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Oosterdam Cruise Review by steevsf

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Oosterdam
Oosterdam
Member Name: steevsf
Cruise Date: August 2012
Embarkation: Seattle
Destination: Alaska
Cabin Category: VA
Cabin Number: 8124
Booking Method: Internet Agency
See More About: Oosterdam Cruise Reviews | Alaska Cruise Reviews | Holland America Cruise Deals
Member Rating   5.0 out of 5+
Dining 5+
Public Rooms 5.0
Cabins 5+
Entertainment 5.0
Spa & Fitness 4.0
Family & Children Not Rated
Shore Excursions Not Rated
Embarkation 5+
Service 5+
Value-for-Money 5+
Rates 5+
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Ship Facts: Oosterdam Review (by Cruise Critic!) | Oosterdam Deck Plans
An Amazing Week
We booked this cruise about 2 months before the departure date with a balcony cabin guarantee. Not only did we get a great price, but we were upgraded to the highest balcony category on the port side! (Port side is where you want to be with this itinerary.) It was a little nerve wracking waiting for a cabin but we finally received notice 10 days before the trip and were very happy with the assignment.

We arrived in Seattle and a good friend picked us up at the airport to drive us to the port. We could not believe how much traffic there was on a Sunday afternoon, but we still arrived before 2 p.m. Embarkation was a breeze and we were on the ship and in our cabin with incredible ease. Too bad we missed the Mariner lunch, but the food in the Lido was great and we had no trouble finding a table. In fact, we NEVER had a problem finding a table in the buffet all 7 days of this fully booked cruise! After lunch we returned to the cabin only to find our bags already on the bed and ready to be unpacked. I cannot remember luggage ever arriving so quickly on 15 other cruises! HAL has got their act together here. The cabin was so nice... it had a large balcony and plenty of storage space. It was almost as large as the mini suite we had on NCL, but with no extra cost. The tub is sort of a joke, it should only be used for bathing an infant, but somehow I fit in it! The one thing that we noticed immediately was how clean and well kept the whole ship is. Maybe we are more easy going, but we did not see all the wear and tear mentioned in other reviews.

The food on this ship was a great experience all around; from buffet to dining room, from room service to the Pinnacle.

A few things of note:

1. Real orange juice served at breakfast without an extra charge! There was also tomato, cranberry, pineapple, apple, grapefruit, and V8! I'm used to going to the dining room for tomato juice and drinking Tang on other cruise lines.

2. Eggs and omelets are available in the morning for room service, and they arrive on time, hot and cooked to order! Most cruise lines have continental choices only.

3. The breakfast buffet is amazing! Benedict station! Waffle station! Omelet station! All cooked perfectly to order! Maybe we always hit the buffet at just the right time, but there was hardly ever a wait and the service was always fast and friendly.

4. We chose open seating and were always seated promptly, with no attitude, choosing our own table and table mates. The food was mostly delicious, served hot, and the selection was varied with a myriad of choices from each category. I remember a mushroom soup that was out of this world! The filet and lobster dish was great on the 2nd formal night, and I wish that I had ordered another entree in the Pinnacle restaurant because the steak and lobster was very similar in both venues. Again service was excellent.

5. The Pinnacle Grill experience is well worth the extra charge. The room is beautiful and we had a wonderful window table, with a sunset view, and excellent service by Frederick. The food was delicious, especially the Caesar salad and baked Alaska prepared table side.

6. The fresh baked pizza and pasta station, fresh salad bar, and ice cream bar are open all day. What a treat to have real ice cream sundaes. The pizza and fresh baked cookies are second only to Princess.

7. The International dinner on the last night was a treat with 4 full menus to choose from!

8. We missed the Grilled Salmon buffet on the sail out of Ketchikan, but it looked delicious. We also missed a BBQ, but how much food can you eat!

9. The only bads were the baked Alaska in the main dining room, and the nasty fish and chips in the buffet.

The ports of call were all amazing. We were blessed with sunny weather at every port. Thank goodness that we brought shorts and t shirts. I can't believe that I got a sunburn in Alaska and that I was able to use the pool after getting back to the ship everyday. The pools were freshwater, heated, and the middle pool had a retractable roof

What I will remember most at the ports of call is :

A. The stunning scenic beauty of Tracy Arm.

3. The breakfast buffet is amazing! Benedict station! Waffle station! Omelet station! All cooked perfectly to order! Maybe we always hit the buffet at just the right time, but there was hardly ever a wait and the service was always fast and friendly.

4. We chose open seating and were always seated promptly, with no attitude, choosing our own table and table mates. The food was mostly delicious, served hot, and the selection was varied with a myriad of choices from each category. I remember a mushroom soup that was out of this world! The filet and lobster dish was great on the 2nd formal night, and I wish that I had ordered another entree in the Pinnacle restaurant because the steak and lobster was very similar in both venues. Again service was excellent.

5. The Pinnacle Grill experience is well worth the extra charge. The room is beautiful and we had a wonderful window table, with a sunset view, and excellent service by Frederick. The food was delicious, especially the Caesar salad and baked Alaska prepared table side.

6. The fresh baked pizza and pasta station, fresh salad bar, and ice cream bar are open all day. What a treat to have real ice cream sundaes. The pizza and fresh baked cookies are second only to Princess.

7. The International dinner on the last night was a treat with 4 full menus to choose from!

8. We missed the Grilled Salmon buffet on the sail out of Ketchikan, but it looked delicious. We also missed a BBQ, but how much food can you eat!

9. The only bads were the baked Alaska in the main dining room, and the nasty fish and chips in the buffet.

The ports of call were all amazing. We were blessed with sunny weather at every port. Thank goodness that we brought shorts and t shirts. I can't believe that I got a sunburn in Alaska and that I was able to use the pool after getting back to the ship everyday. The pools were freshwater, heated, and the middle pool had a retractable roof

I have to say that the entertainment on this ship was great. The four lead Holland America singers had exceptional voices and their shows put some other cruise lines to shame. They also had two amusing comics, but the singing and dancing were what really shined during the week. The production values were outstanding as well.

What I will remember most at the ports of call is :

A. The stunning scenic beauty of Tracy Arm.

B. The amazing Taku Glacier Lodge float plane and salmon feast excursion in Juneau. We were seated right at the face of this spectacular glacier and had two huge black bears join us for lunch! This is a must do trip.

Mt. Roberts Tramway was unreal early in the sunny morning with beautiful surrounding vistas. Go early to beat the mobs!

C. The simple beauty of Sitka.

D. The incredible Misty Fjords float plane flightseeing in Ketchikan! Such beauty can hardly be described. We waited to see how the weather was before booking and lucked out getting a spot on the plane at the last minute. It was unreal!

E. The ridiculous stop at Victoria were we were supposed to meet friends for dinner, but did not dock until 8:40 p.m. and had to be back on board by 11:30. HAL always seems to get here late when the other ships have no problem. They had to cancel all excursions. Just be honest and change the arrival time to 8:30. We still had some delicious oysters and mussels at Ferris Oyster Bar, and great fish and chips at Baird and Banker Pub. I also had a chance to get some delicious chocolates from Rodgers!

I want to thank our Travel Guide Christina for her great lectures and advice, Cruise Director Drew for his humor and fun trivia contests (We won!!!), Supreme Bartender Exie in the Pinnacle Bar who made us wonderful cocktails every night after our amazing day on shore, Excellent Room Stewards that I saw only once (Drew said they were like Ninjas!), Party Planner Kirby for her fun cooking demos in the Culinary Arts Center, and last but not least the great captain Arjen C. vaan der Loo for such a spectacular journey. (Along with his dutch pancake demo in the CAC... such fun!)

All in all this was a fantastic trip that we will cherish forever. We have enjoyed all of our cruises, no matter the cruise line, but some are more special than others. This was one of them. I miss the beautiful Oosterdam and Alaska already!

Four years ago we had 7 days and nights of rain during the same week on an Alaskan Cruise... this trip more than made up for that! This was our 3rd time sailing with HAL, and we look forward to number 4!

Publication Date: 09/01/12
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