Oosterdam Review

Editor Rating:  4.0
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Oosterdam Ratings

  • Category
    Member
    Editor
  • Dining
    4.1
    4.0
  • Public Rooms
    4.3
    4.0
  • Cabins
    4.3
    3.0
  • Entertainment
    3.7
    4.0
  • Spa & Fitness
    3.9
    4.0
  • Family & Children
    3.4
    3.0
  • Shore Excursions
    3.8
    4.0
  • Enrichment
    3.6
    4.0
  • Service
    4.3
    4.0
  • Value-for-Money
    4.0
    4.0
Editor Rating
4.0
Member Rating
Why Choose Oosterdam?
  • Pro: Entertainment options abound at night
  • Con: Too much emphasis on up charges in areas such as the spa and shops
  • Bottom Line: Classic ship with modern decor and amenities

Oosterdam Overview

By Steve Faber, Cruise Critic contributor

From the get-go, Holland America's Vista Class has suffered a bit of an identity crisis. This is not unexpected from a design intended to bridge the gap between Holland America's venerable passengers and younger couples and families.

My first experience with the class was with Westerdam, the third in the series of four. To my taste the emphasis had shifted too far toward the youthful energy extreme, what with atrium barstools upholstered in day-glo purples and yellows.

My recent sailing on the second ship in the series, Oosterdam, confirmed to me that the path to the proper balance of refinement and exuberance is a swinging pendulum, not a straight arrow trajectory. On Oosterdam, the bones of a typical Holland America interior are draped in a much bolder color palette than in the past. Big, bright red, orange and gold hues abound in the public rooms, most noticeably in the three-deck tall Vista Show Lounge. Blue and aquamarine carpets provide a colorful counterpoint throughout the ship. However, some elements are, to my eye, not youthful, but simply tacky, as for example, the cast plaster benches with painted pseudo-classical sculpted backs and gold lame cushions that grace the midships main elevator lobbies, along with false columns and escutcheons spray-painted in gold.

Adding to the energy level -- in a good way -- are the four glass elevators mounted on the outside of the hull, providing a dramatic shifting perspective for those traversing the 11 passenger decks.

Given the fact that the Vista Class ships are meant not to abandon the Holland America legacy of refined elegance but rather to add to those core qualities, it's important to note here that, at least on the sailing we reviewed, the gentle, accommodating service afforded by the Indonesian and Filipino stewards was still front and center.

Oosterdam received "Signature of Excellence" upgrades. Structural changes included the addition of 34 new staterooms and the development of a new Pinnacle Bar, available both as a pre-prandial watering hole for those dining in that Holland America signature alternative dining venue, and, for the first time, to all other passengers as well. Also added were a new library-cum-coffee bar-cum Internet Café, a new alternative Italian eatery, new intimate screening room, and dedicated enrichment facilities -- all of which will be discussed in detail in the body of this review.

Oosterdam Fellow Passengers

The Vista Class ships, though paying lip service to catering to multi-generational travelers, clearly appeal mostly to Holland America's core demographic: mature, sophisticated, well-traveled couples, the majority of whom are HAL repeaters.

Oosterdam Dress Code

Casual is the universal daytime dress code, the only variations dictated by latitude (you certainly would dress differently for St. John, USVI, than for St. John's, Newfoundland), or by activity (as in going by motorcoach versus by motorbike). Two formal nights take place on seven-night sailings; three on sailings of 10 or more days. We found fewer gents going the full-on black tie route than we would have expected. Also, though the Holland America information pamphlet states that there would also be five "informal" -- sport jacket for men -- nights with only two "dressy casual" evenings, we found this not to be the case. On non-formal nights, dressy casual wear was the universal choice, with the exception of those taking dinner in the Pinnacle Grill, where jacket (with or without tie) was the rule.

Oosterdam Gratuity

The automatic tip for passengers staying in interior, oceanview and verandah cabins is $12.50 per person, per day. Passengers in suites will be charged $13.50 per person, per day.

Next:  Oosterdam Cabins

By Steve Faber, Cruise Critic contributor

847 Oosterdam Reviews from our Cruise Critic Community

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booboocruiser
Member Since 2006
2 reviews
9 forum posts
0 helpful votes
Our 9th cruise, 2nd on HAL. Our first cruise was on HAL 18 years ago and we've always compared our cruises to that first one. We've been looking forward to cruising on HAL again. We've cruised on Princess, Royal, Carnival and Norwegian. ... Read more
leebrownIU
Member Since 2013
6 reviews
259 forum posts
0 helpful votes
This was a fine cruise. I went solo, but met many people and had a good time. I am a faithful Holland American fan, and this cruise affirmed my affection for HAL. Why? The ship had good food, good service and a traditional style of ... Read more
beach1948
Member Since 2004
3 reviews
0 forum posts
0 helpful votes
For my wife and me (in our 60’s), this was our 22nd cruise (our 8th cruise on HA and our 2nd on Oosterdam). Our first cruise on Oosterdam was a year ago (before its recent renovation). The most notable improvements have been in ... Read more
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