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richwmn

Noordam - A Passage to New Zealand

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On 11/19/2019 at 11:02 PM, zelker said:

 

Way more than 20 pax affected ... we were told it was closer to 200.

 

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Just now, ditto9 said:

 Not surprised..the ship is so cold it's a miracle that 2000 passengers have not died of pnemonia... never cruise again on HAL

 

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38 minutes ago, deejayjay123 said:

She's here...😊😊😊

20191123_053507.jpg

 

We watched her pull in from the Hilton, which is the pier sticking out to the left.

 

The Princess ship (that's coming in next to "us" here) is now arriving on the left side of the Noordam (left side as we look AT this photo).

We watched the other ship turn into the harbor (can't be seen from photo).

 

Cheers!!

 

Jay & Pennie

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Thank you Richwmn for your continued review of your trip.  This is our first HAL so found it very interesting. Safe travels home, and now it's our turn. 😊

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6 hours ago, deejayjay123 said:

She's here...😊😊😊

20191123_053507.jpg

 

 

From which hotel was the photo taken?

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On 11/20/2019 at 8:56 PM, erewhon said:

 

That's good.

Did you visit the museum ,(Te Papa)   or ride the Cable car?

There were huge lines for cable car with 2 ships in. Tours with Hal jumped the lines. The Te Papa Museum is fantastic. Wish we had gone there first to have more time to explore. 

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On 11/14/2019 at 3:00 PM, richwmn said:

Yes, I was invited both to the one today and another between Honolulu and Sydney. I went to both and received the customary free drink and saw a Cruise Critic member get a 100 day medal. I didn't continue on to the luncheon so I don't know about the tiles. I have a bunch I don't know what to do with already so I haven't checked recently.

 

Yes we were given tiles at both luncheons. 

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Rich, the voyage is at an end. I hope you leave with many good memories.  Have a safe trip home.

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Final Thoughts
While I am not home, I have completed the travel associated with this cruise
so I will add a few notes.
First, a little housekeeping. The last night show on the World Stage started
with comedian Jim Short followed by several songs by Patrick
McMahon. Billboard On Board had a pretty big crowd, but not full,
until late in the evening. BB King also had a crowd. Everyone seemed
to be in a good mood.
As I have mentioned a couple of times, I don't generally eat outside the
Lido. However over the 40 days of this cruise I did manage to eat once at
the Pinnacle Grill (with @zelker and @catlet), once in Canaletto (with
@catlet), and on the last night with my trivia partners (not CC). Each meal
was good and the evening enhanced by the company.
I felt that all staff members, with only a few exceptions, were very good. I
was greeted cheerfully at each venue I attended and my preferences were
generally known. Trivia games were good. I did attend a few of the other
scheduled games and did well with them as well. This was even though many
had additional duties because of the virus outbreak.
I was very glad that the Crows Nest has not been changed, although removing
Northern Lights and replacing it with Gallery might have been nice. I think
the Northern Lights area might have been used 3 or 4 times over the 40 days
I was aboard, and that was for Pub Crawls.
This was the first cruise that I used a HAL transfer to the airport. I
didn't sign up for it until on board, after doing a bit of research about
costs of various options. The $39 price was well in the range of similar
private services so I thought I would try it. It went smoothly enough that I
might consider it in the future if time is not a problem.

Now a couple of impressions on airports. Understand that I live near the
Atlanta Airport and all my flights begin or end there. After leaving the
ship I had to deal with Auckland (AKL), Los Angelas (LAX), and San Francisco
(SFO). It seemed like I had to walk forever to get from the AKL entrance to
the gate. The same was true from the plane to customs at LAX, and also from
customs to my next gate. Luckily I had plenty of time. At SFO I ran into
other problems. I thought I had followed the signs properly, but by the time
I got to the luggage carousel everyone else from my flight had already
picked up their luggage and mine was in the office. Not sure what happened
but if I am ever here again I'll check the map first. I also had a problem
with the shuttle I arranged at SFO so it was very frustrating after 16 hours
of traveling.
All in all a great experience, meeting many great people. Hope to see some
of them again.

 

Edited by richwmn

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Thank you for all your reports and sharing photos.

Yes, a lot of walking at some airports.

 

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On 11/23/2019 at 12:43 PM, erewhon said:

 

 

From which hotel was the photo taken?

This is from Auckland Harbour Suites. We had a harbour view room and found out very central for all we needed.

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5 hours ago, deejayjay123 said:

This is from Auckland Harbour Suites. We had a harbour view room and found out very central for all we needed.

 

Thank you for your reply.

A great view.

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On 11/23/2019 at 10:09 PM, richwmn said:

All in all a great experience, meeting many great people. Hope to see some
of them again.

 

Sounds like you had a wonderful time 🙂 

 

Thanks so much for an enjoyable LIVE report.  It was fun following along with you.

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Thanks for ‘live blogging’ the cruise. I enjoyed this month (+) long cruise more than I expected - even the sea days were fun!  We avoided the dreaded noro (sometimes being a germaphobe has it’s merits!) and saw many wondrous sights.  I’m glad we had a chance to meet.  

D7D492D6-D6A0-4A9F-8EE7-E956F8B2FC64.jpeg

5BAB9697-AE79-42D6-99FC-07F1200FA85F.jpeg

4648E2AE-0A01-4035-8346-873D378FD17C.jpeg

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My wife and I took the 33 day cruise from Honolulu to Auckland as our honeymoon cruise. My wife is a former Princess employee and we have taken cruises on a number of others cruise lines , but we decided on HAL for the cruise  based on the itinerary. 

 

The Good

  • The value based on the cost of the cruise
  • The itinerary /ports of call - seeing the southPacific and New Zealand/Australia on one cruise was a motivating
  • Specialty Dining  - Pinnacle Grill and Caneletto were top notch
  • Medical staff - I have to give them credit for treating some very sickly and in some cases selfish folks
  • Explores Lounge Free chocolates/biscotti/ pastries when you order the only good coffee and hot chocolate on the ship
  • Billboard OnBoard - very entertaining , loved the All Request shows
  • Photo staff - great people who 

The Bad

  • Logistics - overall the ship did a VERY bad job letting you know what to expect when it came to getting around when you disembarked in most ports of call.Are there free city shuttles ? how far was it to the closest city ? Really felt we were on our own in planning as Alex, excursion director, and Ross McTaggart, interim cruise director, did such a crappy job
  • Excursions - Overpriced, most were double what we could have booked on our own, if you want to pay double because "holland America" will guarantee you won't miss the boat thats your choice , but I found the selection lacking and WAY overpriced.
  • Health of fellow Passengers - I understand with an older demographic you often find on cruises they might not be as healthy or spry as you might elsewhere. I have  real issue when people knowingly get on a ship with a health condition that will affect their fellow passengers and put on undue burden on the crew. In speaking with those in the medical center there is no concept of "medical pre-screening" for cruises and often people who aren't physically able to fly opt for cruises. the cruise was diverted twice due to health issues - Once before we boarded in Honolulu where they reportedly were asking passengers to donate blood and later we weren't able to dock in Savusavu , Fiji   and were diverted to Suva Fiji for yet another medical emergency. in Sydney some of our less healthy passengers departed , they were replaced by people who knowingly came on thew ship with the highly contagious Noro virus. worse those with the noro broke quarantine going ashore endangering other passengers. they ended up  stopping most food self service in the Lido because of this . they even had the crew wipe down the shuttles before passengers boarded in some ports.The captain seemed particularly annoyed by this selfish behavior of those breaking quarantine.
  • Guest Services - Between my wife having to go multiple times to clear up Australian immigration paperwork to even worse communication when we upgraded our cabin during the second leg. we awaited on the ship over an hour because Guest services was waiting for those in our new cabin to leave , we finally heard someone else say we will just deal with getting new cards when we return. Really poorly handled.
  • stewards/Room service - overall they did a good job , but got annoyed with them when continually entered the room when me and my wife were changing for a later 7:30 dinner seating . after verbally telling them numerous times to come after at dinner we had to religously use the "Service Please /Privacy Please" signs to maintain our privacy.
  • Ross McTaggart - our interim cruise director left a really bad impression of HASL. he constantly made bad jokes thinking the passenger were interested in where to find FreeInternet at McDonalds than telling us more noteworthy aspects of our port of call. he made other snide comments of people sitting in certain areas in the World stage "thinking they are VIPs." the normal crusie director Chris seemed to enjoy his job a lot more than Ross. there is probably a river cruise in siberai better suited for Ross!

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Cruiser_myt - thank you for your very detailed and honest assessment of your cruise.  We will be going on HAL from Sydney to Aukland, and I would appreciate your insight on the ports in Australia and NZ- what did you do and with HAL and now from your experience, what would you have preferred to do instead?

 

Thank you!!

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2 minutes ago, new2cruise said:

Cruiser_myt - thank you for your very detailed and honest assessment of your cruise.  We will be going on HAL from Sydney to Aukland, and I would appreciate your insight on the ports in Australia and NZ- what did you do and with HAL and now from your experience, what would you have preferred to do instead?

 

Thank you!!

 

we didn't do ANYTHING with HAL excursions as we found the pricing for most excursions is double what you pay if you booked yourself .

 

the only thing I would suggest is booking in advance . if you choose a cruise after departing the boat you often sitting in . a van/bus waiting for either to fill

 

I can give you a port by port breakdown if you'd like of things to do we did and  places not on the HAL excursion list  

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6 minutes ago, cruiser_myt said:

I can give you a port by port breakdown if you'd like of things to do we did and  places not on the HAL excursion list  

 

Oh thank you!! That is exactly what I'm looking for!  Never having been to that part of the world, I can use all the info and tips I can use!

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We'll be flying from Sacramento to Honolulu, and then to Sydney.  We'll visit Eden, Burnie, Melbourne, Fiordland National Park, Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Napier, Gisborne, Tauranga, and ending up in Auckland.

 

Thanks so much for your time and effort to do this!

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6 minutes ago, new2cruise said:

 

Oh thank you!! That is exactly what I'm looking for!  Never having been to that part of the world, I can use all the info and tips I can use!

 Australia and The South Island of New Zealand

Melbourne -  we opted for the Hop On Hop Off in Melbourne shortly after leaving the port terminal gates. It got us into the city but we could of easily used the tram to get into town as the tram stop is at the end of the block from the port gates. The Hop On Hop Off bus was a mixed bag. there is a ton to do downtown and the HopOn Hop Off only has value for the more afar awy attractions. Most of the things we enjoyed were downtown  Southbank, Eureka Tower and Degraves Laneway. he di make it down to the Melbourne Star Observation Tower -think large tall industrial Ferris wheel. we decided again not to take the all day trip to the mountains and didn't make it to the zoo. Other excursions didn't float our boat  

 

Hobart - if you don't prebook , tour operators are set up the rod after you leave the port. we  did a tour  including Bonorong animal sanctuary, Historic Richmond but were not able to go to Mt Wellington.My wife being animal lover enjoyed hand feeding kangaroos in Bonorong. the Cruise doesn't disembark until late so look for places for a local dinner Salamanca Place is short walk and a nice area to check out.  there are other nice restaurants in the pier area. some very expensive but nice.

 

Cruising the sounds  - Cruising the sounds at the northern most tip of NZ as part of Fiordland National park was an unexpected treat. Chris the cruise director did a great job narrating as we cruised through three different sounds. It was windy and cold. the views from the crows nest and if you have a verandah were great

 

Port Chalmers / Dunedin - There is a bus that will take you from the terminal in Port Chalmers to Dunedin to you can buy through the ship for $20 a person . they will drop you in a central area of the city called the Octagon. there a few restaurants and bar near there. There is a NZ I-Site visitor center at the north east. we walked down to the train station and then headed over to Otago Settlers Museum. Free and really well done. their is an excursion on the train but not my cup tea spending hours on a train.  there is also a Chinese Garden we passed on.  The Cadbury Chocolate plant is  no longer an available excursion. The other excursion weren't exciting and we didn't travel to these areas for wine tours especially being around wine country on the west coast. There is not much in Port Chalmers but if you are hikers I would recommend hiking the hill above Iona Church to lookout that will give you incredible views of the city. Takes about 20-30 minutes but well worth the views at the top 

 

Akaroa /Christ Church - there is a long tender from the ship to Akaroa almost 20-30 minutes. the tenders start early at 7:30AM so you have an opportunity to grab breakfast /coffee/pastries and check out the town before any excursions leave. the bus company French Connection leaves the earliest at 9:30AM  and get you into Christchurch at 11. Since you need to be back on the ship by 4:30 and its a 90 minute drive to Christchurch that only leaves 4 hours to explore the town ( 11AM -3 PM).  The TranzAlpine train is an popular excursion but spending the majority of time on bus and train is not my idea of fun. we went to thew Quake City museum and I would pass to have doing it again The HopOn Hop Off tram has astop where the transfers let you off and is good way to get around the city but I found most of the stops to be more shopping ares with a only a few attractions. The Artic centre is nice attraction worth checking out as well as the cute NewRegent shopping district.  there is  transfer to the Gondola ride but we didn't want to spend an hor to get their and an hour to return. I'd recommend checking out the free Canterbury museum and Gardens near the bus transfer

 

Picton - there is a shuttle buis that transfers you 10minutes away from the port to downtown Picton. Alex, the HAL cruise director,  really undersold Picton. just go on the wine tours .Again as someone living in wine country that had ZERO appeal. there are a few museums in town in Picton the Edwin Fox museum and a small aquarium which we passed on . there are a number of water tours worth checking out. there is one that allows you to share the water taxi that delivers mail. we opted to go to Lochmara lodge  via Watertaxi. they have both an animal sanctuary and an underwater observatory. They have animal feedings that were unique - feeding Kookimari birds, eels and pigs (not necessary) .They also have some adorable baby goats. The underwater observatory was the highlight where you could see underwater crustaceans, manta rays , seabirds and other sea life.  

 

 

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7 hours ago, new2cruise said:

 

Oh thank you!! That is exactly what I'm looking for!  Never having been to that part of the world, I can use all the info and tips I can use!

 Australia and The South Island of New Zealand

 

Melbourne

we opted for the Hop On Hop Off in Melbourne shortly after leaving the port terminal gates. It got us into the city but we could of easily used the tram to get into town as the tram stop is at the end of the block from the port gates. The Hop On Hop Off bus was a mixed bag. there is a ton to do downtown and the HopOn Hop Off only has value for the more afar awy attractions. Most of the things we enjoyed were downtown  Southbank, Eureka Tower and Degraves Laneway. he di make it down to the Melbourne Star Observation Tower -think large tall industrial Ferris wheel. we decided again not to take the all day trip to the mountains and didn't make it to the zoo. Other excursions didn't float our boat  

 

Hobart

if you don't prebook , tour operators are set up the rod after you leave the port. we  did a tour  including Bonorong animal sanctuary, Historic Richmond but were not able to go to Mt Wellington.My wife being animal lover enjoyed hand feeding kangaroos in Bonorong. the Cruise doesn't disembark until late so look for places for a local dinner Salamanca Place is short walk and a nice area to check out.  there are other nice restaurants in the pier area. some very expensive but nice.

 

Fiordland

Cruising the sounds at the northern most tip of NZ as part of Fiordland National park was an unexpected treat. Chris the cruise director did a great job narrating as we cruised through three different sounds. It was windy and cold. the views from the crows nest and if you have a verandah were great

 

Port Chalmers / Dunedin

There is a bus that will take you from the terminal in Port Chalmers to Dunedin to you can buy through the ship for $20 a person . they will drop you in a central area of the city called the Octagon. there a few restaurants and bar near there. There is a NZ I-Site visitor center at the north east. we walked down to the train station and then headed over to Otago Settlers Museum. Free and really well done. their is an excursion on the train but not my cup tea spending hours on a train.  there is also a Chinese Garden we passed on.  The Cadbury Chocolate plant is  no longer an available excursion. The other excursion weren't exciting and we didn't travel to these areas for wine tours especially being around wine country on the west coast. There is not much in Port Chalmers but if you are hikers I would recommend hiking the hill above Iona Church to lookout that will give you incredible views of the city. Takes about 20-30 minutes but well worth the views at the top 

 

Akaroa /Christ Church

There is a long tender from the ship to Akaroa almost 20-30 minutes. the tenders start early at 7:30AM so you have an opportunity to grab breakfast /coffee/pastries and check out the town before any excursions leave. the bus company French Connection leaves the earliest at 9:30AM  and get you into Christchurch at 11. Since you need to be back on the ship by 4:30 and its a 90 minute drive to Christchurch that only leaves 4 hours to explore the town ( 11AM -3 PM).  The TranzAlpine train is an popular excursion but spending the majority of time on bus and train is not my idea of fun. we went to thew Quake City museum and I would pass to have doing it again The HopOn Hop Off tram has a stop where the transfers let you off and is good way to get around the city but I found most of the stops to be more shopping ares with a only a few attractions. The Artic centre is nice attraction worth checking out as well as the cute NewRegent shopping district.  there is  transfer to the Gondola ride but we didn't want to spend an hour to get their and an hour to return. I'd recommend checking out the free Canterbury museum and Gardens near the bus transfer

 

Picton

there is a shuttle bus that transfers you 10minutes away from the port to downtown Picton. Alex, the HAL cruise director,  really undersold Picton. just go on the wine tours .Again as someone living in wine country that had ZERO appeal. there are a few museums in town in Picton the Edwin Fox museum and a small aquarium which we passed on . there are a number of water tours worth checking out. there is one that allows you to share the water taxi that delivers mail. we opted to go to Lochmara lodge  via Watertaxi. they have both an animal sanctuary and an underwater observatory. They have animal feedings that were unique - feeding Kookimari birds, eels and pigs (not necessary) .They also have some adorable baby goats. The underwater observatory was the highlight where you could see underwater crustaceans, manta rays , seabirds and other sea life.  

 

 

 

Edited by cruiser_myt
update

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