Holland America's Oosterdam was the perfect vessel for a gorgeous week at sea during our early spring break. My husband and I booked this easy trip online through Holland America and couldn't have found the process any easier.
Getting going was easy as we drove to San Diego from Phoenix. We used Aladdin Parking and their shuttle was quick and easy, dropping us off right at the pier terminal. Embarkation was not too bad, though we were loading at the same time as Celebrity Constellation and they were a bit late that morning. We stood on the boardwalk in San Diego for about 35 minutes but it was a pretty day and we encountered lively conversation with those around us. Once inside the terminal the wait was a mere 10 minutes and we were onboard for a lunch buffet in no time at all.
This was our 15th cruise, but our first on the Oosterdam. We were not disappointed! We were welcomed aboard handsomely and the service continued at an extremely high level throughout the trip. The ship itself is quite nice with a few tiny scratches and smudges here and there. Nothing, absolutely nothing that I would complain about. Our room was clean and we loved having a tub in this balcony room. There was plenty of room for clothing and moving about and our balcony was a good size for us.
The crowd aboard this sailing was varied as it was spring break, but filled with a ton of people from Arizona. We enjoyed meeting people of all ages from a 20-somethings to octogenerians. It was a great mix. There were about 300 children aboard but we rarely saw them and when we did they were very well supervised. We actually saw all the little darlings having their picture taken with the captain and it was precious. By the way, this Captain was probably the most visible we have ever sailed with and he had a wonderful way about him. You can tell when a ship is humming along smoothly and people enjoy working for their boss. The satff was so gracious and we commented over and over how lucky we were to be taken care of so beautifully.
Food was probably the best we have ever had while cruising; quite similar to Celebrity in many ways. Yum. Yum. Yum. We ate in the Pinnacle Grill one night and had some of the best ribeye steaks we've ever had. (Unfortunately their lunch wasn't as tasty as their dinner.) We truly enjoyed the special dinner in the main dining room on the last night at sea. The waiters danced and prepared our meal tableside and it was both fun and delicious! The Ocean Bar served up some of the tastiest beverages we have tried in recent years and we loved their 3:30 to 4:30 half-price Happy Hour - wow! The daily activities onboard were mostly calm though there were a few intriguing classes offered in the Culinary Center. We used most of our time to read and relax and found the Oosterdam library to be one of the largest we've ever encountered on a ship. That Crow's Nest library/coffee bar is a very nice place to relax and gaze out over the ocean. There were quite a few sightings of whale and dolphin around the ship throughout the week. We did not use the spa facilities this time around but took the tour and found the space to be quite welcoming.
One tiny side note here - we were invited to a special brunch for returning Holland America patrons. The service here and the brunch itself was the most disappointing part of the entire cruise. We couldn't figure out why they would not make this a highlight since it was a reward for loyalty.. no idea at all.
Other than that tiny hiccup, this was a wonderful cruise on a beautiful ship with an extraordinarily gracious crew and a fine captain as well. We would recommend this ship to anyone searching for a lovely week at sea.