As we were doing a back-to-back cruise, having just completed The Inside Passage to Alaska, we did not have to go through any of the usual embarkation process. We were able to just go ashore for several hours in Seattle and return to the ship at our leisure, as long as we were back in time for the safety boat drill.
It was great already knowing our cabin stewards, who looked after our cabin on the first leg of our adventure, and they continued their amazing job of keeping us clean & tidy, filling the ice bucket, leaving the most innovative towel animals every night. We could not have asked for more!
In the main dining room, where we ate most nights, we were impressed with the ever-changing, delicious menu and the attentive stewards and wine steward. We went to the Pinnacle Grill on 6 occasions, which were all made memorable by both the wonderful food and great service. I don't think I have had a better meal anywhere than my Pinnacle Grill meals.
Lunch was usually More
eaten on the Lido deck, either from the various BBQ's on deck or from the Lido buffet which was much more varied than it had been on the 7 day Alaska cruise.
Having 17 sea days, meant there was plenty of time to go to cooking demos, lectures, movies (complete with popcorn) or just hang out up in the Crows Nest with a good coffee from Explorations Cafe meeting new friends.
The only thing I wasn't keen on, was breakfast in the Lido, as it was always pretty crowded and walking around with a plate of breakfast looking for a table did not suit me first thing in the morning. However there was an alternative, which suited us much better - breakfast in the main dining room!
The nighttime entertainment was mostly of a high quality, the favorite being Adagio, an incredible duo, playing violin & piano, who performed every night in lounge. By the time we got to Sydney they were playing to a full house each night.
The level of service on Oosterdam, from Captain down, was the best we have ever received and we would sail with HAL again in a heartbeat.
The final thing was the disembarkation which was so expertly organised, from the time our colour was called we were on shore in Sydney in less than 20 minutes with assistance given with our numerous bags. Thank you. Less
Noumea looked a very scenic city, however being a Sunday, everything was closed.
In afternoon took the Yellow Tchou Tchou Train tour all around the island which gave a really comprehensive look at Noumea. Included delicious French pastries & cider.