Last time on Oosterdam was on a Mexico cruise. We had been on other HAL ships, but there was something about the Oosterdam...it felt like coming home. I wondered this time -- before we boarded on January 14, 2012 -- "Would it feel again, like 'home'?" particularly, since we were cruising in an interior stateroom for the first time ever; previous cruises had all been done in veranda suites.
Frankly, when we stepped aboard I could not find a single familiar physical detail. Though I knew to a certainty we had been on the Oosterdam before, the physical surroundings had simply homogenized into a total HAL experience. But, when we heard "The Voice from the Bridge" Captain Arjen C. Van Der Loo, and Eric the Cruise Director, our previous experiences on the Oosterdam came back into focus.
I don't know how HAL assigns crew and staff to a ship; maybe Captain Van Der Loo and others get to choose their staff. I do know that the "people" of the Oosterdam make it my most memorable ship. The Captain, the Cruise Director, Subi and Trish (our cabin stewards), Erza the entree server and cook on the starboard side of the Lido, the wonderful man at the podium of the Vista Dining Room...who valiantly tried every night to try to meet our needs though we walked in without notice or reservations...there is a spirit among the people of the Oosterdam that can only result from fair, disciplined, and constant leadership.
Our next cruise will be this September...the 75-day "voyage" to Asia and Australia on the Amsterdam. I already know the ship and its people will be more than satisfactory...I've never had a bad HAL cruise...but I hope the Amsterdam will feel like we're "coming home" -- just like our two cruises on the Oosterdam.