a timely manner. Cabin was very clean and comfortable. Lots of storage. Cabin stewards did an excellent job. Always knew they were close to help , very friendly and very efficient. Lido for breakfast was always crowded and busy. Staff did a good job in helping you find a table. Lido and Dive in for lunch we’re both great food and service. Main dining room open seating worked great always good service and great table mates. Specialty restaurants. Pinnacle wonderful. Amazing service. Canneletto good food but it is really just an extension at night of the lido. Entertainment is mediocre for stage shows. Music venues enjoyable but B.B. Kings volume is loud and louder. Great choices for shore excursions and shore staff very helpful and knowledgeable in getting information about ports. Disembarkation very smooth Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
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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