31 Sydney (Australia) to South Pacific Holland America Noordam Cruise Reviews

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
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
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
I can say without reservation that this was the best service on a cruise ship we have experienced. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The food in the main dining room was just okay. Gone are the days of elegant dining with ... Read More
I can say without reservation that this was the best service on a cruise ship we have experienced. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The food in the main dining room was just okay. Gone are the days of elegant dining with delicious food and large portions. This was our 24th cruise and this was the poorest main dining room food we've experienced. But on the plus side the casual dining on the Lido deck was some of the best we have had experienced. We like the fact that the food is served to you. The choices on the Lido deck were varied. The condition of the ship was and likely is not up to standards we have experienced and observed on other vessels. The carpets are worn in many areas. Many of the doors on the ship are banged up. The paint on the ceiling in the main atrium is deteriorating. The metal around elevator doors is banged up on many floors. When we arrived at our cabin there were several things we noticed right away. The shaver outlet in the bathroom was loose from the wall. A cabinet handle broke upon our first opening. One the handles on the bathroom sink was missing parts. And the coach in our cabin was absolute filthy. On the good side the coach was cleaned and the items were fixed within 24 hours. Last the activities on the ship were pretty limited and the entertainment not very good. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
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
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
We had read the reviews on Noordam prior to travel and a lot were not very complimentary so we went with low expectations. All I can say is that the type of complaint I read previously makes me think those people would not be happy with ... Read More
We had read the reviews on Noordam prior to travel and a lot were not very complimentary so we went with low expectations. All I can say is that the type of complaint I read previously makes me think those people would not be happy with anything. Noordam far exceeded our expectations. We were delighted with practically everything on board. Our stateroom on verandah deck mid ship was roomy, clean, comfortable and well maintained...plenty of storage. Probably the best bed I have ever slept in....so comfortable with fantastic pillows. Loved it. The food in all restaurants, and we tried them all was exceptional. I think for the entire cruise, 13 nights, there was one meal I found not to my taste but that was my choice and I didn’t choose well. But the meal choices were terrific. The ship gives a feel of old world elegance. Some say dated and not modern. I say elegant. The staff on board were amazing. I think if I had to score out of 10 I would give them a 15. The Captains announcements every day became a highlight as we got used to his dry humour and his emphasis on washing hands. The fact his record for the healthiest ship cruising was a testament to his perseverance in keeping us on our toes. It was his final cruise before retirement and the crew gave him a terrific send off......he was obviously well liked and respected. There was plenty to do on board....it was non stop and could keep you occupied 24/7. The entertainment of board was good, in the main especially the Noordam singers and dancers. The ports were OK on this Pacific cruise but wouldn’t rave about them. Arriving into Noumea on a Sunday wasn’t great as nothing open in the town. The three is,ands we visited and accessed by Tender were very scenic. We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise on Noordam and would recommend this ship. Also the embarkation and disembarkation. Is so efficient and quick. Very impressed. Great holiday. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Noordam. Cruise to Pacific Islands On the 15/03/2018. Thirteen days The cruise was from Sydney at the overseas passenger terminal circular quarry Embarkation very very efficient. We receive a very good deal for a ... Read More
Noordam. Cruise to Pacific Islands On the 15/03/2018. Thirteen days The cruise was from Sydney at the overseas passenger terminal circular quarry Embarkation very very efficient. We receive a very good deal for a balcony guarantee cabin. We were assigned a BB cabin on 10004 deck ten. The Position near the Crows Nest lounge and the lido swimming pool was great. The cabin was in very good condition The balcony was small but accommodated two chairs. I had read in Cruise Critic reviews that the ship was rundown and needed a refit. However I have found the ship to be in good condition. I understand the dry docking and refitting has been postponed. The most used and best place on the boat was the Exploration Lounge with Internet ports and a very good library and a coffee shop. I believe that on the other ships of this class the Exploration lounge has been removed and this is intended for the Noordam refit. This would be ridiculous. The food in the lido and the main dining room was very good as was the Italian restaurant at night where service and food was excellent. Any time dining worked well for us. The main disappointment was the entertainment although it did improve a little towards the end of the cruise. The entertainment director seem to be out of his depth It appears there was a lack of staff with only a deputy director. This is poor cost cutting, The Lincoln group and the blues band were very good. They did not compensate for general lack of entertainment. It was never possible to get into the piano bar. It was too crowded. The was a total lack of live bands in various lounges the Crows Nest lounge only seem to be used for the two for one drinks. It was totally dead at night in fact most of the ship seemed to be totally dead and lacking in entrainment. The port lecturer was good and informative. The cast in the shows were very good however the production was poor. The speciality acts were also poor. The movies were out of date and shown in an venue which was totally inadequate for watching a movie. There were only two cooking demonstrations in the same venue in the 13 day cruise. There were only a few trivia sessions and no game shows. No line bands at sail away. No real sail away parties. The entrainment staff seemed to be asleep at the wheel. In reading the blog on the world cruise Amsterdam and other blogs, Holland America seems to completely lost the plot in providing entrainment on the Noordam in Australia It was a very enjoyable cruise despite the lack of entertainment. The the staff and service was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
The cruise was the type of itinerary that I was Looking for, within in the time period available to me. This was our first time cruising and My Wife and I were really looking forward to our first cruise. I will preface my remarks by ... Read More
The cruise was the type of itinerary that I was Looking for, within in the time period available to me. This was our first time cruising and My Wife and I were really looking forward to our first cruise. I will preface my remarks by saying that I am easy going by nature and not overly fussy. Embarkation was from White Bay Terminal Sydney. This was handled very well and I have no complaints at all. The cabin was of adequate size in need of refurbishment, The cabin was clean and tidy. The TV was a complete joke. Dining was adequate, the better dining areas attracting a fee(surcharge). With the entertainment being very ordinary we read for most of the time. Entertainment was esoteric with charges applicable to many of the activities. Most of the activities were of no interest to myself and after talking to others on board they were of the same opinion Service was good overall except for the ubiquitous tipping. Applying a 15 per cent fee added to the final account at the end of the cruise while applying 15per cent tip on purchases made during the cruise. I would rather they pay the staff a proper wage, include the extra cost in the advertised price of the cruise. Ports of call:- due to inclement weather a number of ports had to be missed. This is out of the control of Holland America however days at sea were boring and tedious. Holland America line excursions were way too expensive, I was able to book my excursions on line before we left home and they were great at fraction of the price wanted for the ship excursions. Disembarkation was handled very well, and we were glad to get off. There were a number people who were of the same opinion as myself. Holland America should take note that most people do not complain they remember. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Only our second cruise, had previously sailed from Hawaii to Sydney in 2016. We were so impressed with that cruise, the brand and the ship. So we choose to revisit with HAL and the Noordam again, this time the New Zealand leg of the ... Read More
Only our second cruise, had previously sailed from Hawaii to Sydney in 2016. We were so impressed with that cruise, the brand and the ship. So we choose to revisit with HAL and the Noordam again, this time the New Zealand leg of the Pacific Cruise. We love the size and style of the Noordam, and having sailed before felt really comfortable with layout and facilities. Our cabin was on the main deck 1050, we were 3 males travelling together so the cabin had twin beds and the cabin attendants converted the sofa to a third bed every evening. Bedding,size of cabin were all really comfortable. Both trips I loved the dining facilities on-board, preferring the main dining area for most meals, breakfast and dinner. The quality, portions, presentation & service were outstanding. Don't like the Lido deck much at all, but that's just my preference. The Dive In by the pool makes the best burger, hot-dog and fries ever for a lunch time snack! The entertainment was quite boring this trip, liked the Noordam singers & dances but only performed irregularly. Piano bar was excellent, BB King's is good, the disco was appalling and the rest of the entertainment revolved trivia and an odd dance class. The cooking classes were good on the last trip but this time around a "new" commercial partnering left us bored. I felt this trip there had been a significant cultural shift in service, staff and management, and this was collective impression by us. Our "impression" was there seemed to be less people doing more work, staff seemed to be pushed harder, slightly stressed and less friendly. Found the entertainment director and his associates somewhat condescending and patronising at time and management generally the same. The service standouts were without doubt the dining & drink servers in the main dining room plus the bar staff in the Crows Nest. Ports visited were all interesting with Milford Sound first day outstanding! Due to the size and nature of the ports it was difficult to dock and weather reliant. We booked 2 excursions with the ship both outrageously expensive. The first was Wellington and the tour was very good, the second was Auckland and was cancelled due to weather conditions. The cruise was plagued by difficult weather conditions and can understand it comes with the territory. On the way up the coast we missed Napier due to bad weather, we missed Auckland and Bay of Islands due to weather, the captain retraced our steps and came back to Napier which was nice. Overall made us question if we would travel HAL again, and would certainly look at a fly drive option as a better way of seeing NZ Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
For the itinerary of southern Australia, which was great. However, we felt Holland is not as good as in past cruises. The main complaint is Dining Room (We used anytime) menu which is so limited and quit frankly other then the beef not ... Read More
For the itinerary of southern Australia, which was great. However, we felt Holland is not as good as in past cruises. The main complaint is Dining Room (We used anytime) menu which is so limited and quit frankly other then the beef not really good. Vegetables all cooked to death and hardly any green ones, like broccoli, green beans, etc. and you didn't even get more then 5 string beans or 3 halves of brusell sprouts. I know it is not quantity, but vegetables are good for you and go with a meal of meat. Pastas at lunch quite good but not offered each night in dining room. The daily offerings need to have shrimp cocktail back on it , many nights I went without appetizer, as nothing was to my liking. The service has not been as good as in past, like a shortage of help. Wine stewards slow in getting to tables. Room and Cabin Stewards no complaints in fact some of the best we have had. Casino was good and so was most of the entertainment. Holland needs also to get with the Wifi service and offer it at better pricing or as a perk for booking. And work on those menus. Acutally Lido meals were better then dining room offerings. I am a 4 star but will look to become that on another line that offers better food and perks for bookings. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We choose HAL because we liked the Itinerary, as it was our first cruise to New Zealand and Australia. It was also our first time on HAL. The food on the Noordam was excellent, with a lot of variety, great presentation. We enjoyed all ... Read More
We choose HAL because we liked the Itinerary, as it was our first cruise to New Zealand and Australia. It was also our first time on HAL. The food on the Noordam was excellent, with a lot of variety, great presentation. We enjoyed all food areas the buffet was great, The Pinnacale was fantastic. The ship is an older ship as other reviewers indicated the staff does a great job keeping it clean and looking good...however, it needs to be refurbished. We enjoyed the captain and felt he Had a great sense of humor, was always reminding cruisers to wash there hands and kept safety at the for front! One of our favorite bartendars was Jude and he works up at The Sea Pool Bar, he always has a smile on his face, remembers everyones name and what they like to drink. We found all the staff on the ship to be happy and ready ro assist. Most of the staff has been with HAL for years, which says a lot about the cruise line. We found the entertainment lacking on the ships in compairson to other cruise lines, the casino was very dissapointing with regards to the variety of slot machines. On other cruise lines, we have found a lot to do and activites that go all day and evening...on HAL we were sometimes bored, maybe it is the average age group on the ship? However, we just didnt find alot of activities that appealed to us...the most excitement was either in The Paino Bar or in the BB King Lounge...however, you odnt want to go there for 15 nights straight. We will try HAL again, but would like to be on a newer ship and with more activities. Shore Excurisons are very expensive on HAL so we used outside companies while in port and can highly recomend Viator and Zealanider Tours. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We have cruised HAL before. previously Trans Atlantic and Med with Noordam and Baltics , Scandnavia on Konningsdam, WE loved all before and were prepared to travel long distance from Oz but now figured a cruise close to home would ease ... Read More
We have cruised HAL before. previously Trans Atlantic and Med with Noordam and Baltics , Scandnavia on Konningsdam, WE loved all before and were prepared to travel long distance from Oz but now figured a cruise close to home would ease the travel strain. We took the cruise for the ship/cruise not the destination. Another reason for the cruise was to compare HAL and Princess who we sailed the new Majestic in June. Maybe this review may seem like a comparison of the two....if you want a comparison read on. Firstly the ships are diferent sizes Majestic being almost twice that of Noordam. So embarkation was slower with Majestic but that may have been the fault of immigration/customs as we boarded in Singapore with Noordam boarding in Sydney. Of the 1900 guests on Noordam we were told there were over 1000 from USA , couple of hundred from Canada and only 200-300 from Australia and New Zealand. that really surprised us. With the Noordam being mid to small and Majestic being large there is no real comparisons to be made. you either like big or you like small. Personally we prefer small. Statistics show that both ships are rated 5 stars. Majestic is brand new whereas Noordam is kept in emaculate condition...everything works , everything looks brand new even though she is 11 years old. Maybe some of the chairs show some wear but with people in them all day everyday id be surprised if a chair lasted 12 months. The biggest difference I noted was the attention to detail displayed by the staff. Noordam staff took ownership of any problem whereas Majestic seemed to pass the problem back to the customer. The customer service desk on Noordam was frequently absent of customers whereas on Majestic there were constant lineups of customers wanting something attended to. I would say that on Noordam if there was a problem it was fixed whereas on Majestic it kept re-occurring...that would explain the disparity between the 2 ships. Cleanliness seemed better on Noordam, staff always polishing cleaning etc. I found that for writing this review Majestic has 2.6customer per one staff while Noordam has 2.39. Noordam is better staffed by number and probably better staffed by attitude and training. On the plus side for Noordam Ill also list the food court or buffet...lots better but we used it rarely and then generally breakfast...Noordam has the greatest selection of poached eggs anywhere in the world even on land. Princess has the best bread rolls at sea bar none. Dining room was on a par but Princess deserts win hands down. We did anytime dining both cruises and on both we were able to secure the same table (for two) after the second day and talking with the maitre di. Same good service. bar staff were comparable both great but Noordam drink stewards seem to have more incentive to chase you down....you rarely have to look for someone to get you a drink. Drink packages- I don't get them...cant drink like I did 30 years ago. But I do get the wine packages. Noordam was good value with wine averageing about $27 USD per bottle. If one purchased the bottle separately they were about $35 each. May seem expensive but at $9 per glass and 5 glasses per bottle this saves $10 on a bottle. On our 15 day cruise we purchased about 20 bottles all up so packages can be worthwhile. I remember princess was similar. Entertainment or lack is what let Noordam down. We ate at 7.45pm and there was generally no Band playing for the hour or so before we ate. From 6.30 pm the ship was dead until things started up about 8.00. We attended the late shows (both ships) and entertainment was similar...both good with the same mix of magicions comedians etc etc. Tours excursions were abundant on each ship...my suggestion to others is to do plenty of research before the cruise ....you can sometimes get the same thing for less off the ship. Finally the clientel age was similar with age mainly 55 and above. there seemed less walkers/wheelchairs/walking sticks on Noordam and people seemed to dress up a bit more. I noticed that on most evenings many many ladies wore outfits that would generally be acceptable on a formal night. I like this although I only wear a jacket and bow tie at Gala night. Most men were dressed smart casual. Here is an interesting observation though. On the second night I approached the Maitri di at the door to the dining room at 5.30 pm asking for table reservation. He obliged informing me not to come back with my shorts on...which I would not even consider knowing dining room rules. Maybe he was lifting the dress standard from the gutter where it is on some cruises. Finally...which ship? Noordam wins I think because it appears the cleanest healthiest ship. People appeared to be in better health with no coughing spluttering etc. But Majestic was more fun around dinner times. Its the smaller ship for me especially with what I think was better staff training and attentiveness. I believe Noordam does care . majestic gave me the impression of Oh Well. Next cruise....neither. We have 2 sets of cruises booked. the first back to back for 14 days. The second BTB 21 days.....both different from the Majestic and the Noordam...both sets of cruises are on 3.5 to 4 stars. It will be interesting to see the difference. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Friend had recommended. A last minute decision to take a holiday following long wet winter. Purchased just a month ahead of sailing, online, and overall very pleased with cruise. Very good value. Prices were discounted at this time. Calm ... Read More
Friend had recommended. A last minute decision to take a holiday following long wet winter. Purchased just a month ahead of sailing, online, and overall very pleased with cruise. Very good value. Prices were discounted at this time. Calm seas all the way from Sydney, Tasmania, NZ ports, disembarking Auckland. No rain, all sunshine. Met some lovely interesting passengers, mainly from Canada and USA. Met quite a few repeat HAm repeat cruisers. A few did say they had noticed cutbacks in some areas, particularly theatre entertainment. Excursions are expensive compared to same land prices as is wifi. But, if your tour is late back the ship will wait which did happen once I believe. Do take some of your own coathangers! Major shortage for some reason. Good cabin steward, a very happy crew, good atmosphere. We had a lovely time and would be a repeat passenger but not on main deck because of night noise from carpenters shop? so beware. Saw only less than 10 children during voyage. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We scored a great price on a 15-day HAL cruise from Sydney, Australia to Auckland, New Zealand. Perhaps the price was so affordable because a) November is a less popular travel window (our itinerary included Thanksgiving); and b) the ... Read More
We scored a great price on a 15-day HAL cruise from Sydney, Australia to Auckland, New Zealand. Perhaps the price was so affordable because a) November is a less popular travel window (our itinerary included Thanksgiving); and b) the Noordam is due for a significant refurb very soon, which is much needed because her passenger spaces are outdated and worn. The AC failed in our cabin the last four days of the cruise; they never could fix it though they brought us a fan which make the ventilation almost bearable. Itinerary: The Australia/New Zealand itinerary did not disappoint. Between Sydney and Auckland, we stopped at eight lovely ports, each with its unique charm and scenic/cultural offerings: Melbourne, Hobart, Dunedin, Akaroa, Picton, Wellington, Napier and Tauranga. We would definitely recommend a vacation Down Under. On-Board: As with all cruises, there is no shortage of on-board activities. The Maori cultural ambassadors were great, as were several of the other evening entertainers. Kelly, our on-board EXC tour consultant, was a real asset. She prepped us for upcoming ports of call, giving historical context and tour options to match diverse interests. Her commentary as we sailed into Milford Sound and thru Fiordland Nat'l Park made that part of the cruise all the more interesting. Dining: We dined mostly on the Lido Deck for its convenience and wide variety of choices. We did notice there seemed to be more servers peddling alcohol than clearing tables and bringing water/lemonade. Burgers and Mexican choices at Dive-In by the pool were always good. We ate at only one of the specialty (extra charge) restaurants -- the Italian Canaletto. It was our least favorite meal of the cruise, the food too unusual/bizarre for our taste. I order lasagna (what can go wrong?) and didn't care for it at all. The food and choices in the main dining room were good (we ate there about 5 times), but it takes TWO HOURS to be served dinner. That's just too long for our American lifestyle. Cabin attendants: Our room stewards were okay. We never saw them, and on the rare occasion we made a request, "Green apples in the fruit bowl, please" we got bananas, red apples and unripe pears instead. "Please don't close the curtains unless we are in port", but they always did anyway. I understand they have a heavy workload, which probably grows heavier every year as HAL tries to reduce the number of staff. What is missing: Having cruised with Holland American for a decade, we've seen a number of old "traditions" disappear. The beautiful ice sculptures, chocolate night extravaganzas, and any-time ice cream/dessert bars are gone. I'm sympathetic to the competitive nature of the cruise/hospitality industry and the need to cut corners wherever possible. I enjoy a good cruise experience for a bargain price, so some of these niceties are inevitably trimmed in the process. We will sail with Holland America again! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Heard good things about Holland America and we agree. Food and service was exceptional. Our room with a balcony was very comfortable. Only negatives were that the excursions were pricey, charging for water when going on excursions, and ... Read More
Heard good things about Holland America and we agree. Food and service was exceptional. Our room with a balcony was very comfortable. Only negatives were that the excursions were pricey, charging for water when going on excursions, and charging for very poor internet. The excursions were expensive and thought they could have had a better selection. However, most the stops were very accessible on your own. The major cities were very crowded and involved a lot of waiting. Also, thought their ship announcements were very hard to hear. The ship offered a Windows 10 class which was excellent and was filled most of the time. The instructor was very good and they just needed more space. The ship was exceptionally clean and there was certainly no lack of food at any time. The exceptional service on the ship really made a difference as everyone smiled and made you feel special. Would definitely recommend Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
This review will not be lengthy but more to the point.Having completed our Sydney to Vancouver crossing from 8th April to 30th April ;I feel appropriate to comment on this ship Firstly the Noordam is a beautiful ship and we ... Read More
This review will not be lengthy but more to the point.Having completed our Sydney to Vancouver crossing from 8th April to 30th April ;I feel appropriate to comment on this ship Firstly the Noordam is a beautiful ship and we could not see any signs of wear and tear and the ship was meticulously maintained in all aspects.Perhaps a couple of carpet sections worn that's about all; but who cares really Food and entertainment all good.One area that did annoy me was the Lido area at night.Only open till 8pm is a joke if you are a late eater like ourselves.They usually only had 2 food stations open so queuing was the norm.That was okay in itself.The problem was you had to wait for food as they often did run out.The next problem was if you wanted more ;2nd's that is ; it was often too late as they would religiously shut down at 8pm Not a huge issue ; but i do like my food and it was good on the Noordam;probably our preference for that extra touch was for the dining room The Noordam had plenty of public areas and never an issue getting seating in whatever area.We loved the decor of this ship Our cabin was at the stern on deck 5.A great experience with the ever present wake and our balcony was big ;cabin 5187 small problem with soot from the funnels stained some of our clothes but we did not put any t shirts or the like out on deck after this People on board were great and we sat at different table each night usually 6-8 wouldn't do it any other way.Met Americans/Canadians/British people Ports of call were good even though we had been to many before.We like the long sea days so this was not a problem for us Embarkation was a breeze and as we boarded around 3pm in Sydney we walked straight on no one in front of us.Getting off at Vancouver was the same streamlined and efficient as well. And now for the worst part ; something that has probably turned us off sea travel for a fair time I would say; maybe forever FLU VIRUS ON BOARD! The 1st day out from Sydney we noticed a steward coming out of the cabin diagonally opposite ours.The only point of difference was that he was wearing a face mask.This caused alarm bells to go off.Obviously quarantined After a few days about it it was pretty obvious that MANY people on this ship were coughing and spluttering and being very casual about it.One woman coughing continuously on the open deck remarked to someone she was talking too "Yes I have a cough but so does half the ship ;so what she said" Great attitude to your fellow man So in due course after everyone being so considerate and health conscious my wife and self finally came down with this Flu virus "A or B" as confirmed by the ships doctor ($1000 medical bill).Our only saviour was that we both got sick in the last week after leaving Honolulu.We were both confined to our cabin for 4 days and during that time i did not eat at all ;I was so ill.I can honestly say I had not been as sick since I had the Mumps when I was 20 years old.Both my wife and self are very fit people slim and exercise daily as well. When we disembarked from the ship in Vancouver ;we were both very weak and my wife had developed Bronchitis which was bordering on Pneumonia after the Flu virus.We had to see a Doctor 2 days after we arrived as I thought we may have to cancel our Rockies tour.We saw the Rockies which was our highlight for 6 days I guess my gripe with HAL is that this Flu virus had been on the ship for some time ;from NEw Zealand or before in it's Australian cruise season.How do I know this because 2 of the stewards told us so I condemn HAL for not making passengers more aware of this spread and doing something about it.It was something that almost ruined our holiday and made us both very wary of venturing on a ship in the future.We are 67/68 by the way so not veterans yet! I must be truthful and say I would have given the ship a "Very Good" review in Value for money except for our horrific experience with illness and yes we did have Flu shots before we left Australia;doesn't cover all strains Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose Holland America as they are our favourite cruise line. Having an aft suite our embarkation was smooth without any wait although this actual cruise had commenced in NZ and there were already guests on board. The cabin was great ... Read More
We chose Holland America as they are our favourite cruise line. Having an aft suite our embarkation was smooth without any wait although this actual cruise had commenced in NZ and there were already guests on board. The cabin was great with no complaints. Dining always good on HAL with good choices in all areas. Service good and all our excursions were booked through cruise line. A few of our choices of excursions were not as expected though did not stop us from enjoying them. Entertainment and activities were sparse. It was our only down point of this cruise. Movies were shown in queens lounge which did not hold many people so missed out on what we wanted to see. There could have been more activities on board during the sea days and it became a little boring. Speakers did not give talks about much of interest to most and bingo was a waste of money with only four games per session. Sales days were not what we have experienced in the past - three or four tables of items only with total lack of interest by staff and cruisers. Word was the captain didn't want big sales on deck. Easter was just about non-existent. A couple of dyed eggs at breakfast. We are a married couple and we would sail HAL again for the exceptional service however HAL need to pick up on the entertainment side. Noordam is a good ship but we feel Oosterdam had more options as far as entertainment goes. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose this cruise to fit in with school holidays and to meet friends in Hawaii. The stateroom was excellent. See below. The ship was very lush and we enjoyed the ambience in every venue. All areas were well maintained and ... Read More
We chose this cruise to fit in with school holidays and to meet friends in Hawaii. The stateroom was excellent. See below. The ship was very lush and we enjoyed the ambience in every venue. All areas were well maintained and elegant. We knew the wifi would not be good, so we enjoyed having 2 weeks free of this. Dining. We could not fault any meal, whether it be in the Vista Dining room, Lido buffet, poolside or the specialty restaurants. We mainly ate in the Lido and always managed to find a seat at any time. There were little, if any, queues at each food station. We tried every station and were never disappointed. We never experienced food at incorrect temperatures. The food in the main dining room was very good, with small to medium portions which we appreciated. The Canaletto and Pinnacle dining rooms served wonderful food each time we visited them and the service was excellent. Entertainment. Every night we looked forward to the shows. There were great acts from Australia and at the end, a great a capella group from the USA. The acts were world class, (in our opinion) and were well received by the audiences every night. On a couple of occasions there was standing room only! Obviously the 8 o'clock crowd came back for more at 10pm! We were very impressed with all of them.We also very much enjoyed the BB Kings Blues Club on quite a few occasions. We had a great fun night on a "pub crawl" and enjoyed the piano bar a few times. Daytime activities were good, with our favourites being the daily team trivia, Happy Hour, food and wine pairing and a couple of culinary sessions and guest lecturers. We also enjoyed down time lazing in the aft pool, sitting on deck chairs and also on recliners in the Crow's Nest. We celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary with a Renewal of Vows ceremony. WOW! What a wonderful experience! The Captain presided over the ceremony(we were the only 2) and his wife was with him. We were overwhelmed with the attention to detail....champagne, finger food, corsage and buttonhole, photographer, wedding cake, dinner for 2 at the Pinnacle restaurant, flowers in our stateroom, swans and rose petals on our bed and a beautiful wedding album with our certificate, photos and mementos of the event. A magical night! Port excursions. We did a couple our ship excursions and 2 of our own. All were enjoyable (we were first timers to the South Pacific), even though the humidity was quite unbearable. I can recommend Ricky's Tours in Hilo, Hawaii. We met some wonderful people and thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. We would gladly go again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We had already been on the Volendam with HAL and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and this cruise was visiting the South Pacific and Hawaii. We were on board 16 nights Sydney to Honolulu we felt this was long enough for us and it was. ... Read More
We had already been on the Volendam with HAL and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and this cruise was visiting the South Pacific and Hawaii. We were on board 16 nights Sydney to Honolulu we felt this was long enough for us and it was. The entertainment was far better than on the Volendam we enjoy the evening entertainment in the Vista Lounge and the guest speakers in the day were all very interesting. We enjoyed our evening meals in the main dining room and the Staff did everything possible to serve us well. We chose a table for 6/8 which meant we sat with different couples each night. Therefore we met some lovely people from Canada America and Australia. We also enjoyed our breakfast and lunch in the Lido where the Staff were very helpful and we met lots of lovely people there also. In fact we met a lovely couple from Australia we had met on Volendam two years previous what a coincidence. The places we visited were very beautiful the small island of Davuni in Fiji. Our cabin had a balcony on level 5, it was great and we were looked after very well by our cabin boy. We only have a couple of things which we were not happy with. One was the cost of the Wifi and the fact that it was of very poor quality. The other thing was at the end of our cruise we needed the reception to call the company we had booked our transfer to the hotel in Honolulu with to confirm the time we would be disembarking the ship but they said they could not do it as we had not booked it through them, we had no phone so unfortunately we waited for an hour in the hot sun outside the cruise terminal and our transport did not turn up so we had to pay for another taxi and lost the Money we had already paid but I suppose this was a minor problem. We also contacted the chesty thing in the last couple of days on the ship which in fact turned out to be Whooping Cough which was confirmed by blood test by our local GP and we are still coughing now after 7 weeks. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
After several great HAL cruises we were surprised to find this one to be so disappointing. It’s clear that ongoing cutbacks are the order of the day now with HAL, along with a corresponding reduction in customer service. Starting with ... Read More
After several great HAL cruises we were surprised to find this one to be so disappointing. It’s clear that ongoing cutbacks are the order of the day now with HAL, along with a corresponding reduction in customer service. Starting with the positive, embarkation was easy as so many passengers were staying on from the NZ cruise. However, we weren’t warned that once on board new passengers weren’t permitted to go off the ship again. No reason was given for this which seemed odd as the other passengers were free to come and go all day. We were pleased to see there was a Mariners lunch in the dining room – one of the few HAL traditions still surviving. We had a verandah cabin which was an adequate size with plenty of storage. However, it was quite shabby with peeling wallpaper, old furniture with the varnish worn right off the table and the cane unravelling off the balcony chairs. Also, a piece of trim had come off the desk and never been repaired leaving exposed bare chipboard. HAL styles itself as 5 star – well not with these cabins. We’ve had 2 star hotel rooms in better condition. For the first time, we found the bed uncomfortable. We’ve always loved HAL beds but this one was well ready for replacement with a hard ridge down the middle and sagging to the sides. I kept waking with sore shoulders from bracing when the ship rolled to stop sliding to the edge. The general condition of the ship was also poor. There was excessive engine noise at the back of the dining room to the point that you could hardly hear your dinner companions. Some parts of the dining room and other select areas of the ship were permanently very cold. Meanwhile in the Lido, there was water dripping from the ceiling throughout the cruise as well as rust apparent in some place. Our stewards were fine but we couldn’t say the same for the Front Desk and other staff. Many people were having issues on the cruise but the response was generally a denial of the problem followed by a statement that they couldn’t do anything about it. We were travelling with a group of people who had various problems. Our toilet malfunctioned on and off during the cruise, with a minor flood one evening that fortunately was taken care of. There were similar toilet malfunctions all over the ship with some out of service in the public areas. Another cabin had inadequate air-conditioning at night for nearly the whole cruise. After several days of denying there was a problem, the desk accepted there was but said nothing could be done. A request for a fan was refused as all the fans had already been given out because lots of other cabins had the same problem. After escalating the issue, a fan was finally produced but the measly $200 OBC in compensation offered by Seattle for sailing in the tropics with inadequate airconditioning for two weeks was insulting. We heard similar stories from other passengers. One couple in a noisy cabin with bad vibration told us about the run around they got each time they talked to the Front Desk. In a hotel, you’d just check out and move to another one but at sea the cruise lines know that you’re trapped and have no choice but to stay on in an unsatisfactory cabin. It was the same when someone’s headphones were damaged after being removed from an iPad. The Front Desk said there was no proof it was the stewards. Well, who else removed them and left them coiled on top? Nobody else had access to the cabin. I guess the stonewalling had the desired effect as you got to the point where it became too unpleasant to report problems when you just want to relax and enjoy yourself. We’ve always thought HAL had the best food but not so much any longer. The food was generally OK but standards have declined. Often the food had too much fat, salt or sugar. With the concerns about growing obesity, it’s time the cruise lines started serving more healthy options. For instance, hardly any vegetables were served with main dishes. There was definitely a reduction in quality with poorer cuts of meat being served. A pork chop is now a tough shoulder chop rather a than a loin chop and we were startled to find that a main dish of a shrimp salad contained just two shrimp. When we queried this we were told that was the how dish came! We ate once in the Pinnacle Grill and enjoyed our meal. However, when ordering the cheese plate instead of dessert, it was disappointing to be presented with the same plate with three miniscule pieces of cheese that’s served in the dining room. When you’re paying a hefty surcharge for the top restaurant on the ship you expect to get more than standard food from the dining room. The food in the Lido was generally good with the best being the Asian station, the pasta bar and particularly the salad bar which is excellent. However, Lido opening times are very limited and although advertised as closing at 2pm we often found stations running out of food and closing just after 1.30 pm. Dive In’s burgers and fries were great as usual. The free ice-cream was very welcome but the desserts were mostly the same very sweet items day after day. We were concerned there were no staff encouraging people to use the hand sanitisers so it was no surprise that we both got the bad chest complaint that everyone had. You could hear the hacking cough all over the ship and I still have it three weeks later. This was a cruise with few ports and lots of sea days. However, the entertainment offered was woefully inadequate. Beside the classical music in the Explorers Lounge there was little other music in the evenings. The Piano bar was popular but always full and the BB KIngs are way too loud to listen to in comfort. Dancing to music in the Crows Nest appears to be a thing of the past and no one was tempted by that dark hole called the Northern Lights. The shows were mostly of medicore quality with the exception of the marvellous and energetic Patrick McMahon. There were no special events - no BBQs or poolsie parties, no sailaway parties, no dessert extravaganza, no sporting competitions, etc, etc. We were looking forward to the Crossing the Equator event, remembering entertaining shows staged in the past. There was nothing like that. Instead guests were invited to jump in the aft pool in front of a poorly dressed King Neptune and get out again. There was hardly any participation by the officers, no presentation of crew pollywogs and their crimes, no amusing speeches or antics. We didn’t know if this was policy or if Jeremy Whitehead, the Cruise Director, just couldn’t be bothered organising a proper event. We suspect the latter as his efforts were pretty poor throughout the cruise. There were queues of people for the computer classes and Trivia was very popular as something (anything) to pass the time. Even then, the timing was absurd with Trivia being cleverly scheduled at 1pm and 7pm to clash with lunch and dinner. Even Food Trivia was held at 3pm to clash with afternoon tea. Not that the teas are the special occasions they used to be. No longer in the dining room, they’re now served in the limited quarters of the Ocean Bar so if you don’t get there very early, you miss out. And for the first time, I was refused the option of a fruit or herbal tea. There was just one tea poured – no choice -and not everyone drinks Indian tea. I was told this was a directive from Seattle which seemed inexplicable considering fruit teas are served in the Lido. And the wonderful Indonesian and Royal Dutch teas are also gone. It seems Seattle is determined to get rid of everything that guests used to enjoy. Back to the positive, we appreciated Happy Hour with the extra drink for $2 and the canapes. The laundry package is still good value although friends had two items of clothing damaged. Needless to say, once again, the ship refused to accept any responsibility. We were pleased to find that the Noordam still has a proper library and Explorations café on the Promenade deck. This area was very popular and always full of people. We also love the wrap around promenade decks on the older ships and regret the news that they are being reduced on the new ships. We enjoyed many aspects of the cruise but in retrospect, with so few port days, it was mostly plain boring and very disappointing. No doubt the cutbacks are set to continue with little thought for what guests actually want. HAL is clearly not interested in updating its fleet of poorly maintained, older ships, and fighting the Front Desk to be heard is not our idea of fun while on holiday. So, after many years of great cruises, we intend to go back to land-based vacations. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Holland America obviously don't read these reviews otherwise things would have improved by now - or perhaps they just don't care! My friend and I boarded the Noordam in Sydney and I was very much looking forward to the cruise ... Read More
Holland America obviously don't read these reviews otherwise things would have improved by now - or perhaps they just don't care! My friend and I boarded the Noordam in Sydney and I was very much looking forward to the cruise experience - boy was I disappointed! The ship looks very elegant from the outside but inside it looks like it was decorated by a retired Dutch museum curator - who wants to look at antiques in glass cases as you sail across the tropical blue Pacific? The decor generally is dark, heavy and outdated, and the air conditioning very patchy. It is good to be able to walk continuously around the deck, but It is impossible to do laps in either of the pools which look like they belong in Disneyland, with massive concrete leaping dolphins and Neptune's chairs.. I was VERY disappointed by the lack of interesting entertainment. The priority of the company seems to be to flog as much as they can - art works, jewellery, beauty treatments, exercise activities, the casino etc. Many 'talks' were just thinly veiled attempts to sell, sell, sell and these 'talks' often had the prime time slots while genuine talks or activities (eg. trivia) were on a 9am. 1pm. or 7pm. There was no one looking after the library and solo card players, scrabble players etc. had to make contact with like-minded people by writing their name and cabin number on a list on the unmanned library desk so they could find a partner. Films were shown in a ridiculously small and inappropriate room (at a time when the theatre was empty!) where the front row seats were higher than the ones behind - meaning the people in the back rows couldn't see properly - plenty of frayed tempers. We mainly ate dinner in the dining room where we met some very nice, interesting people and generally the food was fairly good but, for my taste, the chefs use far too much salt. Generally on the Noordam the staff were very good (I can't say the same for the Veendam). My friend who has traveled with Holland America several times before said she very much noticed the falling standards and felt embarrassed. To add insult to injury about 80% of the passengers came down sometime during the 3 weeks with an extremely serious upper respiratory tract viral infection that was apparently bought onto the ship in Auckland - not a mention was made of it by management, yet all hell breaks lose when Nora virus breaks out! I can tell you the 1 ply tissues they give us were totally useless - I'd rather have decent tissues and forget the cutesy towel animals on the bed every night (think of the extra wasted time and washing these create!). Ten days later we boarded the Veendam (I can't be bothered wasting my time doing a separate review on it) to cruise the St. Lawrence Seaway and while I thought its public rooms were more tasteful than on the Noordam, the cabin we were allocated would not have looked out of place in a backpackers' hostel - after our protests and paying an extra $US500 each we were moved to a nice balcony cabin in the stern.The philosophy of this ship is the same as the Noordam - sell, sell, sell with the added insult of disgusting service in the Lido restaurant and incredibly poor organisation of loading people on to tenders etc. Also I was not impressed with the cost of the Wifi ($US55 for 100minutes on both ships). If this is cruising with Holland America, they can keep it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary which suited our plans to see a little of New Zealand within a limited time frame. Embarkation went without a hitch and we were pleasantly surprised by our stateroom on deck 8 complete with ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary which suited our plans to see a little of New Zealand within a limited time frame. Embarkation went without a hitch and we were pleasantly surprised by our stateroom on deck 8 complete with balcony. The Noordam is a beautiful ship in all respects with comfortable lounges beautifully furnished and kept spotlessly clean by the crew who were forever tidying and cleaning throughout our 12 night cruise. Special mention to our cabin stewards who looked after us so well during the voyage. The speciality restaurant was outstanding with first class food and service and the main restaurant offered a varied menu which was sufficient to suit all tastes.I would say however that the service was in my opinion a little rushed with plates being removed from the table before all had finished their meal. The entertainment was for the most part disappointing. The resident band in BBKings were good although their time on stage was limited to 2 x 45 minute sets.It would have much better to have had one performance nightly starting after the second stage show. There was also a disco which carried on at the same time close to BBKings lounge which for the most part was deserted.!! The Crows Nest lounge was the obvious place to have this disco and would have attracted a bigger audience. The Crows Nest was undoubtedly the best lounge on the ship but was for some reason greatly underused closing at 9.30pm each evening. In fact all the entertainment and bars including the casino were closed up by midnight. The evening entertainment was in the main disappointing and would influence wether or not we would sail on this ship or indeed cruise line again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We chose this particular cruise based on our schedule and desire to see Sydney, Tasmania and New Zealand after a week on Australia's Gold Coast. The Noordam cruise was perfect for us (our 10th cruise, and first on Holland America). ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise based on our schedule and desire to see Sydney, Tasmania and New Zealand after a week on Australia's Gold Coast. The Noordam cruise was perfect for us (our 10th cruise, and first on Holland America). Embarkation at the White Bay Cruise Terminal was fairly quick. Our boarding pass showed 12:30 pm boarding for a 6:30pm embarkation. However, we arrived at 11am by taxi (AU$20 from the CBD). We were in boarding group 2, and went through security at 11:30. Remember that you can take 2 bottles of wine or champagne in your carry on luggage when boarding. We were on board at 11:50, in time for lunch. Our room was ready, and our luggage was there when we returned after lunch. Very nice. Only downside to White Bay is that there is no wi-fi in the building; odd in a city that tends to have wi-fi everywhere. They need to get with it. We selected an aft balcony cabin on deck 7, so that we were not under the Lido noisy deck or over the theater or dining rooms; made that mistake on our first cruise and never again. Our room was quiet and peaceful; in 12 days, we saw our neighbors 3 times and only heard the people in the cabins next to us and above us only once. Our room stewards Dodit and Eko were fantastic, greeted us always by name, and maintained the room in perfect condition. The room was a bit on the small side, and only one of us at a time could walk between the bed and the wall. The bathroom had a tub with shower; very nice. Lots of storage in the bathroom and throughout the room. Plenty of closet space and shelves. The room was clean and the bed was very comfortable. The climate control system was easy to use and responsive. We really enjoyed the food on the ship. I'm a vegetarian, my wife is not, and there were plenty of choices for me for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We went to the Lido Market (buffet restaurant on deck 9) for breakfast and lunch, and to the Vista Dining Room for dinner each night. We chose the flexible dining option, and only waited more than 2 minutes on the first night. We chose to sit with others at tables of 6 or 8, which allowed us to meet a wide range of cruisers from all over the world. However, we did note that the dining room Maitre' D never sat us (we're from the USA) with any of the Asians, or had them sit at our tables when we were first seated. It was explained to me by friends later that Asians don't care to socialize with "whiny, pushy Americans". I don't blame them; I actually told the Maitre D' one night not to seat us with other Americans; they tended to complain about the littlest things, forgetting that we were on an amazing cruise ship and seeing a beautiful part of the world. We enjoyed the theater productions, as well as the entertainers that were brought in. Especially Patrick McMahon, the highest energy entertainer I've ever seen. He was a blast. The BB King Blues Band was excellent; their male and female singers were great. Best of all was the piano-violin duo called Adagio. These two female musicians were incredible, and played what the cruise line called "sophisticated music". Classical, some pops, always amazing. People would stop in the hallways to listen. We really enjoyed listening to them. Cruise Director Jeremy was great, informative, and entertaining. He answered a lot of questions for us prior to each port. There were 5 Maoris on board until we got to New Zealand. They had several days to provide us with lessons in basic Maori language, and how to do the Haka war dance. A very fun group that added a lot to the cultural part of the cruise and prepared us with knowledge of their culture prior to our first port in New Zealand. I used the fitness center at least an hour a day, and attended morning "stretches" and evening "stretches" or "circuit training". Personal trainers Namik and Heather were very good leaders and kept us motivated and moving. We always book our excursions through independent tour operators via the internet before the cruise, never through the ship. We go through the reviews here and on Trip Advisor for each port. We pay about half of what the ship's costs are, and get smaller and more personalized tours. The ship always cautions you that "if you're late on our tour, we wait for you, but not if you're on a non-ship tour". It's never been an issue. All of the independent tours get you back on time; if they didn't, their reviews would show it and they would instantly lose business. We had great tours in nice comfortable smaller buses, with small groups and very knowledgeable local guides. Not being gamblers, we did not visit the casino. One very nice thing that both Australia and New Zealand have are the "iSite" visitor information centers at each port. Almost all of them had wi-fi, which was very nice for making calls and checking emails. You can also book tours at these centers. Port Arthur, Tasmania and Akaroa, New Zealand require going in by tender boat (the ship uses its large lifeboats, which hold 50-60 at a time comfortably. Both tender trips were only 12-15 minutes. There were plenty of them, but you do have to get in line early in the morning to get a tender ticket if you want to be on a tender after people that booked the ship's tours. Shuttle buses are used in:1) Port Chalmers to get into Dunedin (there is a cost, but if you book any of the tours, they pick you up at the visitor information right by the ship, so there's no additional cost to get into Dunedin, about 5 minutes away), 2) in Wellington (free bus, 15 minutes to a stop downtown), and 3) in Napier (free bus, 5 minutes to a stop at the iSite visitor center and then 2 minutes more to the aquarium). Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We always find the South Pacific to be a beautiful and very relaxing place to visit and the people are so friendly. Always glad to return to the South Pacific... wish it was closer as the flight is long. We stayed 2 nights precruise at ... Read More
We always find the South Pacific to be a beautiful and very relaxing place to visit and the people are so friendly. Always glad to return to the South Pacific... wish it was closer as the flight is long. We stayed 2 nights precruise at Ovolo Woolloomooloo hotel, very clean and quiet (on the HOHO bus line and walking distance to Circular quay and parks. We hit a heat wave in January. We did not realize that this is summer break for the Australians so there was a lot of children onboard so keep in mind if this is a concern to you. Hope the following youtubes are of help to you in your planning of the ports we visited https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLVmQFwCb0y4quUfQWyoCQsieQQ6hF6szd 1. NOUMEA, New Caledonia --took the HopOn/Off bus around -$10.pp/USD at cruiseport. Enjoyed the Market and all the different produce. Also shops by market took USD and AUD$...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eus4rvE8AJE&t=2s 2. LIFOU, New Caledonia -Melanesian experience tour... see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2doAVL7j4K0 3. PORT VILA, Vanuatu -Around the Island Safari /interesting tour -enjoyed the Iarofa Cultural village...see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGUvRreGTsQ 4. DRAVUNI ISLAND,Fiji -only 150 people on island; took boat ride around the small island/$10 USD/pp. Went for a swim in the warm waters. Enjoyed the people...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gR1fNjp-e68 5. LAUTOKA, Fiji -Took Oolala Savala island day cruise - fun -however, there was not enough seating for everyone. Water is very very shallow-hard to swim without touching coral. Be sure to use lots of sunscreen here ...see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRmByxKUn-0 ** We took South Seas Island tour on next cruise and there were better swimming conditions and enough seating for everyone on tour ...see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDoUOCRe93k 6. ILE DES PINS, New Caledonia - Pretty island. We just walked around and went for a swim...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMcFUGECrUk Feel entertainment was poor in quality except for the Explorers Lounge. Food quality has really gone down on HAL in last few years. We got off Noordam and got on RC Voyager of Seas the same day for our back to back cruise and we really saw the difference in quality of foods. Service was good on HAL. Found we could use USD$ and AUD$ at all ports. Definitely recommend a South Pacific cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
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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