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12 Vancouver to South Pacific Cruise Reviews

Our itinerary: 26-day Vancouver to Sydney, Oct. 13 to Nov. 9, 2019 We visited three ports in Hawaii, one in American Samoa, three in Fiji and three in New Caledonia. We explored Van Dusen Botanic Garden in Vancouver before the ... Read More
Our itinerary: 26-day Vancouver to Sydney, Oct. 13 to Nov. 9, 2019 We visited three ports in Hawaii, one in American Samoa, three in Fiji and three in New Caledonia. We explored Van Dusen Botanic Garden in Vancouver before the cruise. The gardens were gorgeous in mid-October and their were few people, giving us quiet time in many areas. There were still lots of flowers blooming with the added beauty of leaves changing color. Highly recommended. Being 4-star, we breezed right through embarkation. We chose the last group for disembarkation, got off the ship about 9:45 a.m. and waited in a very long taxi line to get a ride to our motel. I recommend you plan on 45 minutes to get a taxi if your ship disembarks at White Bay Cruise Terminal. The taxi's were there, they kept coming, but there was a long line of cruisers needing rides. We spent 4 days in Sydney before flying back to the US. The Noordam had just come out of a two-week dry dock. She had new carpet in the common areas, new flat screen TVs in the staterooms and seemed fresh and clean. I heard that the higher-class staterooms and suites had more updates, but our cabin, 4072, a partially-obstructed on Deck 4, didn't have any other updates except the TV. A slight problem was that the thermostat was a little off. On the same setting of the control, sometimes it was too hot, sometimes too cold. If we moved the dial slightly, the temperature adjusted to normal, so it was no big deal. Sometimes a worker would be outside the window working on the equipment out there; just beware if you have the curtain open. New friends had a room down the hall, 4092, and outside their window were the tenders used in getting to shore. They said that when the ship anchored at tender ports, it was noisy early in the mornings as the lifeboats were lowered to the sea. Speaking of the TV, there were numerous movies available on demand with enough variety to please anyone's taste. There were so many movies that you could probably spend all your time in the stateroom watching movies and not see them all, even on a 26-day cruise. In a change from all of our other cruises, we ate most of our dinners in the Lido instead of the dining room. It was nice to get in and get out in about 30 minutes in the Lido instead of the two-hour meal in the dining room. I missed the variety of the dining room after a while, though, and so went back ocassionally. Both had good food. Advantages of eating in the Lido for dinner: we didn't gain as much weight and our ankles didn't swell up like they have on most cruises. I read the food is more salted in the main dining room which may be the reason for swollen ankles. We ate breakfast in the Lido always. There was plenty of variety and it was all good. Lunches were either in the Lido, Taco Bar or Dive In, all were good. There were some good entertainers and some great entertainers on the Main Stage, from comedians to singers to mind reading/mystic stuff, something for everyone. There were two interesting lecture series, one speaker talked about astronomy, one about history of the South Pacific area. On the trip over from Vancouver to Honolulu, passengers could learn the hula and those that did put on a show in the Main Stage before we docked in Hawaii. America's Test Kitchen did regular demos, a duo of pianists entertained at Billboard Online (fun!), BB King's was rocking most nights and there were regular performances of classical music at Lincoln Center Stage. I don't think the Northern Lights was used much. I only saw people there once, when we participated in a ship's Bar Crawl one night. All the HAL ships have a crew of singers and dancers. I typically skip those shows on the Main Stage. Not this trip! After their first show, when everyone said how much they enjoyed the show, I gave it a try. They really are the best singers and dancers I've seen of all troupes in the HAL fleet. Same with the crew shows, the Indonesian and the Filipino Crew shows were outstanding! Don't miss them. There were bingo games. I played once. We played trivia twice a day on sea days and once on port days. Pins to the winning teams had either South Pacific or Australia/New Zealand themes. Our team won some of each, enough that my DH and I had extras to give away to our friends at the Crow's Nest Happy Hour. Our only complaint on the whole cruise was that Trivia at Billboard Onboard and Happy Hour in the Crow's Nest were at the same time. We had to sacrifice and only have a half-hour happy hour after rushing to the Crow's Nest after Trivia. (Life is so hard!) Service was great everywhere. Our room attendants couldn't have done a better job and we found some favorite bartenders and Lido servers. Captain John Scott had the passenger's best interest in mind and showed it when we had to make two detours to get ill passengers to medical care on shore. I had some favorite ports, and enjoyed all the ports we stopped at. We had never been to the South Pacific and liked it immensely. Shore Excursion choices from HAL were plentiful, and if those didn't please you, there were plenty of options on shore on your own. The 14-hour flight home from Sydney to Colorado was a bear. For that reason, I'm not certain I would do it again. Definitly enjoyed the cruise though! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose to do this 38 day cruise from Vancouver to Auckland because it we had wanted to cross the Pacific and also visit New Zealand. We have cruised on Noordam about 5 times so we’re aware she is in need of refurbishment and ... Read More
We chose to do this 38 day cruise from Vancouver to Auckland because it we had wanted to cross the Pacific and also visit New Zealand. We have cruised on Noordam about 5 times so we’re aware she is in need of refurbishment and although parts were tired the ambience mostly made up for this. What we didn’t expect was the amount of infections throughout the ship. It was obvious from any of the communal areas that chest infections were rife. My husband caught it 5 days out from Vancouver, then I caught it, folks nearby at dinner had repeated visits to the Medical Centre and found many others there the same, some being confined to their cabins. 6 weeks on my husband is still coughing it is a virulent bug and one wonders what action is taken on board to ensure infection is not spread. On the good side the staff are mostly cheerful, friendly and go above and beyond to give passengers a great cruise. Sadly this time it was marred for us Shore excisions were overpriced and shuttle buses expensive and in the case of Samoa non existent! Entertainment by Ship’s singers and dancers is not nearly as professional as on previous cruises and very loud. We may be seniors but we are not deaf! Disembarkation was well organised. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
The Noordam is badly needing refurbished in certain areas. Rust on balconies, grubby corridors. It looks a bit tired and dated. The sitting area immediately outside the Lincoln centre really needs attention. The windows are a mess with all ... Read More
The Noordam is badly needing refurbished in certain areas. Rust on balconies, grubby corridors. It looks a bit tired and dated. The sitting area immediately outside the Lincoln centre really needs attention. The windows are a mess with all the botched efforts to patch up seals. The crew is fantastic. Nothing is too much trouble. Certain things niggled with regard to food. They twice ran out of cornflakes and once out of Special K.. There was melon until it was coming out of your ears. I thought that we would have had pineapple or kiwi or mango but that was very seldom. Often the food could have been warmer. The Lido is just a very big and noisy cafeteria but saying that there was plenty of choice. The service in the dining room was superb.Something which we found annoying was the never ending rubbish piped music everywhere on the ship, right from very early morning in the Lido. We were fed up with it. The artistes, musicians and singers in both the BB KINGS and LINCOLN CENTRE were absolutely superb. The BBC earth shown in Vista lounge and accompanied by the ships musicians was fantastic. The rest of the entertainment ranged from very good to average. The cruise director Jai is a real jewel for Holland America. In my opinion he could not be bettered. The EXC excursions were very expensive and many just not worth the money. You can do it much cheaper with the tours at the quayside but bear in mind EXC tours do guarantee to get you back and the ship will wait. I understand that the ship is to be refurbished in October 2019. We enjoyed our cruise and would sail with Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We booked a signature suite on this cruise which showed on the HAL website as being a newly refurbished suite with new couch and chairs,marble top counters ,big screen TV on the wall and bright fresh interior but what we actually got when ... Read More
We booked a signature suite on this cruise which showed on the HAL website as being a newly refurbished suite with new couch and chairs,marble top counters ,big screen TV on the wall and bright fresh interior but what we actually got when we came onboard is a tired old suite with marks all over the walls,an old bathroom with old grubby shower curtains, an old TV that you couldn’t make out what was on the screen due to the fuzziness on it. boy were we disappointed! They have since replaced the TV but have stuck paper serviettes under it for whatever reason which looks terrible but at least we have a clearer picture, . We have complained to the customer relations desk onboard who were really disinterested and said we should have read the fine print that says the photos of the cabin are not necessarily representing the actual cabin!!!! That is false advertising as ok the layout may vary or the colour scheme but not when the photos are actually under the Noordam and showing a new cabin and not a dinghy old cabin that is desperate to be refurbished. A number of suite passengers have complained as it is all suites and cabins that have not been fefurbished, The Noordam overall throughout the vessel is very worn with old grubby carpets throughout the dining rooms,stairwells and quite a bit of the public rooms. Around the covered pool area they have set up long trestle tables with plastic chairs which has made the whole area overcrowded and very tacky looking. The room service has delivered us cold toast and cold water for tea so now on day 4 we have despaired with room service and will have to tackle the throngs of people in the Lido. We are 4 star mariners and are very dissatisfied with what is happening with HAL and the standard of the ship as it once was a fantastic line to sail with. On a positive note the Staff are always a pleasure but with the cutbacks on staff they are working twice as hard and consequently the tables in the pool area are not being cleared and no delivery of water or tea and coffee any more but of course you can still purchase a beer because that creates revenue. If you are booking the Noordam for travel before I understand November 2019 just bear in mind you are not getting the cabin as shown in the pictures or on the website As there are a lot of disgruntled passengers onboard. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
My wife and I spent 42 days aboard the Noordam, a medium size cruiseship of Holland America Line for about 2000 passengers from Sept. 24 to Nov. 6, 2017. This was just trhe right time for us with pleasant temperatures throughout our ... Read More
My wife and I spent 42 days aboard the Noordam, a medium size cruiseship of Holland America Line for about 2000 passengers from Sept. 24 to Nov. 6, 2017. This was just trhe right time for us with pleasant temperatures throughout our cruise. Moderate autumn weather along the Canadian und US West Coast and the first sea days on our way to the Hawaiian islands, getting warmer and more sunny by the day, hot and more trpical from Hawaii to Fidji and New Caledonia and moderate again along the Australian East Coast, Tasmania and New Zealand. The Noordam is an older (built in 2006) but reasonably comfortable cruiseship with average size staterooms, many with balcony. The ship requires major renovation and refurbishing both at the ship level primarily with respect to the air condition and the sewage system as well as the cabins with often old furniture and worn out carpeting. What we particularly liked during our cruise was the first class service of all of the ship`s staff. Everybody who we met exceeded our high expectations. This relates particularly to the very friendly and helpful room stewards as well as the waiters and their assistants in the various restaurants and bars. The quality and selections of the food were generally good at the buffets on deck nine and excellent during dinner in the main dining rooms on decks two and three including lobster and filet mignon at no extra cost on special occasions i. their gala nights of which they had seven during our cruise. Another great service was their laundry service. We were charged US $ 248 for this service for the entire cruise and had all our laundry done within one day. This service was absolutely super and reliable. But there were also issues which we didn`t like i.e the extremely high charge for WiFi (US $ 0,75 per minute!!), no free drinking water in the cabin (roughly US $ 4.50 for 1.5 litres), very steep prices for shore excursions as well as limited time in most ports. While the Noordam offers excellent shore excursions at higher prices there are however plenty of opportunities to book personal and private tours at bargain prices in most ports in particular in New Zealand where we had longer times ashore. All in all we had a fun cruise and enjoyed our time on the Noordam. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We only took this cruise as our relatives from England had booked it and we wanted to surprise them. we saw our room stewart twice. I accidently got locked out of our room one morning and no one was in the hall for over an hour to let me ... Read More
We only took this cruise as our relatives from England had booked it and we wanted to surprise them. we saw our room stewart twice. I accidently got locked out of our room one morning and no one was in the hall for over an hour to let me in. Our phone was out of service one night I was with my 82 year old mother and she has health issues so we needed a phone I went to the front desk around 5 pm to tell them and it was still not fixed the next morning. I went to the front desk again to complain and was told they did not know why it had been fixed the previous night that afternoon when the electrician came up to fix it he said no one had reported it, a large majority of the staff did not know how to answer almost every question we asked and the front desk women were extremely rude. We had paid for an extended balcony and were not told that we were directly under the outside pool deck needless to say almost every night we did not sleep due to the extremely loud parties that went on, on the pool deck. When we settled our bill we had to prove we did not drink the bottled water in our cabin the stewart says we did, its not the price but the fact that he argued with us to a point of extreme rudeness. We always cruise on Princess at least twice a year and were extremely disappointed with the cruise and will never recommend this line to any one. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
1. Loved the ship itself. 2. Crew Excellent. 3. Food extremely disappointing. Considering the French have a reputation for fine food, the food was boring, often tasteless unless it was the soup which was always too salty and seemed ... Read More
1. Loved the ship itself. 2. Crew Excellent. 3. Food extremely disappointing. Considering the French have a reputation for fine food, the food was boring, often tasteless unless it was the soup which was always too salty and seemed to be lack variety 4. Itinerary and excursions terrific. We went to places in Polynesia that were absolutely magic. The excursion staff were exceptional in providing both the background to the area and the current activities. Their enthusiasm was infectious. 5. WIFI was pathetic. Constantly dropping out. I had to have a conversation with an Australian company at 10pm when I was alone at reception. A 2 minute conversation took half an hour. At times there were 8 -10 people at reception trying to get a connection. WIFI should be available in the cabin and at speeds equal to Seabourn and Silversea. Ponant need to recognise that many people still need to be connected to the outside world. 6. Post cruise arrangements should have been better Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We very much wanted to see French Polynesia. As we live in the Vancouver area we were thrilled to find a cruise that embarked from our home port and took us first to the Hawaiian Islands and then down to the French Polynesian Islands. ... Read More
We very much wanted to see French Polynesia. As we live in the Vancouver area we were thrilled to find a cruise that embarked from our home port and took us first to the Hawaiian Islands and then down to the French Polynesian Islands. Embarkation was a breeze - the entire process took less than 15 minutes. We were allowed into our cabin right away. The Deck 7 forward cabin, while a wee bit dated, was great. It was quite large (important for a 23 day cruise) and everything worked perfectly. Our room attendant was excellent! The Pacific Princess is a very small cruise ship - compared to all other ships we've been on over the years. It only takes a maximum of 680 passengers. Over the course of a long voyage, you really do get to know a large percentage of your fellow travelers. We can honestly say that the small ship did not become claustrophobic - despite being onboard for over 3 weeks. The ship's interior spaces are quite elegant and take you back to an earlier era of cruising. Wood, brass, and other classic decorating touches are found throughout the ship. We are not fans of the crazy-coloured loud decorating style found on many ships these days. On the Pacific Princess, every public space is old-world luxurious and calming. The food was great - particularly in the large common dining room (the Club Restaurant) and the speciality restaurants (Sabatini's and the Stirling Steakhouse). The Panorama Buffet was just ok for dinner - but the buffet breakfasts and the mid-afternoon treats and pastries were wonderful. The entertainment for the 23 days at sea was primarily provided by a small crew of incredibly talented and VERY hardworking singers and dancers and musicians. A few "headliner" acts were brought on-board from time to time to spice things up. We loved the entertainment...and all of the entertainment staff who did double duty throughout the cruise working every day and night to ensure that everyone had lots of fun! Speaking of the staff...on a long cruise like this, you really do get to know everyone. We can say, without exception, that every single crew member went above and beyond the call of duty to take care of us. We were treated exceptionally ...every day ...by everyone. We have been on quite a few cruises and we can say that this particular crew was uniformly exceptional. Travelling to Hawaii and Polynesia for 23 days on a small elegant cruse ship staffed by people who became our friends is a memory we will never forget. Each island we visited was extraordinary. The people we met and the excursions we took were fantastic. We swam with turtles, sharks, sting rays, and uncountable numbers of exotic colourful fish. We saw wonderful locales. And we ate amazing local foods. We were lucky too - as the weather was almost always perfect. However we did learn that it almost always rains in Hilo :) One last thing - HUGE KUDOS to Princess for how we and our fellow travellers were accommodated on the last day of the cruise. On that day we arrived early in the morning in Papeete with most of us departing Tahiti on a 11 pm flight. Princess allowed us to keep our stuff onboard and to use pretty much all of the ship's amenities right up to 9pm when the airport busses arrived. This was a real blessing and made what could have been a logistically challenging final day - an enjoyable breeze! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
My wife and I just returned from a 36 day cruises on the HAL Zandamm. This is the first time we travelled with HAL, however, we have done other trips with Celebrity, Voyages of Discovery, etc. As a general comment I would say we got value ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from a 36 day cruises on the HAL Zandamm. This is the first time we travelled with HAL, however, we have done other trips with Celebrity, Voyages of Discovery, etc. As a general comment I would say we got value for our money. The ship is kept in top notch condition and staff are polite, attentive and the meals good. The one major exception is the way they enforce their wine/alcohol policy. Most cruise lines have a similar embargo against bringing spirits aboard. However, my experience is that few attempt to enforce this realizing most people would like to have a drink in the privacy of their rooms. I have been making wine for over fifty years and enjoy discovering new brands and traveling the coast of Chile and Argentina are ideal for this. This was totally prevented by HAL. They have x-ray equipment when you go on board. You would think this was to keep hazardous items off the ship but I soon discovered it’s sole purpose is to discover wine and liquor bottles so they can confiscate them (they let you have them back the last day of your trip). Just to show that the x-ray machine had no other purpose, on the last day in port it was gone even though people continued to enter and exit the ship. Obviously the machine was not used to detect dangerous goods. They had no fear of wine because in one day everyone was leaving! Complaints about this policy brought out all kinds of ridiculous responses like ‘we need to make sure guest aren’t over indulging etc.’ This leveled at people who’s average age is in the sixties being treated like teenagers! They have no similar conscience when it comes to selling their own booze on board at three times the going price! On one occasion they even kept the bar open during a safety drill! They even sent passengers off on shore excursions to a rum distillery – Cana de Flora Corinto Nicaragua and then promptly seized all their purchased products on return to the ship. And they are not all that nice about seizures either. In Valparaiso we were told you could bring two bottles of wine on (this a so called embarkation point) I went first with my bottle but when my wife tootling along later they physically tried to take it from her. She resisted and told them to leave her alone. It shows you the length they will go to enforce this ineffective policy. It is interesting to note that new passengers who have been on the cruise less than three days can bring on wine but those who have been on much longer are prevented. The policy itself makes no real sense because you can buy a bottle of wine or liquor (albeit no name) from the bar and take it to your room. You can even take a glass to your dining table so it thwarts their real objective of forcing you to buy their $30 + wine at the table. In conclusion if you enjoy experimenting with new brands, enjoy having an occasional wine of your own choosing and cheese in your cabin or generally are offended by being treated like a second class passenger while you paid the full price, HAL is not for you.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
First off I'm a 4star mariner very loyal to HAL until now .this ship had to be the coldest ship Ive ever sailedonand .so extremely cold in the crows nest on deck 9 u needed mukluks and a parka.no control over the temperature in the ... Read More
First off I'm a 4star mariner very loyal to HAL until now .this ship had to be the coldest ship Ive ever sailedonand .so extremely cold in the crows nest on deck 9 u needed mukluks and a parka.no control over the temperature in the wajang theatre either..freezing cold.. My hsband and I were in an outside cabin and there was no "cooler"and when I asked for one I was told they would rent one for $2.00aday.after all the cruises and money spent on their cruises and the boutiques,andthe tips that was really nickel and dime as far as im concerned and when I e-mailed my travel agent about this matter,her company said they would arrange for a credit and pay for the cooler,but the front desk claimed they were never told about a credit and then saidthere were no more coolers available but several passengers saw crew wheeling coolers ondollies in the hallways.. Also several members at the front desk couldn't get their stories straight on other matters.the food wasn't up to snuff in the Lido and the main diningroom and because a shortage of staff one didn't always receive fast service in the dining roomand because the ship had "Norwalk virus" on the Alaskan part of the cruise no one could even use the salt&pepper until 3 days out of LA..very inconvenient to say the least. so I would have tobe given a very inexpensive cruise and many perks to EVER sail with HAL again..Our 2 cabin stewards were wonderful and the staff in the lounges were great,they helped make the cruise a little enjoyable.and half the ship were Aussies and they were not a happy lot.the entertainment and lectureswere wonderful.. I also broke one of my crowns on a bone in a supposedly boneless pork dish and HAL assured me they will pay the dental costs..we shall see.I,m sure many passengers will be complaining on facebook and twitter re:this cruise.. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
From embarkation to disembarkation this cruise was fun and easy. There were no hassles at all.Being a smaller ship it was easy to make friends and after 24 days you start to get to know most faces. The food was amazing and service ... Read More
From embarkation to disembarkation this cruise was fun and easy. There were no hassles at all.Being a smaller ship it was easy to make friends and after 24 days you start to get to know most faces. The food was amazing and service excellent as usual. The only thing i could complain about is the activities during the day were sparse, many people were complaining about being bored but i think that was down to the cruise director being in the job to long and having blinkers on when it came to his area of responsibility. The Vista suit stateroom we had was the best we have had so far with spa bath and extra long cabin and good size balcony.My husband got a blood infection on the first night and was looked after very well by the doctor and his team,because of there care we were able to carry on our cruise.Overall a dam good cruise and would not hesitate to recommend Holland America to anyone.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Did you notice the crowds in the Retreat? In the Mix bar? On the reserved lanai deck chairs? No, because there weren't any. The retrofitting of Rotterdam has resulted in a distinct departure for HAL, from a company serving its ... Read More
Did you notice the crowds in the Retreat? In the Mix bar? On the reserved lanai deck chairs? No, because there weren't any. The retrofitting of Rotterdam has resulted in a distinct departure for HAL, from a company serving its niche clientele (middle to upper income, mainly elderly cruisers, seeking a comfortable, laid-back, somewhat sedate cruising experience)to one trying to be all things to all men. The overamplified HAL-Cats and guitar player drove many customers away, seeking solace in quieter areas such as the Ocean Bar and the Explorer's Lounge. The irritating muzak piped to the Retreat all day did little to coax people into chairs curiously located in a paddling pool! The garish lighting, uncomfortable seating and lack of entertainment failed to attract anybody to the martini and champagne bars. The mostly reserved but largely unused deck chairs on the Lower Promenade deck prevented passengers from lower decks from enjoying the traditional view of the passing ocean, something that even we, who had a Verandah suite, usually cherish. Curious smells in many parts of the ship suggested that more attention should have been paid to maintenance rather than bizarre 'enhancements'. Initial impressions can often colour one's overall judgement. Unfortunately the disaster that characterized the embarkation process at Ballantyne Pier in Vancouver was easily surpassed by the horrendously-handled disembarkation procedures, not once but twice, at San Diego. I have never seen anything closer to a full-scale riot in my many years of cruising. Part of the blame must surely be attributed to a Cruise Director who did little to endear herself to the passengers throughout the cruise. Not everything was unsatisfactory. The itinerary was splendid, the services of cabin stewards, dining room stewards and bar stewards were exemplary. Food and service in the Lido was more than acceptable although some of the hot food was barely warm. The Ocean Bar trio were pleasant to listen to. Dinner and service in the Pinnacle Restaurant was fine. My wife and I would love to do this itinerary again at some later date but we would have very serious reservations about sailing on the Rotterdam again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010

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