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Oosterdam Cruise Review by debkaysmith: HAL's Oosterdam to Alaska


debkaysmith
5 Reviews
Member Since 2005
627 Posts

Member Rating

Cabin 5.5
Dining 5.0
Embarkation 5.5
Enrichment Activities 5.0
Entertainment 3.0
Family & Children Not Rated
Fitness & Recreation 5.0
Public Rooms 5.5
Rates Not Rated
Service 5.5
Shore Excursions 5.0
Value for Money 4.0

Compare Prices on Oosterdam Alaska Cruises

HAL's Oosterdam to Alaska

Sail Date: June 2014
Destination: Alaska
Embarkation: Seward

We are seasoned cruisers with 20+ cruises under our respective belts, both in our mid-50's. We traveled as a party of eight with our adult children aged 24 to 41 years. This is the fifth time we've visited Alaska, third time we've sailed with HAL, and second time on the Oosterdam. The train from Anchorage to Seward was spectacular, with good food and comfortable seating. We missed the track wash-out by one day, thankfully.

The ship is very pretty and well designed in her layout with an incredible amount of intriguing art. We never had a problem getting around and found all public spaces quite easily. The demographics onboard this particular sailing veered towards the over-70 crowd. There were very few young people and virtually no small children sailing this third week of June. We were a bit surprised by this as we typically have seen more families on cruise ships in Alaska. Surprisingly there were only two cruise directors onboard and a very limited number of activities day More and night. There were daily trivia games, two karaoke hours for the week, some dancing, one hour of disco each night, a few production shows, and a VERY old and tired out piano bar set-up. We were (jokingly) asked to leave when we requested something a bit more rock-and-roll. We did leave. This ship tidied up and shut down by 10:30 or 11pm each evening. Oh, the magician and comedian were both excellent. If you're looking for night life... you won't find it here. That being said - the food was absolutely delicious, the service in the MDR was gracious, and our cabin steward was phenomenal. One food regret for me was the Pinnacle Grill. I had so looked forward to this and my steak was chalky and dry. Yuck. The chocolate dessert was an oily bowl of soup with no consistency. Very out of character. I also had a bit of trouble in Explorations Cafe. They just couldn't get the hot chocolate right and told me they were out of chocolate syrup. We found staff for the most part to be accommodating, friendly, and vivacious in most areas. Check out the Pinnacle Bar and Ocean Bar for some light-hearted fun with the bar staff. We didn't shop or use the computer at all so I can't comment to those areas. The spa was gloriously serene and the Thermal Suite/Therapy Pool areas were pure bliss. Passenger services were on top of the few issues we had and Captain Boss kept us well informed throughout the voyage.

The aft balcony cabins we booked were amazing with very little jiggle.  We had four aft cabins on Deck 7 and loved them. The balcony doors were opened the entire time so we could visit and relax together. The bed was very comfortable and there was plenty of room with a smallish sofa, table, and extra storage seat. Our verandah had two wicker sitting chairs and one chaise lounge. There was plenty of hanging closet space and storage for everything we brought. We could easily have stored a few weeks' worth of clothes, shoes, etc. in this cabin. You may think there'd be noise in the back, but inside the cabin it was silent. The sound of the ocean and ship's wake were only heard on the balcony. Loved the bathtub/shower combination too - you won't find that on many other cruise lines in a lower category balcony cabin. Weather at this time of year was a bit rainy out of Anchorage, but the sun came out most every afternoon. Passing through Seymour Narrows at midnight was very cool. Would I book HAL again? Maybe for the food and service, but if I wanted to have a little more fun in the evenings, I might check out one of my other favorite cruise lines. Less


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Cabin review: Oosterdam 7136

We had four aft cabins on Deck 7 and loved them. The balcony doors were opened the entire time so we could visit and relax together. The bed was very comfortable and there was plenty of room with a smallish sofa, table, and extra storage seat. Our verandah had two wicker sitting chairs and one chaise lounge. There was plenty of hanging closet space and storage for everything we brought. We could easily have stored a few weeks' worth of clothes, shoes, etc. in this cabin. You may think there'd be noise in the back, but inside the cabin it was silent. The sound of the ocean and ship's wake were only heard on the balcony. Loved the bathtub/shower combination too - you won't find that on many other cruise lines in a lower category balcony cabin.

Port and Shore Excursions


Photography Tour

(4)

Loved this tour with an experienced photographer who lives half the year in the quaint little town of Haines. He took us around to some great spots and shared tips on lighting and setting for our shots. We wandered afterwards in Haines and enjoyed terrific hospitality, some good eats, and local crafts. Adorable town... loved it.


Mendenhall Glacier

We actually took the Rainforest Trails and Whales expedition with a hike through the rainforest, a veiw of Mendenhall Glacier, and then a whale-watching adventure. Our guides were so professional and knowledgeable about the area. We were able to see quite a bit including a small iceberg flip out at the glacier, and several families of humpback whales and orcas. There were eagles, seals, and gorgeous scenery. They cannot guarantee whale sightings, but mid-June seemed the right time to see it all.

Whale Watching

We actually took the Rainforest Trails and Whales expedition with a hike through the rainforest, a veiw of Mendenhall Glacier, and then a whale-watching adventure. Our guides were so professional and knowledgeable about the area. We were able to see quite a bit including a small iceberg flip out at the glacier, and several families of humpback whales and orcas. There were eagles, seals, and gorgeous scenery. They cannot guarantee whale sightings, but mid-June seemed the right time to see it all.


Ketchikan is a darling town with shops, eateries, a few churches, and a couple of local watering holes. We stopped into the Arctic Bar near the port and had a great afternoon following our wanderings of the morning. And don't miss Ketchikandies - great chocolate!!

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