This was our first cruise and Holland America had been recommended by my brother so we had a bit of background on what to expect. The first sighting of the ship on Sunday 8 December from our airport shuttle service coming down George Street Sydney was amazing with the ship moored at Circular Quay towering above the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. From that moment we were impressed with most aspects of the ship and life aboard the Oosterdam.
Let me get the few negatives out of the way first.
1. The shore excursions were totally overpriced compared with similar options available dockside.
2. The continual sales pitch to extract extra dollars from passengers was a bit "tacky". (Photos/Artworks/Sidewalk Sales/Wine packages etc)
3. Wine was overpriced compared to beer, spirits and cocktails.
4. Coffee was very average and only tea bags - no leaf tea option was available.
Thats all the "cons" I can think of as the "pros" far outweigh them and were numerous.
Our cabin 5171 was excellent and could not be faulted. The cabin service was first class with friendly smiling faces each day and all special requests met promptly and efficiently. The food and service in the dining room for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner were excellent.
The Lido provided a good range and quality of food and seating was always available.
The entertainment was excellent with very talented singers, dancers and musicians.
The officers and crew were friendly and helpfull at all times and the process for embarkation and dis embarkation were timely and very efficiently handled as was the tendering process to shore and back when required.
The open dining was an excellent option for us as first time cruisers as we were able to meet a lot of very friedly people from all walks of life and from a range of countries.
All in all a very pleasing first cruise experience and we will definitely have Holland America as our first choice option for our next cruise.