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Oosterdam Cruise Review by singlechannel

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Member Name: singlechannel
Cruise Date: August 2012
Embarkation: Seattle
Destination: Alaska
Cabin Category: SA
Cabin Number: 7068
Booking Method: Cruise Line
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Member Rating   3.0 out of 5+
Dining 2.0
Public Rooms 4.0
Cabins 2.0
Entertainment 3.0
Spa & Fitness 3.0
Family & Children Not Rated
Shore Excursions 5.0
Embarkation 5+
Service 3.0
Value-for-Money 3.0
Rates 3.0
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Ship Facts: Oosterdam Review (by Cruise Critic!) | Oosterdam Deck Plans
Some good, some really bad
It appeared as though there were different centers of activity or business that operate almost autonomously. I say that because of the tremendous difference in quality that I noticed. Some things were great; others were deplorable.

I certainly feel that HAL should make money from their passengers; but their passengers should also have an enjoyable experience. On our last cruise, some of the business centers focused solely on making money and ignored our experience. In other cases service was impeccable.

For example, check-in was flawless, fast and smooth. Room service, the same. Dining in the Italian restaurant was a pleasure, as was the buffet. But the food in the main dining room was just so-so at best, and the much-touted high-end La Cirque (extra charge) had great food but terrible service. We sat with empty plates on our table for 20 minutes, missed the show as a result, and complained to the manager who apologised but didn't do anything about it. He said he was short-staffed, but that was a revenue-generating decision to pack as many people in as possible who were paying extra fees (over $150 a couple).

We paid for an upgrade from a balcony cabin to a luxury suite, but the furniture in our "luxury suite" was broken and stained (we had them remove some of it). In fairness, the beds were the most comfortable of any on any ship I have been on. But maintenance was deplorable. The ship is showing lack of attention. The owners seem to be milking it without putting back what is needed to keep it up.

I would rate some of the elements of our cruise an A+, the excursions we chose also an A+, the ship itself a C- mostly due to maintenance, service and food issues. Most of the staff were helpful and friendly beyond normal expectation. A few were stupid and intrusive. One was downright ugly.

Worse experience was in the health spa: we signed up for the hydro spa, a gigantic hi-tech hot tub, for a charge of $195 for the entire cruise. They claimed it was 100 degrees but it was actually much hotter. Many people complained but they insisted their equipment measured it correctly. Well, we have a spa at home set at 100 and we know the difference. We both have high blood pressure and cannot take very hot water. This was at least 105. They refused to check with a manual thermometer or refund our fee. A second spa incident: they called to reschedule my wife's massage because they were overbooked. We refused to do it because they wanted to schedule it very early. The next morning she was not feeling well and cancelled the massage, knowing there was a waiting list, but they refused a refund. So we wound up paying for things we never used.

They will attempt to squeeze every dollar they can from you, often without regard for your experience. While some things were great, some were just so-so, and some really sucked. If we had avoided the spa entirely, and eaten more in the Italian restaurant and buffet, we would have been much happier with this cruise.

Regarding the views and the excursions, only one word: spectacular!! Well maybe two: unbelievable!! The voyage down Tracy Arm was worth the price of the cruise all by itself. But that separates Nature from the ship. What we saw of Nature was just wonderful: the fjords, glaciers, the whales, eagles, etc. And the ship got us there comfortably and safely. So kudos to the captain and crew. That's why I title this "some good, some really bad." Perhaps a different ship on the same itinerary would have been better.

Publication Date: 08/23/12
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