We are Australian,frequent cruisers, now that we are in retired. As such, we can choose to travel whenever and on whatever ships we like. This short cruise on the Oosterdam was chosen because of a previous wonderful cruise on the Westerdam, her sister ship, and because it sailed out of our home port, Sydney. We looked forward to a voyage with quality inclusions including decor, food and service - the ports were unimportant as we had been to the Sth pacific before. Unfortunately we disembarked feeling very dissapointed. Perhaps we are now spoilt, having cruised on many different ships in many exotic and interesting locations. However, I dont think we were the only passengers who found the ship to have boring and uninspiring activities, entertainment and food. So, to be fair I will list the points that were:
- the size of the verandah - very spacious, enough for 3 people to sit
- the stateroom service - efficient and friendly cabin steward and assistant who was happy to vacuum the sand I dragged in
- the library - good selection of books
- the open dining room service - we were met each night by a wonderful smiling personable "seating manager"( dont know his title) and other staff who greeted us by name and pandered to my gluten free dinner requests.
- the popcorn in the screening room
- eggs Benedict in various ways
- The drill on deck - manually calling out the cabin numbers for 20 mins while we stood and were spoken to like children that had been naughty!
- the boring music in the lounges and deck - at this time of year we needed something lively not something to put us to sleep, the rough seas did that!
- The pathetic movies in the screening room - some good but some atrosious
- the variety of the food in the Lido - what was there was ok but every day the same thing, OMG, there sure was creativity lacking in the deserts with no gluten-free selections. The Pizza looked so tired and unappertising each day! The salads were the same and lacked flavour
- the production shows - they were OK but perhaps the lethargy we noticed was due to their contracts coming to an end at the end of the cruise!
- The Captains noon announcement - OMG - talk about boring. These noon announcements are something we look forward to on cruises but not on the Oosterdam. Our personality lacking Captain should have delegated these announcements to someone who wanted to do them!!
- the state of some areas of the deck by the end of the cruise - food and cigarette butt strewn areas!!
- some entertainers were more like buskers - please HAL, we expected better!
I think that is enough of my negative comments but the whole time we were on board, we got the impression that HAL was cutting costs by reducing staff and the quality of entertainers, food and other minor things. Maybe we are wrong but our 10 day experience was not one we wanted to repeat. We are booked on the Eurodam in october and only hope it is a better experience. In the meantime, we will continue to cruise with a variety of cruise lines.