There is a reason I don't drink alcohol, I don't like the hangover the next day. If there is a reason I don't like cruising, it is because the feeling I had after leaving the ship.
I drove home after the cruise and was struck by the rudeness of other drivers on the road. Where was the politeness that I experienced for a week? I'm just glad I didn't have to deal with airport TSA.
When I got home and unpacked, I noticed the bed had laid unmade all this time. Where was housekeeping to keep things tidy and fresh?
Then my stomach started to grumble. Where was the Lido deck? Where was I to get gourmet food at this time of day?
Daily life is full of indifference and angry people, it is a shock to the system after being on a ship where the people are dedicated to your comfort and anticipating your needs.
The crew on the Oosterdam are wonderful. The Asians working the housekeeping and food service are happy and bring joy to their job. To me this was the best part of the cruise experience.
The Ooosterdam is a beautiful ship. Lots of detail to delight the eye. There is art on display, there are flowers and plants everywhere. There are plenty of windows, all clean, to enjoy the passing scenery. And clean. They have this army of people who do nothing but clean all day. I thought Disneyland was clean, but this is a higher level.
The stateroom was almost too nice. I could have stayed there the whole time and enjoyed room service, and felt I got my money's worth. The bed and linens were as good as anywhere I have stayed. The layout was such that I didn't feel cramped. And the nightly turn down made me feel special.
I have gone hungry in my past, so food can be pretty important to me. And it seems to be pretty important to HollandAmerica, too. There was so much food it was coming out of my..., well there was a lot of it. Seven types of eggs benedict! So much variety. Some of it was great and some not so great. I didn't like the BBQ, but my partner loved it. Seems as if you didn't find something good, you weren't looking.
One other comment about the food, was the way it was prepared. Very little fried food. There was only the grill by the pool to get french fries and hamburgers. So, it was easy to eat healthy. I couldn't understand why a mother got her child a hotdog for lunch, when there were so many other choices a few steps away. BTW, the vegetables all were good or better.
I have had problems with traveler's stomach in the past. So I took the tour of the kitchen. So as the chef explained how many pounds of food and how things were prepared, I was busy looking under sinks, into door hinges and up into light fixtures. I was looking for grime or dirt. The kitchen was by far the cleanest I have ever inspected.
There was a lot of emphasis on shopping, but there were plenty of low cost gifts and luxuries to choose from. One thing I noticed on-board were $10 wristwatches. What a deal!
I also must mention the shopping in Alaska. I thought everything would be expensive there. It wasn't (they must be closer to China). I bought, for a friend's daughter, an "Alaskan black diamond" necklace for $1.99 ($0.99 with coupon) and vial of gold flakes in liquid for $2.99. She was delighted to have a gift of "diamonds" and gold, and her parent was happy I spent less than $4.
My fellow travelers were not all old people as I was lead to believe. There were plenty of people of every age. The children, few in number, were all well mannered.
The nightlife seemed OK, but I don't know. I was in bed before 9pm each night. One night I stayed up for the comedian, who was a "Maineiac" and watched the movie "War Horse", both good entertainment. There were enough activities and exploring to do that I was exhausted by the end of the day, and I was anxious to start each day anew.
But there were some complaints:
First, why did I have to wait a half hour on embarkation for my picture to be taken? I didn't want it.
Second was the toilet situation. A minor inconvenience that was always fixed promptly, but still...
And the television. I can understand not getting satellite reception at sea, but how come half the time there was no reception there still was FOX News? What? Are you trying to torture me?