We chose this cruise because of itinerary (ports of call). There were a lot of sea days, but past experiences told us that we would have decent entertainment and events to fill the time. Wrong! Holland America, has cut back so drastically on the quality of the cruise experience, that we would avoid travelling with them again. We paid substantial money, and did not get decent value for it. The nighttime entertainment on our 31 day cruise, included 4 evenings with juggling acts (that were appropriate for a child's birthday party), a movie that was featured twice, the ships own singers and dancers that did their 3 shows, twice, as well as some Australian singers that were promoted as professionals of high calibre, but may have been appropriate as lounge singers. Gone are the days of afternoon entertainment and live music on the Lido deck. I was told that this has been taken away frome all Holland America's fleet. The Sailway parties are now unhosted, so they never get started as a party, and the only music for them is not age appropriate to the crowd, and is only over the PA system. There are no more on deck parties, as they have had in the past, and forget about any organized events like they have done in the past with horse races and decorating the horse or karaoke. Sincerely, you can stay home and read or play bridge at no cost, whereas they charge a bundle to supply a chair for you to do this. The portion sizes of meals have shrunk, although you can always order more, but you pay an additional cost to eat in their other restaurants, and the food in no better. Their beef meals are outstanding, but be prepared to be disappointed with overcooked and mushy fish. Five out of six fish meals I ate, including in the premium restaurant were overcooked, and these are professional chefs! Be prepared to pay $13.50 per person per day, for gratuities, plus an automatic 15% gratuity added to all drinks, which are already overpriced. Don't expect to find anything more than a mediocre bottle of wine for only pennies under $30. Keeping in mind that they purchase all their alcohol, Tax and duty free, they still charge prices equivalent to mid to high-end market prices. We asked for the daily paper to be delivered to our cabin. Never saw it. We booked and had written confirmation for dinner nervous reservations at a premium restaurant, they screwed up the date. We had our Australia visas all lined up and printed. They told us that one of ours wasn't registered, but for $35, they could do that for us. When I proved it was all in order, they discovered it was another passenger that wasn't registered for the visa. This after I waited in a long line up to prove my point, and I am not sure that I got a sincere apology. The best ports of call seem to have very limited stop overs, and some secondary ports have long ones. Ship excursions are priced significantly higher than the equivalent tours purchased directly from local vendors. It seems that this cruise line constantly has their hand in your pocket, once you have paid for the trip and boarded the ship. The well to do, like to be ripped off. Those of us of average means seem to get ripped off as a result. Many of the free seminars, are just sales pitches to promote the over priced spa treatments, or to sell you their "snake oil" health and beauty products. All in all, for value for money, there are better options available than Holland America. Shame on their management for down grading what was a great Company!

Low quality and lack of entertainment

Noordam Cruise Review by Jimbag

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2017
  • Destination: South Pacific
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
We chose this cruise because of itinerary (ports of call).

There were a lot of sea days, but past experiences told us that we would have decent entertainment and events to fill the time. Wrong! Holland America, has cut back so drastically on the quality of the cruise experience, that we would avoid travelling with them again. We paid substantial money, and did not get decent value for it. The nighttime entertainment on our 31 day cruise, included 4 evenings with juggling acts (that were appropriate for a child's birthday party), a movie that was featured twice, the ships own singers and dancers that did their 3 shows, twice, as well as some Australian singers that were promoted as professionals of high calibre, but may have been appropriate as lounge singers.

Gone are the days of afternoon entertainment and live music on the Lido deck. I was told that this has been taken away frome all Holland America's fleet.

The Sailway parties are now unhosted, so they never get started as a party, and the only music for them is not age appropriate to the crowd, and is only over the PA system.

There are no more on deck parties, as they have had in the past, and forget about any organized events like they have done in the past with horse races and decorating the horse or karaoke. Sincerely, you can stay home and read or play bridge at no cost, whereas they charge a bundle to supply a chair for you to do this.

The portion sizes of meals have shrunk, although you can always order more, but you pay an additional cost to eat in their other restaurants, and the food in no better. Their beef meals are outstanding, but be prepared to be disappointed with overcooked and mushy fish. Five out of six fish meals I ate, including in the premium restaurant were overcooked, and these are professional chefs!

Be prepared to pay $13.50 per person per day, for gratuities, plus an automatic 15% gratuity added to all drinks, which are already overpriced. Don't expect to find anything more than a mediocre bottle of wine for only pennies under $30. Keeping in mind that they purchase all their alcohol, Tax and duty free, they still charge prices equivalent to mid to high-end market prices.

We asked for the daily paper to be delivered to our cabin. Never saw it.

We booked and had written confirmation for dinner nervous reservations at a premium restaurant, they screwed up the date.

We had our Australia visas all lined up and printed. They told us that one of ours wasn't registered, but for $35, they could do that for us. When I proved it was all in order, they discovered it was another passenger that wasn't registered for the visa. This after I waited in a long line up to prove my point, and I am not sure that I got a sincere apology.

The best ports of call seem to have very limited stop overs, and some secondary ports have long ones.

Ship excursions are priced significantly higher than the equivalent tours purchased directly from local vendors.

It seems that this cruise line constantly has their hand in your pocket, once you have paid for the trip and boarded the ship. The well to do, like to be ripped off. Those of us of average means seem to get ripped off as a result. Many of the free seminars, are just sales pitches to promote the over priced spa treatments, or to sell you their "snake oil" health and beauty products.

All in all, for value for money, there are better options available than Holland America. Shame on their management for down grading what was a great Company!
Jimbag’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Cabin VE
Average cabin
The cabin attendant missed the evening tidy up, twice during the cruise. That doesn't meet up to the exceptional service that they talk about.
Navigation Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews