Sail Date: February 2019
Not an ardent cruiser but as land tours were really expensive this was a greay way to see New Zealand. I spent 4 nights on my own in Sydney and 3 in Auckland, both great ports. I am not fond of comedians but the comic and ventriloquist ... Read More
Not an ardent cruiser but as land tours were really expensive this was a greay way to see New Zealand. I spent 4 nights on my own in Sydney and 3 in Auckland, both great ports. I am not fond of comedians but the comic and ventriloquist were hilarious. You can't top the Lincoln Center players. Met lots of people on the promenade deck-a great way to keep fit after all the delicious food. Had all breakfastsand dinners in the dining room, more civilized. Milford Sound and the trip through the fjords was worth the trip. The excursions were really good-did 3 ship and 2 private tours. All guides and drivers excellent. The visit to the Maori Marae in Tauranga was really interesting. The culture and history of New Zealand was fascinating. Crew and itinerary made for a wonderful 2 weeks,. Not sure what all the complaints are about. Be glad you can travel. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Noordam has pleasant public spaces but much of the interior seems to be from a couple of decades back. This may be what HAL passengers are looking for given the rather older demographic. Our cabin was clean but needed a complete refit. ... Read More
Noordam has pleasant public spaces but much of the interior seems to be from a couple of decades back. This may be what HAL passengers are looking for given the rather older demographic. Our cabin was clean but needed a complete refit. Bathroom was tired. Mirror, vanity and tub/shower needed replacement. Verandah railings, floor and window frames were on their last legs. Furniture and walls were old and damaged. TV was tiny and old. We read that Noordam is due for refit later this year and it’s needed. Condition of the ship was compensated by HAL’s well-earned reputation for good food, great staff and interesting itineraries. Main hope is HAL and other cruise lines understand that wifi is no longer a luxury for passengers and everyone should at least have access to a limited number of free minutes. The cruise lines that join the 21st century first will get the business. Sadly that doesn’t seem to be HAL. Read Less
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Sail Date: February 2019
Loved this cruise itinerary. All ports were fantastic. Ship is okay. Needs some updating. I will say it has great stabilizers though because we hit rough seas crossing from New Zealand to Australia and it was not bad. Holland food and ... Read More
Loved this cruise itinerary. All ports were fantastic. Ship is okay. Needs some updating. I will say it has great stabilizers though because we hit rough seas crossing from New Zealand to Australia and it was not bad. Holland food and service (except for breakfast and lunch in the dining room, even after complaining because they didn’t seem to care) was excellent. Shore excursions were all good but very expensive. Embarkation took too long (over an hour) but debarkation was a breeze - best ever. There wasn’t much to do onboard, especially on sea days. Mainly test kitchen offerings, if you like that. A couple of the entertainers were poor (ventriloquist and singer) but others were good (singers and dancers) or great (comedian, pianist). They offered a Lincoln Center Stage venue and the musicians were outstanding - that was an unexpected surprise we enjoyed. The other negative was they closed the ship stores during the last week to get it ready for a new opening (not sure why) so almost no merchandise even before closing - not good. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this crew for the itinerary, and their "J" inside cabin rooms. Much about this cruise was amazing, but a few items need work. ITINERARY - Can't complain here. The time in shore was adequate on all but Napier, and ... Read More
We chose this crew for the itinerary, and their "J" inside cabin rooms. Much about this cruise was amazing, but a few items need work. ITINERARY - Can't complain here. The time in shore was adequate on all but Napier, and I prefer a cruise that has its concentration of days at sea at the end of the cruise, so I return to work rested. SHIP - Our "J" category rooms were HUGE! This ship is scheduled for dry-dock in September, so I don't know if these rooms will remain as is. For this longer cruise length, we loved the extra room - without the extra price. In general, this ship needs an update, but obviously, Holland America already knows this. Although I found the decor dated, and a few spots were showing wear, the ship was spotless. I also think the arrangement of some of the public areas could be modernized - especially the gym and the buffet areas which would benefit from more square footage and more glass area. I would like to see the buffet area have glass along the entire front of the ship with doors directly leading to the deck, rather than locating service areas between the buffet & the lido deck. GYM - This area needs serious work. To attract the younger, more fitness-crazed generations, HAL needs modern equipment, and contemporary classes. This was also one of the few areas where you were forced to pay extra for pretty much anything worthwhile. I think HAL should try to be the first ship at sea to offer Bodypump classes - that would be a huge hit! The gym needs to remain open until at least 10:00 - 11:00 would be better. They closed at 9:00 reportedly to preserve quiet for those sleeping on the floor below. However, HAL did not have this same concern for those of us on Deck 1 whose rooms were under the BB King Lounge, which played well after 10:00 (which did not keep me up, so I doubt use of the gym after 9:00 would keep floor 9 guests awake either). Equipment in the gym was OLD! They only had 2 rowing machines - one broke on day 2 and was never repaired. And, if ANY machine should face the sea, it should be the rowing machines, which they didn't. FOOD - Amazing. Simply great. Service, quality, quantity, variety, everything was more than we could have asked for. My only complaint was the Russian Roulette for tables you played every morning in the buffet. Guests got visibly angry trying to find a table. Hopefully HAL will expand seating at their buffet when they refurbish the Noordam. SERVICE - Amazing! From the room stewards, to the dining, to the wine stewards, to the bar attendants to the front desk - these employees exude joy and positive service. How HAL keeps employees customer focused and joyful, when they live and work in such close quarters for 8 months at a time, should be the subject of a TED talk. I really admire what they have achieved. We brought a group of 30 customers for a wine focused tour. We had 3, private, wine events during our days at sea. We were BLOWN AWAY by the elegance of the service, and the expertise of their Director of Wine. Far exceeded expectations. ACTIVITIES - This needs work. Activities are uninspired. I have lots of suggestions for things HAL could offer that would modernize their cruises, without alienating their core customer base. Too long for this review. HAL: Contact me! I figure I can easily raise your per/person income by $100 by simply changing up your on-board offerings. Evening entertainment was sub-par with the exception of Daniel on the piano bar. My husband and I love to dance - especially swing. We never got the chance. The only faster paced music played in a venue with a dance floor, was the "Disco Bar" which got going at 10:30 pm. There was the BB King lounge, which offered our, slow blues music most nights. We are used to several lounges offering danceable music at times from early evening to midnight and beyond on other cruises we have taken. Really missed that. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
Loved the itinerary because we often went on shore excursions outside of the small cities we stopped at (e.g. Tauranga, Akaroa, Dunedin, Napier). We visited the larger cities on our own. New Zealand is all about the great outdoors and ... Read More
Loved the itinerary because we often went on shore excursions outside of the small cities we stopped at (e.g. Tauranga, Akaroa, Dunedin, Napier). We visited the larger cities on our own. New Zealand is all about the great outdoors and nature, not so much about small cities. The ship is a little dated and will be sent to dry dock in the Fall. I can only hope they redo the decoration and some of the facilities. The worst we had to deal with that could be prevented is the common cold going around: we both ended up getting it and we washed our hands constantly. Contrary to other ships we have sailed on before (from other cruise lines), a lot of sections in the Lido market and pool food bar area sections were available to passengers directly. I have seen people get their hands around glass to go and help themselves, I have seen one man take a bowl and then put it back on the pile. The handles for the juice/mail/yogourt fridge are calling for viruses... You get your own bread, etc, etc, etc. It is simply not acceptable to have so many areas where germs can be spread on a ship that has so many passengers and personnel. It would cost more staff to block EVERYTHING off to passengers but then the chance of passing on germs would be a lot less. Other cruise ships such as Oceania does this. Rooms are small but comfortable. Staff was great and friendly. We hated the idea of being pressured into sitting with other people in the dining room. Our Valentine's night was a disaster. We could have potentially argued, waited to get something for just the two of us maybe. Next time, we will. At least if they tried to sit people of the same age category together would help. Food was good but not great often. Too many sea days for us. The passengers were simply maybe a little too elderly or had health issues for us. Next time, we will choose a cruise ship that attracts younger and more active passengers. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise because we had not been to Australia or New Zealand and the itinerary was very attractive. Check in was somewhat chaotic. The ship was comfortable and our cabin was larger than usual. The entertainment was sometimes ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had not been to Australia or New Zealand and the itinerary was very attractive. Check in was somewhat chaotic. The ship was comfortable and our cabin was larger than usual. The entertainment was sometimes very good and at others poor. We enjoyed the shore days, the ports were all very interesting. Trips organised by the ship were very over priced and we made our own arrangements on arrival. Our main concern was that there was little or nothing to do during the sea days apart from bingo and trivia quizzes. There was no dancing, lectures, enrichment programmes, classes, craft - nothing at all. We therefore spent several of the days of our cruise sitting and reading, which is OK for a day but not for several. The food was varied and looked lovely, but was rather lacking in flavour and invariably drowned in sauce (sometimes more than one sauce on the same plate). The crew were excellent and the service, in the main, very good (there were one or two exceptions). The tendency to play loud 'background' music in public rooms even when there is no-one there was irritating, especially if people were trying to read. The charging of 15% gratuity on top of the cost of drinks as well as charging over £11 pp per day for tips is excessive. There were no laundry and ironing facilities and the only option to crumpled clothing was to pay rather a lot of money to have things ironed. I would not recommend HAL and would be unlikely to book with them again myself. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
The stewards and waiters were unfailingly, and I mean unfailingly and without exception, cheerful, polite and helpful. They were the highlight of the cruise. I am unlikely to recommend a Holland American cruise, certainly to no one ... Read More
The stewards and waiters were unfailingly, and I mean unfailingly and without exception, cheerful, polite and helpful. They were the highlight of the cruise. I am unlikely to recommend a Holland American cruise, certainly to no one in my peer group. It is not my scene, but that says more about me than Holland American! My disappointment is probably the result of nostalgia for the 5 or 6 voyages my wife and I did in the 1950s and '60s when sea travel was the usual way of travel between continents. There is a world of difference between a voyage and a cruise. A voyage then was a gracious and civilised way to travel. We travelled with a purpose, not to kill time and be entertained. Those voyages were much more enjoyable than our recent cruise, with its very contrived "entertainment". On the voyages of the '50s and '60s I found friendly people of bridge with and we had some excellent games, without the ship advertising bridge. On this cruise there were few games in spite of bridge being advertised, I had difficulty in finding a partner and in the few games I had, people were aggressive and unfriendly - not the fault of Holland America perhaps, though maybe reflection of the on-board culture. The food was good, but the coffee appalling, except the coffee purchased in the cafe, which was exorbitantly expensive. Exorbitant expense characterised everything for sold on the ship - the wine and the tours. All about 2 or 3 times the cost at the ports we visited. These costs give the impression of the cruise as a money gouging exercise by Holland American, which I am sure was not the intention. The “Noordam” purported to be a Dutch boat. Certainly, the officers were Dutch and the interior decor was Dutch, but the social culture was overwhelmingly and suffocatingly American. And the passengers were overwhelmingly American. A broader multinational mix would be preferable. When I arrived home 10 days after the cruise ended, two emails awaited my from Holland America inviting me to complete a survey and assuring we my opinion was important. Yet when I tried to complete the surveys, I found they were closed. So I don't think my opinion could be that important to Holland America! I am not one of these millennials addicted to staying in constant electronic contact reading emails every day! As a result my negative opinion is now public, instead of "for Holland America eyes only", had I been able to complete the survey. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Having cruised with a number of different lines over the years we chose our first Holland America cruise recently because of the destinations it was going to in the South Pacific. After having been on the ‘geriatric express’ that is ... Read More
Having cruised with a number of different lines over the years we chose our first Holland America cruise recently because of the destinations it was going to in the South Pacific. After having been on the ‘geriatric express’ that is Princess Cruises (because it was going o PNG) we were a little apprehensive but told that HAL appealed to the more discerning traveller wishing to ‘experience’ fine cuisine and luxury. Interesting. We quickly noted that quite a number of the patrons did seem to be from that precious, tedious class of human beings. A mix of many races and languages with a fair few Americans. Everything on board was very much geared to American tastes and interests. (We ran a little private contest to spot somebody smiling - it took 3 days.) Example: in the middle of the hot Pacific Islands there was an inordinate number trooping off to the Dining Room all decked out in suits or tuxedos and finery. As a person who has spent his whole life wearing suits I sure don’t want to put one on while on holidays in the steamy Pacific. Despite it being school holidays there was only a sprinkling of children on board and they seemed all quiet and well behaved. Cuisine - dull to bad, repetitive with some really awful/silly concoctions. Every night meat and vegetables. Tricked up cafe level food. Very limited selection and in the buffet no self-serve. Instead a ridiculous system whereby you have to lineup (something akin to Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi), state (very quickly) what you want, (having just seen it), be served and step away. The queues grew long and people became very testy. A stupid, demeaning and inefficient system. HAL seem to be trying too hard. They produced numerous attempts at various cuisines but the result was amateurish and generally overcooked. Interestingly we noticed that only about 50% of diners washed their hands when entering. We had booked a transfer to the ship via HAL. When we arrived at the pickup point for the coach, as per instructions, there was nobody there and no coach. We searched everywhere in case we had missed something. Sometime later, back at the original pickup point, a confused mini van driver arrived and asked who we were. Apparently the coach had been cancelled and we’d somehow fallen through the cracks. No apology. Eventually, days later somebody noted the ‘inconvenience’. Incidentally we could have taken a local transfer coach for a third of HAL’s charge. Which brings us to the prices on HAL. All cruise ships tend to rip you off. You’re a captive audience. HAL have the highest prices we have yet seen. Virtually everything from yoga to meditation classes involved a fee. To add insult they place a 15% service charge on their prices at purchase. We also had a few cases of wrong items appearing on our account. Then of course there’s the gratuities where the ships adds $16 per person per day to your account. HAL operates in US dollars so for Australians by the time you add on their service charge and convert to $A and include the card fee we’re paying 50%-60% more for everything. NB Most of the ship’s photos went unsold because of the high prices. In search of a positive about the ship I can quote one that happened by default. The lifts were great and there was no waiting time. This is because there was often nobody about. At times during the evening you could walk through the ship and not see anybody. We are not party animals but what the thousands of passengers were doing I don’t know. Seeking any sort of fun or enjoyment was not for them. The ship had the atmosphere of a well furnished, funeral parlour. There was a venue called BB Kings Blues Club. Probably connected to the BBK franchise in the US. Great I thought. I really like blues. The band looked the part. Their music was tight and slick but in a Michael Jackson sort of way. The music certainly was not blues. No hint of a BBK tribute, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters et al They played everything but - middle of the road elevator music, motown, rock and roll, some great jazzy r & b instrumentals but over two weeks never any blues. Seemed kind of pointless. The onboard cafe with complimentary coffee, tea and snacks which is such a nice feature of Royal Caribbean ships and somewhere pleasant to sit was in this case a multi-purpose games room, library, internet venue with coffee priced higher than downtown Sydney. The shows in the main theatre were mostly lifeless. With a very basic ship’s orchestra struggling along. The daily fair consisted of things like flower arranging or scrabble tournaments. There was string quartet playing Vivaldi, Brahms, Schumann etc. Being familiar with most of their repertoire I can only say that their standard of playing was not particularly good. I stayed away. We met people who were HAL groupies. They all seemed to be nouveau riche types who felt life should be quiet, erudite and dignified. A lot of it appeared a charade on their part. All cruise lines have there good and bad points. It’s just that with HAL it was 60% negative. At least the ship’s decor was in general pleasing to the eye (with some weird exceptions). Not the God-awful hideous stuff you find on say Carnival ships. The staff were all obsequiously pleasant. The crew not so much. HAL with its dubious quest for genteel travel may suit some people but we will continue to seek a happy medium between loud and vulgar and the HAL ‘experience’. Final Note: HAL sent out a questionnaire after the cruise to ascertain passengers degree of satisfaction or otherwise with the HAL ‘experience’. (Why do we have ‘experience’ everything now. You eat meals you don’t experience them, you sleep on a bed you don’t experience it ….. ) Anyway, I thought okay, I’ll give them a fair hearing, as they were keen to get feedback. The online questionnaire crashed twice. That’s when I gave up. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We have been on many cruises before this one and by far this was our worst cruise every by a country mile. Embarkation was quick and efficient and on the ship in no time ( which turned out to be the best part of the cruise) The ship ... Read More
We have been on many cruises before this one and by far this was our worst cruise every by a country mile. Embarkation was quick and efficient and on the ship in no time ( which turned out to be the best part of the cruise) The ship is in need of some desperate overhaul as it is looking very old and run down. Their was no sail away party on any deck, only soft music which no one could hear on the back Lido deck. The bar staff on the Lido deck were outstanding and made the cruise a little more enjoyable with their outstanding service. ( maybe other staff members could look at them and learn something) Many thanks to Edwin,Leonard and Ed for their outstanding service. Lido restaurant was very blend with their food night after night. Same food just with different names often Luke warm served on very hot plates. My wife had a good talk with the Lido management one night about having different theme night for dinner EG Asian,Indian,Australian international type dinners. To the managers credit they did do Asian theme for one night only then went back to the old ways. The only entertainment on the back Lido deck was a music trivia every afternoon. A band playing music would have been a lot better. We had nothing but trouble with our cruise accounts being blocked by the front desk day after day, and we weren’t they only ones with this issue Maybe when HAL travel in Australian waters in the future the should accommodate fit the Australian market a bit more as 80% of guests are either AUS or NZ. best advertising in by mouth for any business and myself and my wife and other guests will not be doing any advertising. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Unfortunately, HAL has gone downhill in our opinion. We haven't cruised with them for a few years due to dates and prices, so were expecting similar experiences that we had before. The ship itself is kept extremely clean and ... Read More
Unfortunately, HAL has gone downhill in our opinion. We haven't cruised with them for a few years due to dates and prices, so were expecting similar experiences that we had before. The ship itself is kept extremely clean and the staff are wonderful. The main issues were the food, entertainment and the Loft (lack of). Firstly, the food in the main dining room for the first few days of the cruises was very uninspiring. It was hard to find something to eat. The food did improve. Cannot fault the wait, wine and front of restaurant staff, they were very friendly and always smiling. The entertainment was very poor, the entertainment that did come on to the ship were very good (in particular Patrick McMahon) but there wasn't enough. In one week they had two guest artists that played individually and then together one night. Also, on two nights they should movies. We don't get the chance to see live entertainment much because of children so in the past the cruise night time entertainment was something to look forward to. There is BB Kings that play 3 times a night. They are good but unfortunately both singers got sick at the end of the cruise so they weren't able to sing and the head office wouldn't let anyone else stand in for them. Read Less
Noordam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 0.0
Family 2.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 3.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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