8 Sydney (Australia) to Transpacific Holland America Noordam Cruise Reviews

This was our 33rd cruise and our fifth time on HAL. We chose this itinerary as a means to return to North America after a long adventure in Australia. First the things we liked: The BB King All Star Band was terrific every time they ... Read More
This was our 33rd cruise and our fifth time on HAL. We chose this itinerary as a means to return to North America after a long adventure in Australia. First the things we liked: The BB King All Star Band was terrific every time they performed, playing excellent cover versions of classic pop, soul and funk songs The BB King club was a great place to relax and dance. Overall the food was good enough. HAL has the same dishes on all of their ships, the variety is good and the quality is good enough. Generally the service all over the ship was quite good. Unfortunately the ship itself was old and the interior design was dated, unpleasant and downright ugly. This was a shock to us as we have found other HAL ships to be attractive. But the Noordam was like a bad cheap hotel with almost no pleasing public spaces. The Noordam is in desperate need of a complete make-over. There were many sea days and unfortunately the activities on board were very down market. There was only one lecturer who was mediocre, leaning on video content from other sources. Otherwise just silly games and activities aimed at upsales like gem displays and beverage tastings. So we were quite bored and had to lean on the hobbies we brought on board. Shortly after leaving Sydney, the ship began to run out of all sorts of beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. At one point there was almost no beer available. Lots of passengers were commenting about it. I got fed up and wrote a letter to the Hotel Manager which resulted in a flurry of responses, including a face-to-face meeting with the Assistant Beverage Manager. He thanked me for my letter and explained that all of the items were indeed on board but the staff just failed to go get them from their sources. He promised that they would do better. But then the next morning when the room service waiter brought our breakfast juice and coffee, he apologized that the ship was out of orange juice. Of course there was plenty of OJ on board, just not in the room service kitchen. Crazy. I was pleasantly surprised by the very low price of this cruise, but then found out the truth in the cliche "You get what you pay for." This was just a budget cruise with the quality that one usually finds with low-cost budget products. We will probably return to HAL, but probably not to the Noordam. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruises from Sydney to Honolulu as we wanted to visit the islands and Hawaii. also to try out HAL for first time, we have done 27 other cruises mainly on Princess but also on Cunard, P&O, Celebrity, Carnival. Embarkation ... Read More
We chose this cruises from Sydney to Honolulu as we wanted to visit the islands and Hawaii. also to try out HAL for first time, we have done 27 other cruises mainly on Princess but also on Cunard, P&O, Celebrity, Carnival. Embarkation was ok. Had VD verandah cabin, aft near elevators, ok with cabin. Bed fine, settee a little hard. Shower ok. Ecko our steward was fine. Had various meals in MDR and Lido, all poor, mdr meals for dinner were poorly presented and poor quality ingredients, i.e. tough meat and fish, hardly any veggies. Worse food on any ship I have been on. Little assistance given to me as a Celiac, although I advised HAL well before cruise. Not once did the head waiter speak to us re food, service at our table. Only time we saw officers was in pinnacle bar having their drinks before dining in pinnacle restaurant, they don't eat in the mdr !! The Captain did not even appear at the gala night cocktail pary and I never saw him. Entertainment was ok. I was not impressed with our first taste of HAL and will not return. Overated. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
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
We decided to take a slow and indulgent route back to Canada from Australia and this cruise seemed perfect...and in general it was. Embarkation was quick and easy and the crew very welcoming. The ports were excellent with a great mix of ... Read More
We decided to take a slow and indulgent route back to Canada from Australia and this cruise seemed perfect...and in general it was. Embarkation was quick and easy and the crew very welcoming. The ports were excellent with a great mix of culture thrown in for good measure. The dining experience was very good, thanks mainly to 2 very attentive waiters and a section manager who really seemed committed to ensuring the best service for his passengers. The ship was good too with a fair mix of things to do in the evening...not always to our taste, but you can't please everybody. Without doubt the staff, as is usual for many cruise lines, are the stars of the show, making our time on board a very relaxing experience...until we went back to our cabin each night. As we readied ourselves for bed we would wonder what time the noise would begin in the morning For some reason HAL decided to upgrade us from the large inside we'd chosen at booking to an obstructed outside, despite us requesting 'no upgrades'. Most mornings we were woken by either Deck Hands noisily rearranging furniture, engineers carrying out maintenance on the lifeboat or gear outside our window, or others readying the lifeboat for tender duty. Yes, I appreciate that all these things have to happen, but at 6am in the morning it's not funny...and precisely why we chose an inside cabin and requested 'no upgrade'. We complained at reception, but I try to be polite and respectful and probably didn't make enough fuss. We were told there was no alternative cabin available...but strangely the following day another couple who were being quite loud and angry were attended by a manager and got moved. Oh well, maybe I need to attend 'assertiveness training'. I'm glad we did the trip and we did have a great time, but the cabin situation did spoil it somewhat. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This was my celebration cruise for my retirement and it was the perfect way to celebrate! We were upgraded to a Neptune Suite upon embarkation and everything from there was amazing! The food was excellent and, even though we ran into ... Read More
This was my celebration cruise for my retirement and it was the perfect way to celebrate! We were upgraded to a Neptune Suite upon embarkation and everything from there was amazing! The food was excellent and, even though we ran into some bad weather along the way, the captain did a great job of keeping us out of the worst of it. Plenty to do during time at sea and the islands we visited were gorgeous. Truly the trip of a lifetime! The only complaint would be the cabin steward and I would have expected a much higher level of service for Neptune Suites. He paid no attention to details and we never got clean robes or beach towels unless we specifically asked. You would not want to use the same robe for 24 days at home and these should be changed out weekly, at the very least. Often our cabin was not cleaned until the afternoon, even though we had requested service for earlier so that we could feel free to nap in the afternoon if we wished. Otherwise, the entertainment was good, not spectacular, but enjoyable. The music was tailored to a bit older crowd, which was disappointing, but we managed to find plenty to do to keep us busy throughout the entire time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We selected this cruise to see New Zealand, particularly Auckland, for the first time and to return to the USA via a transition cruise across the Pacific from Sydney to Vancouver. Our first impression was not too good as Noordam ... Read More
We selected this cruise to see New Zealand, particularly Auckland, for the first time and to return to the USA via a transition cruise across the Pacific from Sydney to Vancouver. Our first impression was not too good as Noordam obviously needs a refit with dated and dirty passageway decoration and graffiti on our balcony door glass.The air conditioning system is of the old design which will not shut off and is extremely annoying. On more modern ships the air cuts off when the balcony door is left open so you can breath real air! The HAL maintenance people managed to fit a part incorrectly and we were stranded in Napier for 2 days which caused the Auckland and Bay of Islands stops to be cancelled! HAL would not organize a coach to take interested passengers on a day visit to Auckland. Compensation offered was totally inadequate at $100 per passenger plus 20% discount on a future cruise within 12 months.HAL to date have refused to rectify this - will be talking to my attorney. A very high percentage of the passengers and some crew became seriously ill and I developed bronchitis which is still being treated. The Noordam is simply a germ machine. We departed healthy and both returned home seriously ill. Normal hand sanitation practices were being promoted but I am convinced that the closed system air conditioning is and was the culprit - circulating germs around the ship. With 2000 passengers the air system should be sanitised every week and the cabin filters changed. HAL should employ health experts for a full independent investigation in the interests of public safety. Cabin, restaurant and bar staff were excellent and most of the food a reasonable standard with the exception of some steak and particularly lamb which was very tough. We will not cruise with HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This cruise was on our "bucket list!" The ports in New Zealand and Australia that we did visit were good. We did run into a mechanical problem and were not able to sail to Auckland or Bay of Islands. This was unfortunate, but ... Read More
This cruise was on our "bucket list!" The ports in New Zealand and Australia that we did visit were good. We did run into a mechanical problem and were not able to sail to Auckland or Bay of Islands. This was unfortunate, but these things happen and I feel we were fairly compensated for the delay. We did spend an extra day in Napier and everything that could be done was done to make our extra day enjoyable. The trans-Pacific repositioning portion of the cruise was hampered by some bad weather and outrunning a couple of storms. We had three or four ports where there were only beaches to enjoy and I am not a beach person. I am a "seasoned" cruiser and found the food had deteriorated in both selection and quality since our last cruise a year ago. The cutbacks being made are beginning to really show! Have you ever heard of macaroni being served as an entree? The servers were run off their feet and the food was "warm" and not "hot" when it arrived at our table. The Indonesian and Phillipine staff continue to amaze me with their smiles and desire to help you. Entertainment was - for the most part - very good. The cruise director, Carlos, was exceptional. Unfortunately, the Captain was visible to passengers only when it was essential. Unfortunately, this was far from the best cruise we have taken with Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Bucket list cruise including Australia and New Zealand. We arrived in Sydney a week early so we could explore a bit of Australia before the cruise and we truly enjoyed every day. We spent most of our time in Sydney, but did take a train to ... Read More
Bucket list cruise including Australia and New Zealand. We arrived in Sydney a week early so we could explore a bit of Australia before the cruise and we truly enjoyed every day. We spent most of our time in Sydney, but did take a train to The Blue Mountains to visit friends who live in that beautiful area. Our hotel was on Darling Harbour (PARKROYAL Darling Harbour....Club room was quite nice and the Club Room was great for food, beverages all day long) and we certainly were glad we chose that area as it was convenient walking distance to so many places. We boarded the Noordam in Sydney for our 14-15 day cruise around New Zealand and what a beautiful cruise it was!! The weather was perfect and the views were amazing We booked a lot of independent tours in NZ and each and every licensed tour guide was professional and we had such great tours of this beautiful country!. Although we have cruised on HAL before, this was our first experience on the Noordam and that class of ship, we've always had the larger, newer ships. All in all, the Noordam was in good condition and the Signature Suite we booked was well worth the cost because this was a lengthy trans-pacific repositioning cruise. After our New Zealand portion we returned to Sydney for the day and then embarked on the Island hopping to Vancouver, Canada. Honestly, some of the islands were simply not that interesting at all, but we did have some good experiences. Of course, Hawaii was delightful but by then, we had had enough of shipboard life and wished we had chosen to disembark in Honolulu as quite a few others had chosen that option. The food onboard the Noordam was quite good overall, the entertainment was better than we expected but the piano bar was disappointing. A big disappointment was the size of the TV and variety of movies offered..we are spoiled with flat screens on the Eurodam and Niew Amsterdam) We also enjoy going to a "theater" for movies and this ship doesn't have a theater, movies are shown in the BB King Blues theater, so seating is less than ideal but certainly adequate. Several of the lecturers were excellent! Repositioning cruises in general don't have a big variety of activities but we did enjoy the trivia, the pool, the gym, the cooking shows ETAL. I wish there had been more to do that wasn't a sales pitch but that's so true of all the midrange cruise lines that I can't fault HAL alone...it's a trend we'd love to see end . As usual, the service on Holland America was exceptional. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
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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