4 Auckland Holland America Oosterdam Cruise Reviews

While I have read mixed reviews about the Oosterdam and this particular cruise in November in New Zealand and Australia, my wife and I can only say we enjoyed the trip. We flew from Sydney (our home) to Auckland the day before and enjoyed ... Read More
While I have read mixed reviews about the Oosterdam and this particular cruise in November in New Zealand and Australia, my wife and I can only say we enjoyed the trip. We flew from Sydney (our home) to Auckland the day before and enjoyed the city ahead of embarking on the 14 nights cruise on the Oosterdam. HAL offered us a paid upgrade to a Neptune Suite which we took to experience the larger cabin and additonal on board facilities. It is a great way to travel if you can and we did not regret the extra cost. The Neptune lounge is a great facility and the Neptune staff were excellent and were always there to assist with dinner and excursion bookings, and went out of their way to assist us when bad weather caused a change of itinerary during the cruise causing cancellations of shore bookings. However the ports of call were great in New Zealand and the extra day and night In Melbourne a bonus to those of us who love the city. While a number of pasengers complained about the change of itinerary due to bad weather, the Captain and crew made the correct call to alter the cross Tasman passage and reduce the discomfort due to heavy swells. On that issue the Oosterdam was impressive slicing through the swell with ease and was very smooth considering the 7 metre seas. The Oosterdam was in great shape during our cruise. Spotless and very pleaseant crew made the trip enjoyable. Having travelled with Holland America on several occassions this ship is of a high standard. Dining generally up to the usual good HAL standard. A couple of issues - embarkation procedure in Auckland was very poor and long delays caused irritation to some passengers and amusement to others as the ship was going nowehere until we all got aboard. The coffee at the Explorations Cafe was shocking. HAL still don't know how to make a good cappucino or expresso on their ships. More barista training please! A large number of passengers (including us) could not wait to get off the ship when in port to find a good coffee.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
This is our 6th cruise with HAL and as always a wonderful experience. The quality of service on this cruise line is next to none. Stateroom attendants are in a class all by themselves always smiling, service oriented, quick and efficient. ... Read More
This is our 6th cruise with HAL and as always a wonderful experience. The quality of service on this cruise line is next to none. Stateroom attendants are in a class all by themselves always smiling, service oriented, quick and efficient. Many thanks to our attendants Suni and Kumar. Neptune lounge concierges Roxy and Kristin were a pleasure to travel with. Always helpful, efficient and professional. Stateroom big with tons of storage space, all areas of the ship clean and in good condition. I had read previous reviews that made it sound as though the ship was in need of upgrading but we did not find this. Yes it's true that some other cruise lines may have bigger and more outlandish decor but we like the style of HAL as you always feel you're on a ship rather than on a floating resort. Food was excellent as always but occasionally we found the breakfast fare in the dining rooms to be warm rather than hot (Pinnacle and MDR) - never ate at the Lido). The Cellar Master evening was OUTSTANDING and I would highly recommend this event even more than the Cirque night. No opinion on entertainment as we attended few but went to Karaoke once only as the equipment failed and this was therefore cancelled for the rest of the cruise. We did however have a better option which was to sing with the Halcats one evening and that was wonderful, even better than Karaoke. Hopefully they could do this activity on more sailings. All ports of call were excellent although we skipped Hobart and Milford Sound due to bad sea conditions. As a compensation we had 2 days in Melbourne instead of one. Many thanks to Captain Draper for making difficult decisions but keeping passengers safe and comfortable. Embarkation: somewhat painful in Auckland due to inadequate terminal. We were kept waiting in an u heated hangar on a somewhat chilly morning. Disembarkation: fast and efficient but would have appreciated if HAL had warned us that the Sydney terminal was under construction and we could not remain inside. We were immediately forced outside to wait for transport. Thankfully it was a hot sunny day. Excursion organization: my one irritant was that on this ship if you were on a ship excursion, you got your excursion sticker given as your excursion was called and as you exited the show lounge. In our 5 previous cruises, stickers were given as you entered so you had the option to disembark and wait outside. If you were unlucky enough to have a departure at 8:45 am and the ship was docked at 7:30 am you had to wait onboard the whole time. Passengers doing non-ship excursions had a better deal than those paying the premium price. Passengers with priority disembarkation were equally penalized.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
After overcoming computer problems when boarding and finally finding our way around the ship, we settled into our balcony stateroom which appeared larger on the internet but in reality, it was everything that we needed. The cabin staff ... Read More
After overcoming computer problems when boarding and finally finding our way around the ship, we settled into our balcony stateroom which appeared larger on the internet but in reality, it was everything that we needed. The cabin staff were excellent and our beds were made twice every day as we often had a 10 minute lie down after our port visits. The cleanliness of the ship was truly amazing. The deck around the pool was cleaned in total every second day. Half the chairs, tables etc were removed in the afternoon and the deck totally cleaned. Then the next day, the other half of the deck received the same treatment. The bar staff and the restaurant/buffet staff did a brilliant job and if you are lucky enough to have Ernie Limon (a beautiful Filipino barman with an amazing smile) on your cruise, you'll be well looked after. The food was good, although we didn't try the Pinnacle Grill or the Italian Restaurant. If we go again, we will try the Pinnacle Grill and also eat in the dining room more often than we did this time. After a while, the Buffet became a bit repetitive, although they always had some different selections, although the salads were very different to what we have in Australia! They also call their main meals, "entrees" and their desserts are "pastries". We did have a couple of problems with the office staff but everything worked out in the end.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
My husband and I travelled on a 37 day repositioning cruise which began in Auckland on March 30 and ended in Seattle on May 5, 2013. Overall, I would give good marks for the cruise. We prefer to take long cruises (rather than a lot of ... Read More
My husband and I travelled on a 37 day repositioning cruise which began in Auckland on March 30 and ended in Seattle on May 5, 2013. Overall, I would give good marks for the cruise. We prefer to take long cruises (rather than a lot of short ones) because we get more for our money on repositioning cruises, which have a lot of sea days and tend to visit places that are not the usual cruise destinations. This was our third such cruise. Visiting many destinations in a short period of time was the reason we took the cruise rather than a land tour, and it worked very nicely--we visited 13 ports (Tauranga, Napier, Wellington, Akaroa/Christchurch, Dundedin, Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney, then on to Noumea (New Caledonia), Suva and Dravuni Island (Fiji), Samoa and American Samoa, Kauai, Honolulu, and Vancouver). The characteristics of the passengers tended to match the type of cruise. Those on the lengthy itinerary tended to be retired, and there were few childen on board. The educational lectures were given almost daily on the Sydney to Vancouver leg, and they were uniformly informative and excellent. On the shorter 14 day itinerary (Auckland to Sydney), the passengers were livelier and louder, and it was difficult to find tables in the Lido for breakfast. On the one day cruise from Vancouver to Seattle, the crowd was boistrous, young, noisy and boozed up. The Vista Dining Room, which was a fairly sedate and quiet place to dine on the longer cruise, was one loud and raucous buzz during dinner time on that final night. The food was fine, but on some days, we had trouble identifying anything that appealed. Fortunately, they do have available alternatives, such as a strip steak or salmon, and my husband must have had the French onion soup at least 20 times. We ate dinner in the Lido on one occasion, and I would never go back. We also had dinner once in the Pinnacle Grill, which was excellent. It would easily cost $200 ashore, but we paid $37.50 (as 3 star Mariners). The 3-flavored creme brulee was to die for. Breakfast in the Vista Dining Room is very nice (compared to the mob scene in the Lido), but the menu is quite limited and there can be a long wait for the food. The ship is 10 years old, and to my knowledge, has never been renovated. Now would be a good time. Our cabin was ok, but there were obvious signs of wear and tear, from the fairly threadbare sofa to the gouges in the bathtub, to the balcony door that was hard to unlock. We also noticed that the number of stewards seemed to have decreased. In the past, we could count on our rooms being done after returning from breakfast, but on this trip, it was not unusual to have to wait until 1 pm before the room was cleaned, even when we set out a "service please" sign. Each steward has to clean about 16 rooms, which is too heavy a load. I think 800 staffers for a ship that holds 2,000 passengers is too tight a staff/service ratio, and it shows. HAL needs to reverse some of its cutbacks. The entertainment was below par. The HAL dancers and singers did something like 2 1/2 shows, and one of them (Garage Band) was performed 3 times. The stage is not sufficiently large (I don't think) to cover a large production show, so most of the entertainment consisted of solo acts (singers, comedians, magicians) who were backed up by an overworked group of very professional ship musicians. Fitness and spa personnel provided a lot of talks which gave the initial appearance of being educational, but which were really sales pitches aimed at getting attendees to fork out funds for questionable and expensive treatments. The one I found the most objectionable was on "detoxing", where they spoke about their detox program consisting of algae capsules at "only" $200 a month. How they were to "monitor" the customer once they got off the ship was never mentioned. The spa pitch included ionithermie, which, for only $155 a pop (plus tip) will take 1-8 inches off your stomach. What they don't tell you is that they measure 5 different places, and take the difference between the "before" and "after". The high pressure sales pitch for products is very annoying. HAL will say this spa (Greenhouse, which I visited long ago, when they didn't do this kind of treatment) is only a contractor, but their practices certainly don't place HAL in a favorable light. One thing that did happen (probably a good thing) is that I drank very little coffee on the ship. The coffee was just atrocious. The water, however, is very good. One final note -- I really appreciate that HAL (despite the criticisms) is that treats returning passengers well. We were invited to two Mariners brunches, where the meal was several cuts above what was normally served in the dining room. They also had a cocktail party with generous servings of wine and other drinks. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Oosterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.5 3.6
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.2

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