New Zealand in March

Noordam Cruise Review to South Pacific - Australia

Cruises: 1 cruise (first)
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 33

Overall rating:

4.1 out of 5

14 Night New Zealand Discovery (Sydney Roundtrip)

Sail date: March 01, 2018

Ship: Noordam

Cabin type: Balcony

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 4 years ago

Review summary

Overall, It was very relaxing and well organised. Holland America has an air of reliability and we met many passengers who had sailed with them multiple times. We missed two ports and almost missed a third because of storms and it was rainy several days. March is probably not the best time to visit NZ. The day at Milford, Doubtful and Dusky sound was beautiful. We didn’t get much opportunity to use our balcony because of the weather, so not certain it was worth having it. Taking everything into consideration, the cruise was very good value.


5 out of 5
Completely smooth and quick, even for a first timer. We arrived about 2 pm and went straight through.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
We ate in the main dining room most nights. We booked open dining but ended up choosing a set time that suited us at the same table and it worked out well. I’d recommend eating at the Lido sometimes, where there’s more choice.

Pinnacle Grill

4 out of 5

Ate here one night only. It is a very pretty venue. Food was superior to the main dining room - the halibut dish with prawns and garlic butter with a side of asparagus I ate was delicious. The service wasn’t very engaged or engaging considering it costs extra and we preferred the friendliness of the main dining room.

Explorer's Lounge

3 out of 5

Nice comfortable spot but I thought the coffee was really awful. I did meet someone who thought it was wonderful, so only you can tell.

Lido Market

4 out of 5

Amazing choice on offer. Easy to build a more homestyle meal here for a change from the main restaurant. Small dishes and desserts are pre-plated for you to pick up, the rest is served at the different food stations. Liked being able to have a salad made up or pasta cooked to order with a choice of ingredients. Wide variety of Asian dishes over the course of the cruise. Can be a bit busy and noisy with people moving about all the time, but good for a quicker meal and maximum choice. Good choice of teas. We also ate one dinner at Canaletto, the Italian restaurant which takes up part of the Lido. This is cheaper than the Pinnacle Grill, the service was great and we enjoyed everything.

Vista Dining Room

4 out of 5

Dinner service was very efficient and food quite good considering the numbers served each day. Just compare the experience to a large conference or function dinner, not an expensive fine dining dinner for two and you’ll be OK. The menu changed day to day, so we didn’t get bored. Only thing I didn’t really enjoy were the soups - most tasted as if they’d been stretched too far. Although there were vegetable dishes available, we found the overall quantity of vegetables less than we are used to. We found breakfast service a bit slow but enjoyed sharing tables with others. Afternoon tea was very good and also a nice social experience.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
Would have been better if some of the activities were repeated with a bigger choice of times. Often found the things I would have liked to do clashed, or there wasn’t much on. Not a strong feature of the cruise.


3 out of 5
The string quartet was very good but the venue was too small. Often only able to hear the music not see the players. Didn’t go to music every night. Maori performance was interesting, Strings Alive OK. I thought the music and singing in the Piano Bar in the evening was too loud, so didn’t spend much time there. Enjoyed listening to the earlier piano playing sessions.

Children's Programs

Travelled as a couple

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
This was the best part of the cruise. Our cabin stewards and the staff in the dining areas were great.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
Most of the ship areas I used work well. The only part I thought too small was the Lincoln Center. The Noordam is worn in places (sofa in our cabin, upholstery in the Vista entertainment lounge, some carpet in public areas) but everything was kept very clean and there always seemed to be cleaning or painting happening. There was a problem with the starter motor on one of the tenders/lifeboats one day which delayed transfers to shore.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
Our cabin at the rear of Rotterdam deck (7) had a comfortable bed and had plenty of storage. Very little foot traffic passed our door, so it was nice and quiet. The TV was old fashioned and not very good. This wasn’t a big issue but it definitely needs an update. Everything was kept very clean throughout the cruise.

Ship tip

Before I went on the Noordam I wondered whether an older ship would be OK, knowing it’s due for a refit. Don’t worry about the age of the ship - it’s only a part of the cruise experience. Yes, there are small signs of wear and tear, but the service and overall experience is still very good indeed. Most passengers were in the 55-70 age group and a lot were couples. This suited us fine but suggest you think whether that’s what you want.

Ports of call

Sydney, Australia

5 out of 5
Great city to sail out of and return to.

Port Chalmers (Dunedin), New Zealand

2 out of 5

Akaroa, New Zealand Did not visit port

It was raining and misty. It was a tender port and we were trip could be pretty bouncy on the way back. Transfers delayed because of technical issues and the weather

Picton, New Zealand

3 out of 5
Queen Charlotte Sound is very beautiful but there’s not much in Picton itself on a wet day.

Wellington, New Zealand

3 out of 5

Napier, New Zealand

4 out of 5
We visited two wineries. Glad we were on the tour organised by the ship as we got off more promptly. Others said they waited ages to get onshore and it was not a long stop.

Tauranga, New Zealand

5 out of 5
A very pretty, easy going, seaside resort. We just visited the town and did the walk around the base of the Mount.

Auckland, New Zealand Did not visit port

Diverted because of threatened cyclone

Waitangi, Bay Of Islands, New Zealand Did not visit port

Diverted because of threatened cyclone


2 out of 5
We thought this would be OK because there were lots of different groups to disembark, but groups are called pretty close together so everyone ends up in a big queue. Also a very early rise as we had to get off before 8 am long before our flight.
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