Old Ship, Food is Okay, Service is Great: Oosterdam Cruise Review by KayTong
Overall Member Rating
Old Ship, Food is Okay, Service is Great
Destination: Australia & New Zealand
Embarkation: Sydney (Australia)
The Oosterdam is old. Really old. Things work. This was pretty much a retirement people cruise. Only 1 family with two small kids. No teens and no other kids. Lots of old people - like 75 and up. I think I was like the only 36 year old there. Oh yeah - really weird there was a dog - Chihuahua - on the boat. So you can bring a pet - I was told it was for medical reasons - really ?
Shows are okay. Better than Carnival and Royal. But you just can't beat Disney. The only good one was the opera singer, but I guess people don't all enjoy that. I have to say they were creative since we were there for 28 days. The lounge performers are good. The standard bands. What was different was a classical violinist. Different from the traditional piano players and jazz bands you see on all the other cruises.
Activities wise - the sea days are so boring - so we always booked a spa that day. Oh and you know the price always More changes, but if you marked a good massage person you can get them to give you the same price for the who cruise. That is what we did. 2 hours for $89.
Compare to Disney there is just way more to do and no down time. You just have some much to do on board that you don't even feel like it is a sea day. There was mass every day - like you want to go to church when you are on vacation every day - really? Oh the shops only open on sea days so if you come back early from the tour there was nothing to really do.
There computer classes are great. Since they are free and usually a microsoft set of classes is like $400. The best part was that I found all my pictures and the techspet taught me on my own labtop. At least we got our money's worth for that.
Look for the happy hour specials. We got 2 margaritas for $6 and that included the 15% service charge. But get those early. We found that when you get them early they give you more and in the big glasses, but people who came latter got them in smaller glasses.
Cooking classes are definitely interesting and something different to do on the boat. Especially, since I'm a foodie. I love the tastings. The best part is that you get to ask the chefs questions - like hard ones at the end. We had creme brulee and I asked how to you add fruit flavors and able to compensate for the extra moisture in the creme. I learned a great trick that day.
Truth be said there really is not much to do. The movie theater was nice and the lounge chairs are cool and you get popcorn. the only problem is that there is only like 20 seats. Get there early.
we don't gamble and you know what every time we walked by there was like no one there - even on sea nights.
Most people did not go to the pool, but quite a bit of people in the hot tub. the good thing is that they got 5. So plenty of room, not like on carnival.
Dinning Room - this is the worst thing I have to say about the cruise. So Day 2, by the time I got to the end of my Caesar Salad there was a dead fly at the bottom of the plate. Day 4 in the Lido buffet at lunch a big fly landed on the chicken - They took that and threw it out. Day 5 the risotto was raw, but the grilled salmon was good. I kept having something wrong with my dinner from missing clams with the pasts, to no chocolate cake on the black forest cake - just cream and cherries, dinner taking 1/2 hour to come, sand in the muscles, gamey turkey - which if they just soak the bird in buttermilk - and the same with the lamb - took one bite and sent it back. So after 2 weeks of something wrong, the head waiter started coming to my table to check on my dinner and things got better.
The best part of the cruise is the staff's service. So, compared to Disney - HAL staff is nicer. They remember your name and the staff always gets you drinks even if it is just coffee or tea. When my mom and I went to the Lido just to sit out and watch the wind servers would come and offer us tea or coffee, not alcohol. That is nice. They aren't trying to sell you something, but really serve you. This is what HAL is rated - really service and after cruising with so many other cruise lines the staff is the best. I also got sick on the cruise and the staff was great in taking care of all my needs and food expectations. So, find one or two staff and just keep going to them each time and they will remember you. You will get exceptional service rather than constantly changing and asking anyone.
So you do get what you pay for. We paid $5000 for 28 days for 2. As compared with Disney, I used my Disney timeshare so it was cheap, but our friends paid $5000 for 5 days for 4. Disney you get the seafood in the buffet none on the Oosterdam. The dessert buffet is way better than the Oosterdam. More choices like crepes and really art that you can eat, not look.
Over all it was okay. Oh if you get sea sick be prepared the Tasman sea is really bad. I had it bad. you can only eat so many green apples, but at least the patch and pill works to keep food down. Our friend didn't do as well and I had to give him a patch. Less
Cabin review: 8012
Okay they say large, well, not really. Compared to Disney you don't get a bath tub. All inside rooms in Disney have bath tubs and that was really nice. The shower head would always turn down so you end up having to hold it to shower. The TV is so small. Oh and the worst part is the lights - so there are so many different light switches, but you have to turn on so many to just get enough light in front of the closet. No sofa. So on Disney you get a sofa and a coffee table as well as a vanity table. Lots more space compared to Oosterdam.
Port and Shore Excursions
We did the hop-on hop off. It is good for the price($40) since gas is so expensive. $8 per gallon. We did both the red and the blue line. the blue line no one really got off, just everyone went around and then back on the red and around and back on the boat. Its a good overview of the city.
Sea Life Aquarium
This was the best Aquarium you will ever go. Better than Monterrey, Steinhart, Aquarium of the Pacific, and other Sea Lifes around the world. The cool part is the penguins. They are so big and the babies are so cute.
This is beautiful. The only true Chinese garden with Chinese plants outside of China.
It is so big and pretty. Be prepared to walk.
So we were so dump. when you get off right at port charmers the information center has everything there, you can book tours half the cost, but we spent $36 for the 4 of us to take a taxi into the city.
the city tour picks up and drops off on the port if you take the last castle tour, but you can start the city tour right away. but realize this that each drop off point you have to wait 1 hour before getting picked up.
Book the chocolate tour early, but if you can't just go there and you can get in like in a half hour.
Dunedin Train Station
Get there early, so you can book a ride half the cost from the cruise
Best tour guide every. Private guide and just the 4 of us. we did the last castle tour at 2 and got back to our boat with 1/2 hour to spare and this included the ride back to the pier out in port charmbers. but be careful since some people on the sea princess did not get back and wanted to try to get on our boat.
We did this right outside of the boat. great price and guide. Do not do the cruise it is $279 for the same places and ours was $135. We went to the hot springs, geysers, mud pools, the Maroi village, saw the cultural show, the sheep show at the agradome, Rainbow Springs, Kiwi 360. Brad our guide was the best. Small and local guide.
This was the best since it reminded me so much of Hong Kong. The museum was great too. All free
The only bad thing is that it is in the afternoon. So you have nothing to do in the morning. The tour is cheaper if you book off the boat, but you have to pay for your own cable car ride and then you have to walk 20 minutes to the rose garden. Sorry, but we are lazy and I like the fact that they drive you to all the places.
Lady Norwood Rose Garden
The best rose garden and largest I have ever seen. They have more exotic plants in the green house than the ones I saw in the Fiji island gardens