In 2013 we did two cruises on the Oosterdam. The first was in March to the Pacific Islands, the second was a round trip to New Zealand in December. We could not get over the difference between the two cruises. Our disappointments started with the same dancing shows yes exactly the same on both cruises...surely we are not the only people who go on 2 cruises 9 months apart? We and other Mariners noticed cost cutting in areas that first time cruises would not be aware of such as, inferior quality toilet paper. We also got the impression that the aim was to "on-sell". The cabin stewards did a wonderful job as usual, but it was mentioned to us that that were now having an increase load to service more staterooms. On the NZ cruise there was a pathetic variety of activities and it appeared that bean toss each day was a lazy uncreative way to keep us entertained! The Captain, Travel Director and Cruise Director on our Pacific Islands cruise were absolutely brilliant and handled difficult people and juggling change in itinnery due cyclone so professionally. By the time we came to the New Zealand cruise we had new Captain and Directors, all who had smooth sailing and we hardly ever saw them "out and about" "around the ship". With our Pacific Cruise, The Travel Director would have a session in the theatre prior to each port and talk about what there was to see and how you could get around on your own. This was not so with the New Zealand Cruise Director. If you went to him at his desk he only tried to get you on an organise tour from the ship.
The food was still at the excellent standard that one has come to expect. However the female activity team member and the female singers in the band were shabbily dressed and below our expected standard. The furniture, fittings are starting to look tired and the carpet was worn on the main staircase. There was a strong sewerage odour on deck 3 stern hallway and the ship smelt musty. We did hear that in the next two years the HAL fleet will be fully refurbished. I hope they can last that long!