My wife and I and 2 daughters, (ages 8 and 12) departed on a 14 day New Zealand Cruise ex-Sydney on 19th December 2012.
We had high expectations having sailed in Alaska with HAL in 2011. These expectations were met by the Oosterdam in every way.
Food:- We ate in the Vista dining room every night and found the choice and quality outstanding. Most lunches were eaten in the Lido and again the menu was varied and the quality great.
Weather:- We enjoyed calm seas for the entire trip. The only heavy rain was in the Bay of Islands but even then it didn't stop us going for a long walk.
Entertainment:- Again the variety and quality were great. The magic show was a mind-blower. The only one we didn't really enjoy was the ventriloquist. Apart from that I would have paid to see all the other shows.
Service:- We dined at the same table most nights and had fantastic service from Taufik, Frans and Ronald. They were friendly, efficient and performed many tricks that thrilled our daughters. Thanks guys!!
Ship:- The ship was in great condition and was kept spotless. My only negative in this area was that smoking is allowed in the Casino. I wish HAL would just ban smoking totally on their vessels.
Activities:- Drew (An Aussie) was the Cruise Director. He and his team did a great job keeping us busy on the "at sea" days. All sorts of trivia, games shows, sporting activities etc....Our girls didn't spend any time in Club HAL this time. There were plenty of things for them to do with normal ship life.
Embarking and disembarking went smoothly and were pretty quick.
Every port we visited was well organised and again getting on and off the ship was easy.
Overall we loved the crews and will go with HAL again 100%!