14 Night New Zealand & Australia (Auckland To Sydney) Sail Date: November 08, 2015 Ship: Noordam Cabin Type: Suite Cabin Number:8062 Traveled As: Couple Reviewed: 2 years ago
Our 5th HAL cruise and 2nd on the Noordam. We were not disappointed. The service and dining on the boat were both fantastic.The Noordam was well taken care of as we saw constant cleaning, polishing, and upkeep. We opted for a suite this time and it was lovely. We used the gym, spa, casino, lounges, and attended all the shows and music we could fit into our schedule.
BB King Blues Club singers were great, offering a wide variety of music. Adagio players in the Explorer's Lounge were exceptionally good. Captain Henk Draper sailed the ship beautifully, knowing when to slow her down to avoid excess motion and when to speed her up. There was plenty of trivia, music, culinary classes, port talks, and information sessions throughout the 14 days. We could not fit everything in our schedule that we wanted to do while on board.The ports of call were fantastic. Plenty to see, information at each port available for "sight seeing on our own". Shuttle buses provided where needed and everyone we encountered was friendly, helpful and smiling.
See detailed reviews below for each category. We took many pictures, I've shared just a few.
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
Lido buffet at breakfast and lunch had plenty of options and custom requests as well. Dive In hamburgers/hot dogs and fries (w/ special sauce) were some of the best after a long day of sight seeing. Dinner in the Vista Dining room was always fresh, hot, and presented well. Late night snacks in the Lido were interesting and a good opportunity to try different international dishes.
5 out of 5
I donated to the casino slot machines a couple of times, the smoke free nights were well received. There was always something going on so plenty of activities to choose from, we also went up to the Explorations Cafe to have a coffee/ snack and read. I used the Greenhouse Spa several times and each time was relaxing and very comfortable. Opted for the 1st time to use the Hydro pool and thermal suite.....very nice! Two massages, both heavenly.
5 out of 5
Entertainment on board was great. A comedian, a ventriloquist, piano virtuoso, Zylosynth musician, jugglers, and Noordam singers and dancers just to name a few. They were all spectacular. The show that the Noordam singers and dancers performed was really good. The set decoration was beautiful and songs beautifully sung.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Captain Henk Draper did a superb job of sailing and steering the MS Noordam. He had complete command of the ship and delicately sailed so we felt very little "high seas" motion. The staff on board was always smiling, happy to assist, and always pleasant conversation. Cecep and Putu were our stateroom attendants and they were fantastic. Always called us by name and very attentive. May, in the Greenhouse Spa, did a magnificent massage. Gerrard in the Lido buffet was always smiling and very nice.
5 out of 5
Our 2nd Noordam cruise separated by 5 years. The ship was immaculate. Of course it is showing some wear and tear, as expected. However, there was always someone cleaning, polishing, and taking good care of her. We did miss the "days of the week" rugs in the elevator, those always sparked amusing comments.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
Our stateroom attendants were fantastic, spoke to us by name every time we saw them, and always asked if there was anything else we needed. We were on the Navigation deck and were not disturbed by any noise from the Lido deck up above. Our stateroom was SY 8062 and we were pleased with the location and ample space. The bed and pillows were exceptionally comfy.
Explorations cafe had very yummy, complimentary snacks each day. The Dive In has great hamburgers and fries. The kiosk on main deck to print out your ship account was a frequent stop for many people so no surprises the last day of the cruise when you get your bill.
We walked around the peninsula to see Port Chalmers before taking the bus to Dunedin. Lovely walk. In Dunedin, we walked to the Otago Museum and walked around the Octagon, went to the Cadbury factory just to buy chocolate bars. Beautiful Scottish churches.
Spend a few days, get an opal card and use the trains, bus, and ferries. Easy to get around. Taronga Zoo, Bondi Beach, Walk the Harbour Bridge, and take advantage of the "I'm Free" walking tour that operates every day at 10:30 & 2:30. It meets and departs from Town Hall Square and is very informative and you get a great tour by an energetic college student that knows Sydney like the back of their hand. Tip them at the end for what you think the tour was worth.
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