2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We've sailed a number of times with Holland; the Oosterdam and were pleased. The Barcelona embarkation was easy and we went straight to our cabin. The ship is older but it was well maintained. Captain and Cruise Director Kelly ... Read More
We've sailed a number of times with Holland; the Oosterdam and were pleased. The Barcelona embarkation was easy and we went straight to our cabin. The ship is older but it was well maintained. Captain and Cruise Director Kelly were very good with plenty of information to share. MDR food and service were excellent with gourmet selections and presentations. Lido could have been better, i.e., first full day at sea and tables were not cleared for more guests. We enjoyed the BB King Blues band. Excellent performers. Lincoln Center Stage had an amazing Quintet. They played a variety of music from classics, popular, and movie themes. Our favorite venue was the Gallery Bar. The staff were warm and friendly and the gaming room was a really nice HAL addition. They had board games, darts, chess boards, etc. Very comfortable room to spend the evening in. America's Test Kitchen was another highlight with an entertaining chef who had great recipes and cooking tips. Most of our excursions were booked through HAL and I'm glad I did. Yes, a little more $$, but always well organized and on time. You meet in the theatre and are escorted off the ship and directly to your tour bus. So convenient. Disembarkation in Ft. Lauderdale was slow, but only for fewer custom's agents and five other ships in port. This was the first time I used the spa services. Very good experience with just a small up-sell speech. Ladies, pack a sweater: Air conditioning left public venues very cold Great service. Great cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We have sailed with Holland America lots of times. Excellent Company, Staff Excellent, Service Excellent. In fact everything was excellent. We had to leave the ship a day early to attend our Grandson's Funeral. A beautiful vase of ... Read More
We have sailed with Holland America lots of times. Excellent Company, Staff Excellent, Service Excellent. In fact everything was excellent. We had to leave the ship a day early to attend our Grandson's Funeral. A beautiful vase of Flowers appeared in our Suite on the second day along with a beautiful letter. Our flight was not until 10pm and officially we had to leave the ship at 2pm. However, the wonderful staff especially Mila (Guest Services Manager helped us to stay on board until 6pm and then personally and with other staff escorted us from the ship, carried all our luggage and even called a taxi to the Airport. There are no words to express how well we were looked after the whole of the cruise and we shall we returning to the Oosterdam next year for an Alaska Cruise. We are looking forward to meeting Mila and all her staff again. Thank you so much we will never forget the care and kindness. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We had an absolutely amazing cruise on Holland America Oosterdam on September 9th – the 12-night Mediterranean Tapestry We loved the service on the ship, the size of the ship and our fellow passengers. Everyone was so nice! The ... Read More
We had an absolutely amazing cruise on Holland America Oosterdam on September 9th – the 12-night Mediterranean Tapestry We loved the service on the ship, the size of the ship and our fellow passengers. Everyone was so nice! The cruise director was front and center throughout the cruise and we felt there were many activities offered although this was a very port-heavy cruise and our priority was being in port and experiencing everything that Europe has to offer. I know many people on Cruise Critic choose to take their own shore excursions, but I do have to say that EXC Tours absolutely MADE our time in port AMAZING! EXC tours were absolutely wonderful. Our tour guides were experts in each port. All of them full of enthusiasm. We were taken to the best places to see highlights of each port and, for the tours that included meals – we loved each restaurant and the food and wine offered. We were extremely happy that we booked through EXC tours because we did not have to stress about making it back to the ship on time – we could relax, enjoy and focus learning as much as we could about each port offered. We also enjoyed the ports where we just walked around and explored and sat at a café and had cappuccino that turned into cocktails and a relaxing fun day. I do agree that the ship is a bit older, but thankfully, we were there to enjoy ourselves and let little things put a damper on a fabulous European tour. I’ve read many complaints that the ship is in horrible condition and was very worried before we went, but once the cruise was underway, I had an unforgettable time and it didn’t matter! I would ignore the naysayers and form your own opinion and just ENJOY yourselves. We were very happy that we booked a Veranda cabin – we loved going on the Veranda every morning and sail away. Definitely worth the extra money! We did not purchase a beverage package. We brought two bottles of wine on board, attended a shore excursion to a winery in Nice where we were able bring on another bottle of wine onboard without the corkage fee and attended the happy hours. At happy hour, we would order a bucket of corona for around $29 plus gratuity and the next bucket was $10 plus gratuity. We also had wine at lunch with many of our shore excursions. Our bar bill at the end of a 12-day cruise was only around $200. Definitely glad we did not purchase the $1200 signature beverage package. I will say that, because this was such a port heavy cruise, heavy drinking was not a priority but we still drank and enjoyed ourselves. Who wants to be hungover when you are touring Rome? We did enjoy many glasses of wine with lunch in Rome but did not start out the day hung over from the night before bc we were trying to get our money’s worth from our beverage package, if that makes sense. The crew was very hospitable and the captain ran a very efficient and safe ship. I also appreciated the use of hand sanitizer before each embarkation. We experienced no illnesses whatsoever on the ship. We loved being waiting on in the main dining room – a highlight for my husband. Just choosing each meal and taking our time over dessert with coffee. It was such an amazing experience! I LOVE the direction of Holland America – outstanding service, port emersions, amazing EXC tours, a place for foodies and music lovers! Already booked our next cruise! As my husband said, this wasn’t a vacation – this was a TRIP! Thank you, Holland America, for the best trip of our lives!!!! Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
As a seasoned traveler, I was always under the impression that Holland America was a cut above other mid-tier cruise lines like NCL and Carnival, justifying HAL's higher fares. Based on my experience on the Oosterdam Mediterranean ... Read More
As a seasoned traveler, I was always under the impression that Holland America was a cut above other mid-tier cruise lines like NCL and Carnival, justifying HAL's higher fares. Based on my experience on the Oosterdam Mediterranean cruise July 23-Aug 4, I would have to say that this assumption is totally incorrect. My major complaint? I was in a balcony cabin, 8134, that had a completely inadequate air conditioning system. During the day, there was virtually no air coming through the vent but at 2-3am frigid air would begin to pour out. My complaint to customer services on the very first day brought a response of "keep your drapes closed." Service technicians tinkered with it but there was absolutely no improvement. When I continued to complain they brought me a box fan!!! Really? I paid a premium for a balcony cabin and I'm expected to keep the drapes closed and use a 1960s era box fan to keep cool? Outrageous. To add insult to injury, there were disgusting black particles being released out of the air conditioning vent all over the bed. The first few days I came down with a bronchial infection and hacking cough that I still have to this day. If you read through Oosterdam's reviews on this site, you'll see that air conditioning issues are mentioned quite frequently. HAL must know that this ship has air conditioning problems but they are so unconcerned with their customers' health and comfort they refuse to spend the money to repair or replace the system. Shame on you, HAL. They gave me a whopping $400 credit as compensation for my discomfort, inconvenience and compromised health. This amount was completely inadequate given that I did not have a decent night's sleep in 12 days and, in effect, the entire $5000 cruise was ruined. Here are some of my other observations: -Embarcation in Barcelona was easy and efficient. The Barcelona cruiseport is lovely- spacious, well lit and plenty of seating. We arrived at 11:30am and were in the cabin by 12:15. Disembarcation also was efficient with a time slot assigned for departure that allowed you to stay in your cabin until the designated time. -The ship is on the small side but none of the public venues seemed crowded (except the Lido on sea days.) In fact, the Mainstage theatre and smaller music venues were never even close to capacity. - We took 3 HAL excursions. One was very good and two were all right. All were VERY expensive. The EXC staff conduct interesting port talks before each port but they are at inconvenient times. It's beyond me why HAL doesn't videotape them and make them available on TV in the cabins. -The cabin is strangely configured with the closets jutting out into the hallway across from the bathroom creating a very narrow, dark passageway into the room. Balcony was a decent size with room for two lounge chairs and a small table. Balcony furniture was old and dirty. -The ship is showing its age with ugly, patched, mismatched carpet throughout. -The pool on the Lido deck is tiny and was always occupied by large groups of unsupervised youngsters. -Food generally was mediocre and some of it inedible (e.g., a tenderloin steak that was so tough it couldn't be cut into.) Service in both the Lido and main dining room was fine. - As I mentioned above, excursions are very expensive as is the alcohol beverage package. Some of the excursions were cancelled due to lack of participants. I'm sure if HAL priced their excursions more reasonably, they could sell a lot more of them. -The ship docked in some very inconvenient locations requiring either a tender or an expensive shuttle bus into town. I guess they dock so far out to save port fees. Again, HAL prioritizes profit above their customers' convenience. -Entertainment was generally very good. The musicians in BB King lounge, Lincoln Center and Mainstage were all outstanding as were the guest performers. But not so much the shrieky, out of key male and female singers/piano players in Billboard on Board. There isn't a lot of room for dancing in any of the music venues. Overall, I will never cruise with HAL again. They charge premium prices but, in my opinion, did not deliver a premium experience. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
Since our first cruise was over 25 years ago, and we won it in a raffle, so had no part in the where or when, or even how, I consider us to be first time cruisers for all intents and purposes. We chose Holland America’s 12 night ... Read More
Since our first cruise was over 25 years ago, and we won it in a raffle, so had no part in the where or when, or even how, I consider us to be first time cruisers for all intents and purposes. We chose Holland America’s 12 night Mediterranean Tapestry on the Oosterdam primarily for the itinerary. It was filled with ports that we had not previously visited, and was at the right time of year for our travel mates (one of whom is a teacher). We booked over a year in advance and spent that year planning for the “trip of a lifetime”. About us: We are around 60 years old and live in Southern California, we own our own business, so are not often able to get away. This trip was a first in many ways. First time we had traveled for that length of time together, first time we traveled without any of our children with us, first time we had traveled with friends, and I could go on, but you get the idea. Now, the actual review, I have tried to break it up into sections, so that you can take what you want from it, and skip those items that do not interest you. Feel free to ask questions if you want more information on anything I mention. Embarkation in Barcelona- A breeze! We arrived at about 1:00 pm; showed our boarding docs and were directed to the suites line. In actuality, there were not really any lines at that point. Our friends were not in a suite, but when we mentioned we were all together, they let us stay together for check in. Check in was quick, and then we were escorted to the ship and introduced to one of the Neptune Lounge concierges, who then took us right to our room. There was not a “wine table”, so we strolled on with 12 bottles of wine in our wine suitcase. They quickly went over the suite and its features, introduced us to our steward, and invited us to come by the lounge, once we were settled. Stateroom: 7046 Pinnacle Suite (yes I know, first time cruisers and we booked the pinnacle suite; I did mention that we considered this the “trip of a lifetime”.) More information in the cabin review section. HAL was very nice to offer us and our guests a “behind the scenes” tour of the ship. It was all set, but that was before they knew the Croatian Coast Guard would decide to do a routine inspection that day. The Neptune Lounge concierge contacted us, letting us know the tour was postponed, then canceled, then all of a sudden back on again. We had to scramble to get our guests back on board. We all loved the behind the tour. There were just ten of us (both of the Pinnacle Suite’s passengers and their guests). We saw the kitchens, warehousing/food storage, laundry and the bridge. At each stop, crew members or officers were available to answer any questions and just give a general overview. We never felt rushed, and the tour probably lasted about 2 hours total. Entertainment-We went to two of the musical shows and they were fine. Nothing spectacular, but enjoyable to watch. Plenty of seats, the theater was never full when we were there. Because we were in the suite and had plenty of room, we spent a fair amount of time hanging out there with our friends. So we did not take advantage of a lot of the activities that were offered, so I have no comment on the enrichment activities, gym, or the public rooms in general. We also did not hang out at the pool other than when the DH went to have a cigar at the only smoking area on the ship (which was next to a pool. The other negative (besides the bathtub controls) was on the last night of the cruise. We needed to get packed and have our suitcases out in the hallway by a certain time ( I don’t remember what time that was, I just know I missed it), it was a sauna in the suite. I am not kidding, our perfectly lovely rooms became a nightmare to be in, let alone work at packing everything up and getting it set out for the porters. Now the good part, I called the concierge when I realized I would not make the suitcase cut-off, and she assured me that they would make a second sweep later that night, and just to set them out when I had them ready. I was very late, and would not have blamed HAL if they had made me carry my own suitcases off the ship. Disembarkation in Venice- This is really in two parts; first getting off the ship. If you are in the Pinnacle Suite, they ask you when you would like to disembark, meet you at your room and escort you and your carry on luggage off the ship, have porters to retrieve your checked luggage, and walk you and said luggage right up to the front of the line and out through customs. The entire process took less than 10 minutes and that included walking from our stateroom to the shore. They were so quick; we ended up having to wait for our hotel greeter, because I had scheduled her for half an hour after I had planned on disembarking. If you are planning on staying in Venice and your hotel offers a “meet and greet”, and it is within your budget, take it. We stayed at the Hilton Molina Stuckey, the greeter met us at the exit point for our ship, got a trolley for all of luggage (an embarrassing amount to be honest), then guided us over to where the water taxi line was. Ah, but did we wait in line? No, she had already called a taxi, and when ours arrived after just a few minutes, we went straight on, our luggage right behind us. We enjoyed the Hilton, and it was nice to have the free shuttle back and forth to St. Mark’s Square. Not sure if I would stay there again. Dining Main Dining Room, Pinnacle Grill, Rudi’s Sel de Mer, Canaletto, Lido Buffet, Dive In and Gala Nights; we did them all. Just a note: we are not only food lovers, but in the restaurant business. Main Dining Room- We had any time dining, but the very first thing the Neptune Lounge Concierge did for us was to make our dinner reservations for the entire cruise. She reserved us a table for four every night at whatever time we wanted and for any of the restaurants we desired. This was a great perk. We had the same lovely window table on the port side of the ship each time we dined in the main dining room. The food was decent, not great. We rarely found something we would not eat, but we did find things we would not order again. The presentation was very good and our service was excellent. We brought our own wine, choosing to pay the corkage rather than order from the wine list. This is a nice “perk” to traveling on Holland America Lines, you can bring as much wine as you want, you just pay corkage if you enjoy it in one of the restaurants. Our wine stewards in the main dining room were also very good. Pinnacle Grill- We ate dinner here once during the voyage, and enjoyed our meal and service. The food was definitely a cut above. (my husband had the lamb, and said it was excellent!) Rudi’s Sel de Mer- Best thing about this meal was the plates, they were adorable. That is not a great review, and I am having a hard time deciding if we did not enjoy it as much because our service was really sub-par this evening or if the food was really that bad. I had the soufflé, I do not recommend it, I did not eat mine. Probably should have ordered one of the fish entrees, but was not in the mood for fish that night. The escargot was better than in the main dining room according to our friend who ordered it, but still not fabulous. Canaletto- Our favorite Specialty restaurant, we enjoyed this meal and thought it was a great way to spend the evening. We were concerned about being in a section of the buffet seating, but we didn’t even notice it once we were seated. Our servers did a great job, and we had a really nice relaxed meal. We liked the “family style” service and got to enjoy so many different items this way. I recommend you give it a try. Lido Buffet-We only ate at the buffet a few times each for breakfast and lunch. It was very nice and plenty of options. We never had to wait too long for anything, although finding a table at breakfast time was a bit of a chore. Dive In- Not impressed. Gala Nights-We had ordered a tuxedo rental for my husband, and he wore it both gala nights. While it is true, we were among the few who were “dressed to the nines”, we were not alone, and we did not mind what the other guests chose to do. Meals on Gala Nights were again decent, not fabulous. Sorry about the long winded review- I did mention we are in the restaurant business. If people make the difference, and I believe they do, Holland America’s dining staff was all around fabulous. The ship-We found the Oosterdam to be a lovely ship, I did not notice any problems and there seemed to be enough of everything for the amount of people on board. We were able to find chairs when and where we wanted them in any public area we chose to go. We never waited long for an elevator, and were able to get around fairly quickly; this despite the ship being fully booked. We did not enjoy the tenders much, but only used them for three of the ports. Truthfully, it was only really bad once, we were among the first on, and then sat in the heat while it everyone else got on, and the ride was a little choppy. But overall, we would still choose to go ashore, even knowing what it might be like in the tender. Excursions- I did mention that we booked this cruise a year ahead, and began our planning right away. Well, it paid off! We were able to investigate our ports, and decide ahead of time what we wanted out of each stop. We did not book any excursions through Holland America, but made all arrangements ourselves in advance online. Barcelona- We arrived Friday Evening with a Monday departure. We attended the Signature Event put on by Holland America for their suite guests, but did not take advantage of the hotel or transfers. I will do a separate review of our signature event, but will say that it was very nice and one of the highlights of our stay in Barcelona. Since we had time, we saw the city at our own pace. We hired a driver for six hours one day, and then walked around on our own the next. We saved La Sagrada Familia for Monday morning, and had pre-purchased tickets. This is a city we would love to return to. We stayed at the Hotel Arts down by the beach, and really liked the hotel. We had our first meal in a Michelin starred Restaurant at the Enotica by Paco Perez inside the Hotel Arts. Now that is fabulous food. The included breakfast buffet was top notch! Marseille-(Outside Excursion with Provence Private Tours) We had a private guide/driver for the four of us, deciding to take in the market at Aix-en-Provence, Cassis and Marseille. The total cost was 472 Euro plus tip. Our guide picked us up right outside the ship, and we were off. We arrived in Aix-en-Provence ahead of the buses, and were able to see the market before the crowds descended on the small town. We enjoyed browsing through the market, even purchased a few small items and some food on the go, and then wandered the back streets for a bit. Then back in the van and off to Cassis, where we had a wonderful seaside lunch. Our last stop was the Basilica of Marseille. We truly enjoyed our day. So much to see, and our guide was very knowledgeable and very helpful in assisting us in what sights to take in within the allotted time. Monaco- (On our own) We did Monaco on our own. We took the tender to the shore (this was the least pleasant part of the day), and decided to gawk at the yachts in the harbor for a while. Truthfully, my husband probably would have been okay with just that. But we kept walking, finally arriving at the Casino, after taking a very scenic, but circuitous route. After a drink and a bit of gambling, we moved on in search of a passport stamp. Sure enough, Rick Steves knows what he is talking about. On the other side of the gardens, away from the Casino is a Tourist Information Center where they will stamp your passport. It was quick and fun for me. Note on Monaco, Taxis seem rather scarce. We saw a taxi stand near the casino with a line and in the half hour we watched, not one taxi came. Luckily, it was a short walk back to the dock. Livorno (Florence) We had hired a private driver (very specifically, not a guide according to the company’s website) for this port. While they say their drivers are not guides; they are. They just cannot accompany you inside the museums. Our driver, Simona, was fabulous. We had early tickets to the Academia to see The David, and she not only got us right there, but made sure we knew exactly how and where to exchange our vouchers for the tickets, and where we would enter (a small roped off area without a line). After the museum, we met up with Simona, and did an absolutely fabulous walking tour of Florence. Since we had time, we made a stop in Pisa to see the Leaning Tower, and get a gelato. I am so glad we did. I don’t care how many pictures you have seen of The David and the Leaning Tower, IT IS NOT THE SAME. We used Rome in Limo, and requested an upgrade to a van, even though there was only four of us, we did not want to be split up in a sedan (total cost 550 Euros). Civitavecchia (Rome) We had booked a private tour with Rome in Limo, and could not have been happier. Franco was the best! He was funny, thoughtful, and full of information. We had early reservations at the Colosseum, and he spent the drive in giving a history of the Colosseum, and explaining its layout. We had a list of pre-chosen sites we wanted to see, and not only did we get to every one of them, but Franco managed a few more we had not even known about. We did not try and see the Vatican on this day, deciding it would take more time than we wanted to give up. My DH and I went back to Rome after our cruise ended, and gave our visit to the Vatican the time it deserved. Naples- We decided that we really wanted to see the Blue Grotto, so we hired a private boat with Captain from Capri Boats. If this is something you decide to do, I highly recommend Capri Boats. They have a good selection of boats, and they took excellent care of us. The Blue Grotto is a once in a lifetime experience. By that I mean you really need to do it, but probably only once. It is as gorgeous as it looks in pictures, and the boats and oarsmen are a site to behold. Once we had done that, we cruised around the island, getting to see the other tourist sites along the way. Our captain was friendly and knowledgeable. We stopped for lunch near the docks. I wish I could remember the name of the restaurant, because it was very good. It had seating right on the water, and everyone in our group loved their chosen items. We cruised along the Amalfi Coast on our way back to port. A lovely, relaxing day! Toarmina- We decided to do this on our own, and as it turns out, it was not our best day. We were too hot, the ride in the tender was miserable, and we did not really have a good plan. If I had it to do over, I would make the trek to Taormina, either with a pre-arranged driver or a taxi. Not much to see or do in Messina. We ended up heading back to the ship early to relax. Corfu- We had once again decided on hiring a private boat for the day. This one included lunch cooked right on the swim step. Nautilus Daily Tours was our choice, and I would recommend them to anyone who would like a real taste of Greece while enjoying the shore. Our boat hugged the shore stopping often at hidden beaches, where we were free to get out and swim around. The water is not very salty near the shore as there are several fresh water springs, which let out into the ocean. The food was excellent Greek Village food and there was more than enough for everyone. We pre-ordered our entrées from a choice of fish, chicken or pork. All were delicious! This was probably my favorite day, mostly because it was so different from every other day (Even our day in Naples). Okay, it was really because we are of Greek descent, were in Greece, we all knew the language, and we felt like we were home (although, all but one of us have never lived in Greece). Dubrovnik- We had a long day in Dubrovnik, and our goal was really just to get out early and walk the walls all the way around. Unfortunately, our behind the scenes tour was this morning, and as I mentioned, it was postponed, and then once it did start, lasted about two hours. Not a big deal since we were going to be in port until Midnight. We all enjoyed Dubrovnik, and toured the churches, streets and just in general had a nice leisurely stroll around town. We did make it up to the wall, and all but one of us (okay, it was me) made it all the way around on the walls. This city is totally doable on your own. It was beautiful, and fun to just explore. Kotor- We heard several people say Kotor was not that fabulous, that the real treat was the sail in/sail out through the mountains. I disagree. While the sail in was too early for us, the sail out was gorgeous, and we thoroughly enjoyed it from our balcony; the city was just lovely. We separated from our friends for the day, and each couple explored on their own. We had a nice lunch at a small café, spent time at the farmer’s market, explored the city walls, and just had a wonderful time. This was a short day (7 am-2pm) and that is probably the right amount of time. But please don’t stay on the ship and miss this beautiful city. Venice- Our final stop. We stayed overnight and disembarked here. Our small group chose to stay one extra night in Venice, so that we would have more time. Since we arrived around 1:00 on a Friday, but would need to disembark the next morning, had we been leaving directly from the ship to the airport, we would have had very little time in the beautiful city. We did not do tours, but rather read extensively before visiting, and had a plan and a checklist of things to see and do. The first day we took the jam packed water taxi to St. Mark’s Square. We began our journey there and just walked around seeing the sites. We ended up walking almost all the way back to where our ship, along with four others, was docked. I really wanted to take a trip down the Grand Canal, but did not want to get back on an overcrowded water bus. We finally decided to spend the money on private water taxi to take us down the Grand Canal and back to St. Mark’s square. This was one of the highlights of the day. While there is a surcharge to go down the Grand Canal, our driver made it worth the 90 Euros it cost. He went slowly, pointed out interesting sites, and answered all our questions. It was definitely an adventure I will treasure. We were staying another day, so we saved the necessary Gondola ride for the next night, and just enjoyed the city. I can’t imagine not having that extra day; we really needed it to see Venice properly. After all that, I am still not sure whether cruising is for us, I guess we will just have to take another one. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise for two reasons: price and port intinerary. We were not disappointed! We went on a 12 night Mediterranean cruise with only 1 sea day. This was a cruise to be active and see many European cities. Here are some thoughts ... Read More
We chose this cruise for two reasons: price and port intinerary. We were not disappointed! We went on a 12 night Mediterranean cruise with only 1 sea day. This was a cruise to be active and see many European cities. Here are some thoughts on the cruise: -Food was amazing (all of it) I’ve only cruised on Disney before and Holland food is better. -Stateroom was very nice with a great balcony and new TV with great on demand options. -All shore excursions through Holland were very well organized and enjoyable. -Main stage shows were terrible. I tried to watch 3 shows during our cruise and had to walk out each time. -We loved Lincoln Center stage piano quintet, the B.B. Kings blues lounge and the piano duo. High quality musicians on this ship. - The service was phenomenal. - The ship is old and a bit out dated. It kind of looks like a cheap Vegas casino. However, the superb food quality, great ports, fabulous service and very nice stateroom made up for the old ship. -spa was very luxurious. We purchased the spa pass and enjoyed using the giant hot tub and stone loungers. -age of passengers was mostly 65+ We only saw 1 other couple on the ship in their 20s. Overall we loved this cruise! The Oosterdam is great ship if you care about getting off the ship and exploring the ports. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
My wife and I chose to cruise with HAL based on the excellent itinerary offered from Barcelona to Venice and all the amazing ports in between. We have taken 28 cruises prior to this cruise on June 5, 2018 with HAL. Most of our cruising ... Read More
My wife and I chose to cruise with HAL based on the excellent itinerary offered from Barcelona to Venice and all the amazing ports in between. We have taken 28 cruises prior to this cruise on June 5, 2018 with HAL. Most of our cruising has been in the Caribbean. The boarding process on the HAL Oosterdam at the Port of Barcelona was amazing and the best we have ever experienced. There were many agents available to process the passengers and this portion of the cruise was a breeze. Once onboard the Oosterdam, it just got better. The Lido Market food service for breakfast, lunch and dinner was outstanding. There were several days that we did not return to the ship until late. Some of the days we ate in the Main Dining, which was excellent as well, but the Lido Market was a great alternate for dinner. There were so many choices at all servings for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food was delicious in all areas. The stateroom staff were awesome. The food staff were awesome. Our experience was nothing but amazing with the entire staff. Always greeted with a smile and "Hello!" The entertainment in the Main Stage theater was outstanding as well as the B.B. King and Billboard areas of the ship. Super! Super! Super! The Oosterdam just came out of dry dock in April. The ship both internal and external was beautiful! HAL has earned a new customer on future sailings. Bob & Christi Houston, TX Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
This was our first cruise, after friends had told us about their own experiences. We chose Holland America because of their reputation as a well-established line, and we really appreciated the relaxed and professional service. The food was ... Read More
This was our first cruise, after friends had told us about their own experiences. We chose Holland America because of their reputation as a well-established line, and we really appreciated the relaxed and professional service. The food was excellent and the entertainment met all our needs. The ports were great (though we didn't use any of the pre-planned excursions) and getting on and off the ship presented no problem at all for us in our advancing years! We booked an interior cabin, and had wondered about whether or not we would feel rather confined, but nothing was further from the truth - in fact, it was great to sleep through till breakfast time, without light filtering through any windows! Although there were nearly 2,000 guests on board, we didn't feel crowded at all, and there were plenty of open public areas to relax in and read. All in all, the best holiday we have experienced ... and we are now 'cruiseaholics'! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Part of our deal was a two night stay in Barcelona which was a great start,embarkation was good and quite rapid.Balcony cabin was as expected with kingsize bed,large TV with plenty of films etc.The bathroom including tub was OK,goid hair ... Read More
Part of our deal was a two night stay in Barcelona which was a great start,embarkation was good and quite rapid.Balcony cabin was as expected with kingsize bed,large TV with plenty of films etc.The bathroom including tub was OK,goid hair products and dressing gowns.Good storage for all our clothes. Dining in the Lido restaurant was good and the only drawback for us was you are unable to serve yourself at either breakfast or lunch but soft drinks and tea,cofee were readily available all day. Evening meals on Freedom Dining option were nice with good choices mainly on North American tastes.All staff all over the ship were professional,well trained and happy in their work. Entertainment was OK,something for everyone we especially enjoyed the two pianists in Billboard on Board at happy hour every evening.Because drinks are well overpriced this is the only way we would have a drink as the second drink is priced at one dollar as wine etc is extortionate.Of course at these times the bar was crowded and at other times empty.No surprise there. All extras were so expensive from drinks,spa treatments and the shore excursions completely overpriced that we avoided at all times.They even added service charge of 15% and sometimes vat in port and even corkage of 18 dollars on a bottle bought on shore even if put into storage until dissemarked. As European we used the public transport from Barcelona onwards as the trains are well run,on time,clean,frequent and very cheap.We understand that North Americans would not like to trust this way of sight seeing and I suppose just pay up sometimes hundreds of dollars which benefits the cruise company. A lot of the guests were from America and are more casual even when dining on gala evenings and often came to dinner in jeans,t shirts and trainers.So that might appeal to a lot of guests as dressing for dinner seams to be going out of fashion. We enjoyed the ports of call which was the main reason to book this cruise and the weather was also lovely but because prices for extras are too dear probably will not cruise with HAL again. We would also like to praise the pool areas with comfortable loungers ,clean waters and hot tubs which were very welcome after a day walking through the interesting ports of call. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We had always wanted to go on a Mediterranean Cruise but never thought we could afford it. Last Spring we found a great deal for the 12-day Oosterdam cruise so we took advantage of it. We stayed in Barcelona for a few days before the ... Read More
We had always wanted to go on a Mediterranean Cruise but never thought we could afford it. Last Spring we found a great deal for the 12-day Oosterdam cruise so we took advantage of it. We stayed in Barcelona for a few days before the cruise and staye din Rome for two days after the cruise. The cruise line handled the transfers with ease. Overall we were very pleased with Holland America. We thought the food was better than Celebrity or Royal Caribbean. This was our first time using open seating and we liked it. However, service at dinner was pretty slow at times and I'm not sure why. Well we weren't in a hurry so it wasn't a major issue for us. The employees are very friendly and great to deal with. My bed was uncomfortable and they tried to make it better for me but the mattress was just too hard for me. The entertainment, on the whole, was pretty mediocre (few exceptions). I also would have like a few more options for things to do onboard. We did not book any of our excursions through them, instead we connected with passengers using the Roll Call and that worked very well. We would go on Holland America again and liked that it's not a party ship. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Ship is not too large so that you still feel like a welcomed guest. The staff are incredible. Friendly, attentive and personable. Main dining room cuisine is excellent. Nightly entertainment is very high standard. Embarkation and ... Read More
Ship is not too large so that you still feel like a welcomed guest. The staff are incredible. Friendly, attentive and personable. Main dining room cuisine is excellent. Nightly entertainment is very high standard. Embarkation and disembarkation are very well done. Even the usual chaos of boarding the tenders is effortlessly done. The group performing nighty at the Lincoln CEnter stage are absolutely fantastic. Well done. The public areas are well maintained and continually cleaned. General maintenance is excellent. All the teak is glossy varnish and all the brass is constantly polished Cons. Cabins need attention. Chipped tiles on bathroom floor. Stained carpet next to bed. Loose toilette seat. BB Kings are just way too loud for the age group on board. Some-one always trying to sell you something- from repeated photo ops to spa treatments and paintings. It is easy enough just to ignore these pitches but it is a bit annoying. The cost of the land excursions is way out of line Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Sept 4 oosterdam 12 nights VD 7097 Bucket list: Barcelona and Rome with a Sept 4 2016 cruise in the middle. This was perfect. We saw lots of places that would have been difficult to get to on our own. We took the initiative ... Read More
Sept 4 oosterdam 12 nights VD 7097 Bucket list: Barcelona and Rome with a Sept 4 2016 cruise in the middle. This was perfect. We saw lots of places that would have been difficult to get to on our own. We took the initiative and booked our own tours, or just ventured out on our own whenever possible. Cruise Critic was great for helping to organize others to go with us. This was fun because many of us were on the same day tours in different ports. I highly recommend joining the tours after doing your own research. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Getting on at the beginning (taxi from B&B) and off at the end was a breeze. During shore visits getting on and off was very fast and easy as well. We were going to take the distant train to Rome, but joined with others for a van and were glad we did. We were drenched just walking to the nearby van in the downpour. Shore Excursions: Always did our own thing on cruises. Itinerary: Note: we always use Rick Steves for planning then take him along on our trips. :} We sure were glad we opted to end at Rome. For those going on, the departure was moved earlier and was cut too short to really see much because Rome is so far from the cruise port. Turkey was also cut out at the last. We stayed 5 days in Barcelona and 5 days in Rome on either end. Some of the land tours were headed by 1 person but a local guide took over at certain locations. What we enjoyed very much were the small tour groups we were with and the opportunity to mix in with the locals when we did our own thing away from tourists. We met lots of really nice helpful people and hubby had some very interesting conversations in Spain. Barcelona outings: Gaudi buildings (Sagrada Familia is a must), Montserrat...too far, too many people in very long line all at once. Not worth it. We got tired of crowds so ventured to Sitges, a decent beach town but we stumbled onto the nudist beach. Oops. Jazzsi club for a Flamenco show we loved. Authentic, tiny local venue, open seating anyplace you fit, affordable small bites. Non touristy but the show we saw was amazing. I didn't really know what real flamenco was till then. Girona/Pals/Palafrugell: Viator tours. Worst tour we have ever been on beginning to end. Too much too fast. No information the entire ride. Some simple ‘this is where Game of Thrones was filmed"….and very basic history. She knew very little. No mention of the cathedral or Girona stone. We were pickpocketed (and caught them) in Girona so there was no time to see anything because we spent it all looking for a police station which was locked. Be very careful. Guide wouldn't let us tell the rest of the group so they could check their belongings. Pals was fast in and out. In Palafrugel we were left on our own to eat and swim for about 2 hours. Swim didn't happen...no time, or place to change. Because we didn’t have reservations for any restaurants, they wouldn’t let any of us in to the places the guide recommended. One place took pity on us and squeezed us in. The entire time we sat there the empty tables at the other places remained empty. Reserved. That should never have happened on a tour Maybe we were just in a bad mood…..but others weren't happy either. Cadiz: we took the train to Seville on our own. Very hot! Take water from room and buy water when you get off train. The ship sells water as you get off but it is often more money. We had plenty of time to get to Seville and back. Gibraltar: No free transportation from ship to 'town' so we walked from ship to tram. There were lots of taxis along the way offering services up to top, but hubby knew they were more expensive than taking the tram. If you can't walk far, take the taxi because it is a long way. We took the tram up and walked up even higher and then walked back down to town. We don’t recommend this if you are not in good shape. We skipped the main monkey event but saw enough… a pink souvenir stuffed monkey stolen, a bag of oranges stolen, tug of war with old lady over her bag while onlookers watched and took pics (we were up above wondering why nobody helped) and a man's glasses stolen. I don't find that cute. St. Michaels cave is just another cave BUT there is an amazing cross-section of a huge broken off stalagtite. The view from top is amazing if you venture up. Walking down is long and dangerous the closer you get to the bottom. We had plenty of time but it was 8 hours of walking. We added another hour in town before returning to the ship. Malaga: Spain Day Tours trip to Granada/Alhambra very nice with Debbie. Great guide Maria at the beautiful alcazar. Alicante: Shuttle from Ship to edge of public area. We opted to take Rick Steves' advice for the easy to do L1 or L3 metro away from the tourist/cruise ship beach to San Juan Beach. I have seen many beautiful beaches and this one is one of the tops. It was huge, not crowded in September, and beautiful. When we returned to the ship we looked at the nearby beach - overpacked with people and not very pretty. On returning to the pickup point for the shuttle to the ship, some of us were lectured about being late. We had the paper that said what times the bus ran and we had plenty of time. The driver disagreed and was put off. On another note, if the ship head count showed everyone was back on the ship, it would leave port early, if possible. Palma- This port disembarkation process was confusing. We were told there was a bus for 5E each r/t to take us to town center or we could walk the 1 mile to town center. I was miffed that they charged. We paid for the bus which took us all the way to the cathedral area, not the 1 mile, several miles. Then again one could have probably caught the on/off bus and taken it to the cathedral, but I don't know. Cruise director said there was a tourist office at the end. (of what? we never found one where the bus took us). This was our 'funeral' day. My 96 year old father-in-law had died unexpectedly the evening of our arrival to Barcelona. We opted to not return home (7 other kids were there) and it was decided this would be the best day for the funeral and for is to listen in from shore as we couldn’t from the ship. We hung around town, visited the market, took the hop on/off bus the full loop. The castle Believer was pretty from a distance but not worth a separate trip except for the great views. The Cathedral was a lovely place to sit and meditate. Toulon: Tour to Marseille and Aix en Provence. Marseille was better than we expected. Aix was pretty but we ran thru it very fast and didn’t really get to see much. I wish we had more time there. We had a great group bathroom experience there. :) Very expensive waterfront restaurant with things most Americans don't eat and none of us were very hungry. There went my little French bistro experience… Calvi: We wanted to take the little train in town but the disembarkation guide from Calvi told us there wasn’t one. When we said there was and asked were was the stop she said to not go, just stay in town because that is where we should stay. Well, we did. We toured the fortress, saw a little tribute to the American pilots, took a walk up top to a cemetery and view, walked the boardwalk past the never ending stretch of rented beach chairs to a place in the sand for free. Water was too shallow to swim. Not much there. We should have taken the train. Monte Carlo: Italy tours Monte Carlo, Nice, Eze. It was a rainy, overcast day but we enjoyed the tour in spite of no great scenery pictures. Eze is pretty much a beautiful old town on a hilltop but it is all tourist shops. No need for a long stay if you are not a shopper. Tour included a stop at the perfume factory. which was a waste. Nothing was working. Their day off? I couldn’t understand a word the young factory guide said. She showed us the basics of scents and what may be a working demo on another day, and then led us into the store to shop. Nobody in our group bought anything. We were anxious to leave. However, Monte Carlo was beautiful and we really liked Nice. Livorno: ItalyTours. One of our better tours (but not best). We enjoyed the beautiful rainy drive to Florence (crowded). Most memorable was our Florence and Museum guide. She had a true love of the statue of David and her detail in educating us was remarkable. We came away with a greater appreciation than we would have had if we had gone on our own. We were dropped off to wander Pisa and take photos. Thats all. We loved the beautiful and interesting tower. Sadly there was a long line to get tickets to go up in the tower so we just wandered outside and took pictures. Rome: Viator trip to Vesuvius and Pompeii was our favorite tour of the entire trip. We had 2 amazing guides Becky and Sarah and their information at the end of our tour would have been very useful a week sooner! We should have done this trip on arrival to Rome. It seems we had an experienced bus driver, compared to the one ahead of us. The bus will leave you if you are late...and it did leave two people that didn't return when guide told all of us it was turn back time. Take water and rent the walking stick! Good Pompeii guide. Pizza afterwards went smoothly although I can’t say I came away loving italian pizza. Vatican- MUST get advance tickets! Even with them we didn’t know where to go. We found a guard that said ‘stand there’ and eventually he let us in the line. 40 years ago things were much different. Too many people this time. We had a hard time keeping up with our guide and I lost her a few times with all the pushing and shoving. Stark contrast to the feelings one is supposed to get. No photos. Look, step, look, step, look, step…and eventually you are out of the chapel. Half our postcards we mailed from the Vatican Post Office didn't make it. Coliseum- we still haven't received our refund for the rained out lower level tour ticket. That lower level tour would be hard to do on a shore excursion. The Coliseum is a must do even with headphone tour. We went to the San Calisto catacombes via foot, metro, bus, foot…great day away from crowds on Sunday. I have to make a note that I am an avid geocacher. That, combined with the fact that I typically prefer to not use past paced tours and go at our own speed, where we choose, my opinions are a bit colored. We were not allowed time to 'see' as much as we wanted but it gave us a taste of where we would go back to. About the ship: Cold, cold, cold. We were in ideal Mediterranean climate. Outside was perfect. Cabins were perfect. Interior of the ship was a refrigerator. Many of us were wearing coats. The Queens Lounge where many of the events are held was a refrigerator. So we rarely went there. MainStage was only slightly better but we went every night. Only once did I feel comfortable inside and that was a window seat at pinnacle grill. It took us awhile to find our way around, which is normal, but this time it was longer. I had no deck plan map. The other cruises we had done gave us a ship map. When I asked for one I was told there aren't any because the plans are in transition. We had to rely on the maps at the elevators. We were glad our room was by an elevator so we didn't walk the wrong direction all the time, and hubby has a far better memory than I do. A printed map from home is highly recommended. I appreciated the hand sanitary stations all over the ship and as we returned. In spite of that, hubby caught a cold from others we had been on tours with, which possibly spread to others we interacted with before he knew. Unlike our last cruise, there was actually room to sit around the pool. After 2 visits I discovered there were 2 pools. :} (Amazing how long it takes to orient to the ships). There were always available tables and chairs when we went. Food: Because we were doing so many long shore excursions and traveling alone, we opted for the open seating which we thoroughly enjoyed. We were seated almost immediately and we met many wonderful people each night. When we walked thru the lower dining room we were able to greet many from previous dinners, or tours. This is a relatively small ship so you see lots of familiar faces each day- especially with the CC group. (btw, the meet and greet is worth going to) We learned that if you are seated at a large table (10 or so) that service is very slow. You wait for the table to fill before ordering. You wait for all to eat each course before the next. You skip dessert or take it with you so you can get to the show. You can also request a window table if you smile pretty. :} The food was good. I appreciate that the portions are smaller than we have had on previous cruises. I don’t have restraint so less is good. I felt free to order two healthy starters. Sometime about the 5th day I happened to ask the waiter (all of them are wonderful) if there was any way to get vegetables. I was craving veggies because those on the menu are mostly for decoration. a few slivers of something. He asked me if I wanted steamed, roasted, boiled…? Oh, JOY! he brought us a platter of mixed steamed veggies. Hubby and I downed those before our meal. We continued to order veggies thru the trip. Many items on the menu had alcohol, lessening our options to choose from.. Lots of seafood, which was good for me, maybe not for others. Menu got repetitive when limited. We also discovered a diabetic menu with yummy options. Too late. Tap water every night for us by our choice. At the end of the cruise I discovered herb tea hidden at the check in desk in the DR. One later reviewer mentioned there was fruit juice. I would have killed for it if I had known. Night snacking...we went to bed before the 'good stuff' came out, as we discovered one later night. Pinnacle was better than Canaletto, BUT we had complimentary tickets with our cruise purchase. I wouldn't pay extra for it. Service was very good. We chose to do them (reservation) on our sea days. For the first time ever, at the beginning of the cruise, we ordered our breakfast in due to an early start. It was there, it was good, I wanted to do it again. Hubby didn’t want to. I think he feels guilty. I now know after booking our next cruise on NCL that room service isn’t free anymore. WHAT? We then ate breakfast in the Lido cafeteria area many times when we had excursions and no time to wait in DR. It was impossible to find a table so we just started joining (butting in politely) with other diners that had empty spaces. Often there were tables with dirty dishes but we didn’t know if they were taken. The service was still very good and they tried hard to help us. Hubby loved the ‘egg lady’ and how she made omelets. It wasn’t until the last 2 days or so I saw someone at the pool with a HUGE chef salad and I was so craving a salad. The hunt was on. You can tell when you have been deprived. :} Another reviewer posted the staff will cook you something you request. I didn’t know they would alter the nightly menu because I did ask if alcohol could be left out and was told no. Activities/entertainment: Mediocre to great. Our favorite nightly was the mini orchestra group. I forgot their name, in the Lincoln center. Always crowded but it was nice to sit in the back and listen to the end of the program after dinner. On mainstage, the best was possibly Julian Gargiulo, pianist. The worst was the night of Flamenco dancers. We usually had a long lull after the mainstage show, wandering around looking for something to do before retiring. Nothing much to do. I didn’t go for the lively music in the freezing queens lounge. Not because of the music, it was good, just the discomfort. I would have loved to have had the Lincoln center open during that time so we could relax before going to bed. I found the show at Billboard not really worthy of my time but there were always people there with drink in hand. TV. Unlike other cruises, we finally have a very nice assortment of movies to choose from. Those shown in the theater were of no interest. Several days into the cruise we found the game lounge which had some nice options. For the most part, there wasn’t really much to do on the ship if you don’t want to listen to other people. No real outside activities. Some organized games we weren’t interested in. We just enjoyed the ride with fresh air from our balcony. Staff: I found the cruise director kind of annoying. Sorry. The Shore Excursion specialist Linda was pretty useless most of the time and I think we knew more than she did because of our research and planning. For example at a meeting about Gibraltar. Do the Taxis go all the way to the top? Does the tram? Can you walk up to the top from the tram? She beat around the bush and didn’t give an answer. Several of us wanted to know. She said she hadn’t been so didn’t know. That is her job. She had to be new to the route? When it came to departure for excursions, we never knew where we were supposed to go. The announcement said to look for a sign at the elevator. On the last excursion day I saw a 8x11 paper inside 1 elevator stating which floor to go to. I had been looking outside the elevators. Silly me. We often went in circles. Major props go out to the front desk staff. We found out the morning after we arrived in Barcelona (From Los Angeles) that my elderly father-in-law had died. There was no way to go home. Thru emails and phone calls we decided to participate in a remote funeral which was planned on a Shore day for us so we could have cell service. Elisabeth, from Munich, bent over backwards to help us with our needs. Unfortunately the staff was not ‘able’ to help us with our need to deal with a funeral. We paid just like everyone else for bad wifi to email out (make a copy before you send in case it doesn’t go thru) a tribute hubby spent our first sea day writing. They also couldn't help us with any type of connection. Our room team Agung and Aries were amazing. Dining room staff -amazing. All in all, we would love to sail HAL again. I just post negatives and tips so others are aware, just as I hope to read in other reviews. I am a big trip advisor reviewer and don’t put much weight on a ‘perfect’ with no comment review. :} There were LOTS of very negative ‘never again’ reviews. Like a previous reviewer stated…’Were we on the same ship?”. I agree completely. Room: Agung and Aries (VD 7907) cheerfully greeted us by name (how do they do that?) each time they saw us (a lot).What a great way to start your day. When I asked for a hairdryer that wasn't permanently attached to a lower cabinet I got it within minutes. (cord was too short for me to stand up). Room was always clean and spotless. I read some others reviews during this writing and am shocked at comments on rooms and stewards. We couldn’t have asked for more. They were always visibly working. This was our first balcony room (1st Celebrity was inside, 2nd RC was window, 3rd HAL was balcony). It was wonderful to be able to leave the door open at night or go out in the evening or morning and just sit. Room for two. 3 would be tight. The room itself was also much bigger than our others. I think it was just the design layout. Not having the box tv's makes a big difference. Since hubby wakes up very early we like to get a room where he can go elsewhere to read. At least the stateroom had a partial pull curtain and balcony. Very comfortable bed. Large enough bathroom with tub. We hand washed everything so had it strung all over the bathroom much of the time. We had plenty of closet space, although not enough hangers, and storage under the bed. Before our cruise I read a Critic recommendation to get a hair turbin towel due to the small towels. I followed the advice and it is my new travel 'friend'. It was a big help on the cruise as well as the hotels and travel for 2 months. I liked having our room just behind the elevators. Quick to anywhere. We used stairs to the dining room. We discovered 3 problems with the room: You cannot hear any announcements that are made. If we heard something we opened our door too listen. They said it should come over the tv, but it did't. We may have missed some important departure information. Usually it was just cruise director stuff we didn't care about. Tub wasn't draining- fixed immediately. Headboard lights stuck on or off- fixed. Bathroom sink hot water was scalding hot. They switched out the faucet immediately but it didn't help. Each time I turned the water on in the 'neutral' position I got burned, and I like hot water. It took a few days to retrain myself to put it at cold and turn slightly. Some other people we mentioned it to had also been burned. Beware. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
My husband and I have cruised many times, but never with Holland America. We chose them as we liked the Riviera itinerary and it certainly did not disappoint, nor did the Oosterdam. The ship has just been re-done and is stunning. Very ... Read More
My husband and I have cruised many times, but never with Holland America. We chose them as we liked the Riviera itinerary and it certainly did not disappoint, nor did the Oosterdam. The ship has just been re-done and is stunning. Very tastefully decorated. We had a verandah room which I don't think had been re-done yet (?), however it was very nice also. It has a nice size verandah with two reclining chairs and a table. The bathroom definitely hadn't been re-done, but was acceptable. We enjoyed the choices for evening entertainment, however felt that the "Main Stage" could use some improvement. I would say 50% of the shows in the Main Stage were good and the others just "so so" compared to Celebrity for example. The dining was excellent! We never felt the need to dine in the specialty dining venues. Food was great, presentation also very nice. Quantities were on the smaller side, but easily rectified obviously since you can have as much as you want and my husband would just ask prior to ordering so that it came on one plate vs. two different meals. We thought it may have been an older crowd based on things we had read about HA. We are mid 50's and I would say most were in their 50's or early 60's. This particular ship is suitable for couples from their 40's on as there really aren't children's activities, although they do have a children's club I believe. I think we saw 4 children during out 12 days. Service was exceptional in all areas, as you would expect. This was our first HA cruise, but definitely not our last. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We selected this itinerary because of the many stops on the Spanish coast. In that regard, it did not disappoint. Malaga / Granada was amazing.... Alicante was also a delightful port. Calvi turned out to be quaint and charming. ... Read More
We selected this itinerary because of the many stops on the Spanish coast. In that regard, it did not disappoint. Malaga / Granada was amazing.... Alicante was also a delightful port. Calvi turned out to be quaint and charming. Likewise, Monaco and Nice were wonderful. The only port that was a complete waste of time was Gibraltar. 15 hours to look at a ROCK..... think about it. If you're given the option, don't bother. 9 ports of call in 12 days is too aggressive, in retrospect. Too much running and not enough relaxing. This was our first Holland America cruise, and we looked forward to it with great anticipation, having heard so many praises of the line over the years. Our post-cruise impressions are mixed. The Oosterdam is a beautiful ship, and impeccably maintained. Our Neptune suite was comfortable and spacious - the recent refurbishment made our cabin look elegant and modern. Having the concierge service in the Neptune Lounge was a very nice perk. Happy, helpful people always there to tend to your every need. The service on the ship - in every venue - was excellent. From the cabin stewards, to the bar staff, restaurant workers... everyone delivered top-notch, friendly service. Where Holland America and the Oosterdam fell down - and fell down badly - was with the food. We're not trough diners... having food slopped onto a plate - no matter how elegant the surroundings - is not something we seek out in our everyday life, so it's not something we seek out on vacation, either. We took one meal there, and it was palatable. We like that HAL has its workers serve the food, rather than every guest slopping rations for themselves. Sometimes, the food in the dining room was wonderful. And other nights, it was simply awful - practically inedible. The unevenness of the food quality made every night a crap shoot, as far as what we could expect. The presentation was always nice, but that which you were being served was often mediocre-to-out-and-out-nasty. Rubber lobster tail and soggy shrimp were among the more memorable failures. Likewise, one night's first course offering described a "potato and roasted kale soup with chicken sausage"....what was delivered to me was clear broth with a few potato cubes, one small kale leaf and CHICKEN HOT DOG SLICES in the bowl. In fairness, there was some delicious salmon, beef tenderloin and a frozen Gran Marnier souffle...all of which were wonderful. We dined once at the Pinnacle Grill and it deserves every kudo it receives. The cedar planked halibut, as well as the Filet Mignon were both amazing. However, it seems to me, that when you're paying $550-plus per day for 2, you shouldn't have to shell out an additional $70 per day just to guarantee a good dinner. Another night, we tried Canaletto.... they do a good job with frosted glass to try and isolate you from the fact that you're surrounded by the trough. The appetizers were very tasty. However, our pork loin was 90% fat...easily. When the hostess stopped by our table to check on how we liked our meal, the minute she saw the disappointment in our faces, she immediately said "oh, I guess it was too much food!" In other words, unless you love it, she doesn't want to know about it. The BB King lounge was great - we spent several evenings there and enjoyed it much. The only mainstage performance we attended was a British comedian, and he was excellent. The "formal", "semi-formal" and "casual" which we were used to have been replaced by "smart casual" and "gala". And, of 12 nights, only 2 were designated "gala". I would venture a guess that about 50% of the guests took the dress suggestion to heart. 25% did not differentiate between smart casual and gala...and the other 25% seemed to take joy in being complete slobs. This would have been more tolerable, had the Maitre'd simply grown a pair, and had politely directed people dressed in t-shirts to the trough. But no....everyone, no matter how disgustingly they were dressed - were escorted into and seated in the dining room. I get that they are paying customers, too. But part of the cruise experience is following protocol. If you want to be as big a slob at sea as you are at home, my question is "why leave home?" Very, very disappointing. I didn't expect more from the public at large, but I did expect more from Holland America. Between the frequently lousy food and the pandering to the lowest common denominator, the Carnival influence on the cruise line was painfully evident. This was our first, and also our last Holland America cruise. We will cruise again, but I realized after this trip that we need to be more discerning and also reach more deeply into our wallets. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Last minute choice. Rather overpriced but it did tick the boxes and I enjoyed it greatly, would consider using HAL again if a cheaper alternative did not include the ports I wanted to see. Always managed to find a sun lounger, even on ... Read More
Last minute choice. Rather overpriced but it did tick the boxes and I enjoyed it greatly, would consider using HAL again if a cheaper alternative did not include the ports I wanted to see. Always managed to find a sun lounger, even on sea days, though sometimes had to hunt for one. Staff mostly excellent and did not pester to buy drinks. Fruit juice available at mealtimes. Never had a long wait for a table at mealtimes with open dining. No noisy kids running round. ( Sorry, had my share of that). If I wanted to be picky: Wine vastly overpriced, even by restaurant standards. Don't like the standard service charge thing and had it removed, tipping those who provided better than average service directly. What's with charging for shuttle bus in ports where it was too far to walk into town ? HAL need to do a deal with port operators, the ships bring much trade to towns. Gibraltar. I've visited many times and they are getting very greedy and rather off hand with tourists, taxi drivers telling porkies to get trade etc. Heard some snide remarks in Spanish, (which I speak too). Hope I don't hear them complaining about Brexit or they will get an earful. Food repetitive ( but good quality) in Lido and all started to fall off towards the end as things ran out. Entertainment poor, even Thomson do much better. A bit of real music in the Lido area would help, got sick of the same canned tape. Excursions hugely overpriced, even walking tours. Around 2-3 time the cost of locally organised ones. On board staff seem reluctant to provide any information that may result in guests doing their own thing. Internet, as always on ships, a complete waste of time and money, too slow, too expensive to use. Is it technical or just greed ? How come the little train in Mallorca can manage high speed free internet and the cruise lines can't, even in port ? This is 2016, not 1990. Don't be put off by the moans, it was a good cruise and an elegant ship with the right number of guests. It's no party boat but that was just fine. If you can get a good deal, go for it ! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We are 37 and 38 years old and have been on 22 cruises so far. We cruise with Celebrity, Azamara, Oceania and Royal Caribbean. This was our 3rd cruise with HAL and will be our last one. We are easy and always treat people with respect. ... Read More
We are 37 and 38 years old and have been on 22 cruises so far. We cruise with Celebrity, Azamara, Oceania and Royal Caribbean. This was our 3rd cruise with HAL and will be our last one. We are easy and always treat people with respect. Embarkation: I don't know if it's HALs 'fault' but this is the 3rd embarkation with the HAL were it took almost 1,5-2 hours to check in. Reason: Too few check in counters staffed. Cabin: The suite was refurbished earlier this year but several things were broken, missing and dirty (blood stains on the chair, loose curtains, broken lights. The stateroom was not clean. the stateroom attendant told us that they have to clean 24 staterooms with just 2 people. We saw 1 time during our 13 days cruise a vacuüm cleaner. Dining: Main Dining Room: The food was mediocre, the taste was bland and the presentation was too simple. In some cases it was a joke, even at the gala evenings my fish looked like a schnitzel. The vegetables were the same each night. I should be ashamed as waiter and chef to serve this to customers. It was worse than the food in the restaurant at my work. The waiters did a great job to make the best of it. Canneletto: The food was good and tasteful. There was no background music so the ambiance was minimal. The waiters were very nice, no complaints whatsoever. Entertainment: The production shows were OK, nothing special. We've seen better, but this is not important for us. It was a MED cruise and a lot of people enjoyed the sun at the aft pooldeck. The perfect place for some live music, but no, the ship was quit. No live music at the outer decks, no band, nothing. Too bad for the atmosphere and too boring to drink a nice glass of wine during sail away. A missed oppertunity. Service: Hit and miss. The friendliest people on the ship were the stateroom attendants, cleaners and the waiters. We were one of the youngest people on the ship and apparently we were totally not interesting for the head waiter. He ignored us completely. Miscommunication / Rude staf There were several situations onboard were passengers were treated like they were crew members on a cargo ship. Example: We were supposed to leave the ship on Deck A midship (port of Toulon). The securtiy crew sent us back to Deck 2 Forward. So we walked to the theater with other people. We asked a lady from the shore excursion staff where we can leave the ship. She told us to leave the room because it was for shore excursions only. We asked her several times where we can leave the ship because security on Deck A was sending more and more people to Deck 2. She refused to listen and started to shout that we have to leave and go back to Deck A. I asked her politely to contact Deck A about this but she ignored me completely. We were all amazed, is this really a 5 star cruiseline? Excursions: Sometimes we book ship excursions when we don't want to run the risk of missing the ship. The tour prices HAL charges are ridiculous. Other cruiselines charge half of the price for exactly the same tour. Ship: The ships exterior is at this moment in good condition. The maintenance however is poor. The ship is not kept clean. Carpets are dirty, tables are not clean and especially on the pooldecks it's a mess. Waiters don't clean up empty glasses and food plates, sunbeds are covered with used towels for hours. It's the third HAL cruise we experienced such a mess on a ship. The chairs on the pooldecks got dirty because of the soot coming out the funnels. The chairs never got cleaned so people complained about dirty clothes. My new trousers got black spots so I told the officer (he walked on the deck) to clean the chairs more often. He said to me to cover the chair with a pooltowel. In other words, he didn't care and ignored my dirty trousers. This is a cruise ship, not a cargo ship. Ports: All ports were great, no complaints. HAL does not deliver. The overall experience is poor. Definitely not in the same league as Celebrity Cruises. And definitely not a 5 star cruiseline. We paid a premium price for a poor product. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Our third cruise, but the first with Holland America Line. Boarding as the usual stressful super heated mayhem. I wish cruise lines could learn something from Middle Eastern air carriers such as Emirates in that respect. The ship was clean ... Read More
Our third cruise, but the first with Holland America Line. Boarding as the usual stressful super heated mayhem. I wish cruise lines could learn something from Middle Eastern air carriers such as Emirates in that respect. The ship was clean and well managed. That it was a Dutch boat showed by the fact that they had LGBT single parties. We (traditional married couple) booked a suite and our 'butlers' were great. Overall staff appeared to be happy and well taken care of. That's not the impression we had on a MSC ship. Ok, the good: - Entertainment (TV) system was airline style and great. - Super nice staff - Well maintained ship - Airline style PAs by the captain - Beautiful stateroom The not so good: - Complexity of beverage packages and their price. - A ton of flyers promoting extra cost stuff in your cabin every day. - The thermal suite package (not worth it) - The food was big corporation canteen style at best. We gave up on it and had great meals in every port. Still, overall happy and would book the same cruise again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
This cruise review is done by RicksClan 2 but we only have 1 CC account because we have to have different emails. :} RicksClan 1 used to be Pioneer Scion but we just changed it....I am more wordy and write most reviews. Bucket list: ... Read More
This cruise review is done by RicksClan 2 but we only have 1 CC account because we have to have different emails. :} RicksClan 1 used to be Pioneer Scion but we just changed it....I am more wordy and write most reviews. Bucket list: Barcelona and Rome with a Sept 4, 2016 cruise in the middle. This was perfect. We saw lots of places that would have been difficult to get to on our own. We took the initiative and booked our own tours, or just ventured out on our own whenever possible. Cruise Critic was great for helping to organize others to go with us. This was fun because many of us were on the same day tours in different ports. I highly recommend joining the tours after doing your own research. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Getting on at the beginning (taxi from B&B) and off at the end was a breeze. During shore visits getting on and off was very fast and easy as well. We were going to take the distant train to Rome, but joined with others for a van and were glad we did. We were drenched just walking to the nearby van in the downpour. Shore Excursions: Always did our own thing on cruises. Itinerary: Note: we always use Rick Steves for planning then take him along on our trips. :} We sure were glad we opted to end at Rome. For those going on, the departure was moved earlier and was cut too short to really see much because Rome is so far from the cruise port. Turkey was also cut out at the last. We stayed 5 days in Barcelona and 5 days in Rome on either end. Some of the land tours were headed by 1 person but a local guide took over at certain locations. What we enjoyed very much were the small tour groups we were with and the opportunity to mix in with the locals when we did our own thing away from tourists. We met lots of really nice helpful people and hubby had some very interesting conversations in Spain. Barcelona outings: Gaudi buildings (Sagrada Familia is a must), Montserrat...too far, too many people in very long line all at once. Not worth it. We got tired of crowds so ventured to Sitges, a decent beach town but we stumbled onto the nudist beach. Oops. Jazzsi club for a Flamenco show we loved. Authentic, tiny local venue, open seating anyplace you fit, affordable small bites. Non touristy but the show we saw was amazing. I didn't really know what real flamenco was till then. Girona/Pals/Palafrugell: Viator tours. Worst tour we have ever been on beginning to end. Too much too fast. No information the entire ride. Some simple ‘this is where Game of Thrones was filmed"….and very basic history. She knew very little. No mention of the cathedral or Girona stone. We were pickpocketed (and caught them) in Girona so there was no time to see anything because we spent it all looking for a police station which was locked. Be very careful. Guide wouldn't let us tell the rest of the group so they could check their belongings. Pals was fast in and out. In Palafrugel we were left on our own to eat and swim for about 2 hours. Swim didn't happen...no time, or place to change. Because we didn’t have reservations for any restaurants, they wouldn’t let any of us in to the places the guide recommended. One place took pity on us and squeezed us in. The entire time we sat there the empty tables at the other places remained empty. Reserved. That should never have happened on a tour Maybe we were just in a bad mood…..but others weren't happy either. Cadiz: we took the train to Seville on our own. Very hot! Take water from room and buy water when you get off train. The ship sells water as you get off but it is often more money. We had plenty of time to get to Seville and back. Gibraltar: No free transportation from ship to 'town' so we walked from ship to tram. There were lots of taxis along the way offering services up to top, but hubby knew they were more expensive than taking the tram. If you can't walk far, take the taxi because it is a long way. We took the tram up and walked up even higher and then walked back down to town. We don’t recommend this if you are not in good shape. We skipped the main monkey event but saw enough… a pink souvenir stuffed monkey stolen, a bag of oranges stolen, tug of war with old lady over her bag while onlookers watched and took pics (we were up above wondering why nobody helped) and a man's glasses stolen. I don't find that cute. St. Michaels cave is just another cave BUT there is an amazing cross-section of a huge broken off stalagtite. The view from top is amazing if you venture up. Walking down is long and dangerous the closer you get to the bottom. We had plenty of time but it was 8 hours of walking. We added another hour in town before returning to the ship. Malaga: Spain Day Tours trip to Granada/Alhambra very nice with Debbie. Great guide Maria at the beautiful alcazar. Alicante: Shuttle from Ship to edge of public area. We opted to take Rick Steves' advice for the easy to do L1 or L3 metro away from the tourist/cruise ship beach to San Juan Beach. I have seen many beautiful beaches and this one is one of the tops. It was huge, not crowded in September, and beautiful. When we returned to the ship we looked at the nearby beach - overpacked with people and not very pretty. On returning to the pickup point for the shuttle to the ship, some of us were lectured about being late. We had the paper that said what times the bus ran and we had plenty of time. The driver disagreed and was put off. On another note, if the ship head count showed everyone was back on the ship, it would leave port early, if possible. Palma- This port disembarkation process was confusing. We were told there was a bus for 5E each r/t to take us to town center or we could walk the 1 mile to town center. I was miffed that they charged. We paid for the bus which took us all the way to the cathedral area, not the 1 mile, several miles. Then again one could have probably caught the on/off bus and taken it to the cathedral, but I don't know. Cruise director said there was a tourist office at the end. (of what? we never found one where the bus took us). This was our 'funeral' day. My 96 year old father-in-law had died unexpectedly the evening of our arrival to Barcelona. We opted to not return home (7 other kids were there) and it was decided this would be the best day for the funeral and for is to listen in from shore as we couldn’t from the ship. We hung around town, visited the market, took the hop on/off bus the full loop. The castle Believer was pretty from a distance but not worth a separate trip except for the great views. The Cathedral was a lovely place to sit and meditate. Toulon: Tour to Marseille and Aix en Provence. Marseille was better than we expected. Aix was pretty but we ran thru it very fast and didn’t really get to see much. I wish we had more time there. We had a great group bathroom experience there. :) Very expensive waterfront restaurant with things most Americans don't eat and none of us were very hungry. There went my little French bistro experience… Calvi: We wanted to take the little train in town but the disembarkation guide from Calvi told us there wasn’t one. When we said there was and asked were was the stop she said to not go, just stay in town because that is where we should stay. Well, we did. We toured the fortress, saw a little tribute to the American pilots, took a walk up top to a cemetery and view, walked the boardwalk past the never ending stretch of rented beach chairs to a place in the sand for free. Water was too shallow to swim. Not much there. We should have taken the train. Monte Carlo: Italy tours Monte Carlo, Nice, Eze. It was a rainy, overcast day but we enjoyed the tour in spite of no great scenery pictures. Eze is pretty much a beautiful old town on a hilltop but it is all tourist shops. No need for a long stay if you are not a shopper. Tour included a stop at the perfume factory. which was a waste. Nothing was working. Their day off? I couldn’t understand a word the young factory guide said. She showed us the basics of scents and what may be a working demo on another day, and then led us into the store to shop. Nobody in our group bought anything. We were anxious to leave. However, Monte Carlo was beautiful and we really liked Nice. Livorno: ItalyTours. One of our better tours (but not best). We enjoyed the beautiful rainy drive to Florence (crowded). Most memorable was our Florence and Museum guide. She had a true love of the statue of David and her detail in educating us was remarkable. We came away with a greater appreciation than we would have had if we had gone on our own. We were dropped off to wander Pisa and take photos. Thats all. We loved the beautiful and interesting tower. Sadly there was a long line to get tickets to go up in the tower so we just wandered outside and took pictures. Rome: Viator trip to Vesuvius and Pompeii was our favorite tour of the entire trip. We had 2 amazing guides Becky and Sarah and their information at the end of our tour would have been very useful a week sooner! We should have done this trip on arrival to Rome. It seems we had an experienced bus driver, compared to the one ahead of us. The bus will leave you if you are late...and it did leave two people that didn't return when guide told all of us it was turn back time. Take water and rent the walking stick! Good Pompeii guide. Pizza afterwards went smoothly although I can’t say I came away loving italian pizza. Vatican- MUST get advance tickets! Even with them we didn’t know where to go. We found a guard that said ‘stand there’ and eventually he let us in the line. 40 years ago things were much different. Too many people this time. We had a hard time keeping up with our guide and I lost her a few times with all the pushing and shoving. Stark contrast to the feelings one is supposed to get. No photos. Look, step, look, step, look, step…and eventually you are out of the chapel. Half our postcards we mailed from the Vatican Post Office didn't make it. Coliseum- we still haven't received our refund for the rained out lower level tour ticket. That lower level tour would be hard to do on a shore excursion. The Coliseum is a must do even with headphone tour. We went to the San Calisto catacombes via foot, metro, bus, foot…great day away from crowds on Sunday. I have to make a note that I am an avid geocacher. That, combined with the fact that I typically prefer to not use past paced tours and go at our own speed, where we choose, my opinions are a bit colored. We were not allowed time to 'see' as much as we wanted but it gave us a taste of where we would go back to. About the ship: Cold, cold, cold. We were in ideal Mediterranean climate. Outside was perfect. Cabins were perfect. Interior of the ship was a refrigerator. Many of us were wearing coats. The Queens Lounge where many of the events are held was a refrigerator. So we rarely went there. MainStage was only slightly better but we went every night. Only once did I feel comfortable inside and that was a window seat at pinnacle grill. It took us awhile to find our way around, which is normal, but this time it was longer. I had no deck plan map. The other cruises we had done gave us a ship map. When I asked for one I was told there aren't any because the plans are in transition. We had to rely on the maps at the elevators. We were glad our room was by an elevator so we didn't walk the wrong direction all the time, and hubby has a far better memory than I do. A printed map from home is highly recommended. I appreciated the hand sanitary stations all over the ship and as we returned. In spite of that, hubby caught a cold from others we had been on tours with, which possibly spread to others we interacted with before he knew. Unlike our last cruise, there was actually room to sit around the pool. After 2 visits I discovered there were 2 pools. :} (Amazing how long it takes to orient to the ships). There were always available tables and chairs when we went. Food: Because we were doing so many long shore excursions and traveling alone, we opted for the open seating which we thoroughly enjoyed. We were seated almost immediately and we met many wonderful people each night. When we walked thru the lower dining room we were able to greet many from previous dinners, or tours. This is a relatively small ship so you see lots of familiar faces each day- especially with the CC group. (btw, the meet and greet is worth going to) We learned that if you are seated at a large table (10 or so) that service is very slow. You wait for the table to fill before ordering. You wait for all to eat each course before the next. You skip dessert or take it with you so you can get to the show. You can also request a window table if you smile pretty. :} The food was good. I appreciate that the portions are smaller than we have had on previous cruises. I don’t have restraint so less is good. I felt free to order two healthy starters. Sometime about the 5th day I happened to ask the waiter (all of them are wonderful) if there was any way to get vegetables. I was craving veggies because those on the menu are mostly for decoration. a few slivers of something. He asked me if I wanted steamed, roasted, boiled…? Oh, JOY! he brought us a platter of mixed steamed veggies. Hubby and I downed those before our meal. We continued to order veggies thru the trip. Many items on the menu had alcohol, lessening our options to choose from.. Lots of seafood, which was good for me, maybe not for others. Menu got repetitive when limited. We also discovered a diabetic menu with yummy options. Too late. Tap water every night for us by our choice. At the end of the cruise I discovered herb tea hidden at the check in desk in the DR. One later reviewer mentioned there was fruit juice. I would have killed for it if I had known. Night snacking...we went to bed before the 'good stuff' came out, as we discovered one later night. Pinnacle was better than Canaletto, BUT we had complimentary tickets with our cruise purchase. I wouldn't pay extra for it. Service was very good. We chose to do them (reservation) on our sea days. For the first time ever, at the beginning of the cruise, we ordered our breakfast in due to an early start. It was there, it was good, I wanted to do it again. Hubby didn’t want to. I think he feels guilty. I now know after booking our next cruise on NCL that room service isn’t free anymore. WHAT? We then ate breakfast in the Lido cafeteria area many times when we had excursions and no time to wait in DR. It was impossible to find a table so we just started joining (butting in politely) with other diners that had empty spaces. Often there were tables with dirty dishes but we didn’t know if they were taken. The service was still very good and they tried hard to help us. Hubby loved the ‘egg lady’ and how she made omelets. It wasn’t until the last 2 days or so I saw someone at the pool with a HUGE chef salad and I was so craving a salad. The hunt was on. You can tell when you have been deprived. :} Another reviewer posted the staff will cook you something you request. I didn’t know they would alter the nightly menu because I did ask if alcohol could be left out and was told no. Activities/entertainment: Mediocre to great. Our favorite nightly was the mini orchestra group. I forgot their name, in the Lincoln center. Always crowded but it was nice to sit in the back and listen to the end of the program after dinner. On mainstage, the best was possibly Julian Gargiulo, pianist. The worst was the night of Flamenco dancers. We usually had a long lull after the mainstage show, wandering around looking for something to do before retiring. Nothing much to do. I didn’t go for the lively music in the freezing queens lounge. Not because of the music, it was good, just the discomfort. I would have loved to have had the Lincoln center open during that time so we could relax before going to bed. I found the show at Billboard not really worthy of my time but there were always people there with drink in hand. TV. Unlike other cruises, we finally have a very nice assortment of movies to choose from. Those shown in the theater were of no interest. Several days into the cruise we found the game lounge which had some nice options. For the most part, there wasn’t really much to do on the ship if you don’t want to listen to other people. No real outside activities. Some organized games we weren’t interested in. We just enjoyed the ride with fresh air from our balcony. Staff: I found the cruise director kind of annoying. Sorry. The Shore Excursion specialist Linda was pretty useless most of the time and I think we knew more than she did because of our research and planning. For example at a meeting about Gibraltar. Do the Taxis go all the way to the top? Does the tram? Can you walk up to the top from the tram? She beat around the bush and didn’t give an answer. Several of us wanted to know. She said she hadn’t been so didn’t know. That is her job. She had to be new to the route? When it came to departure for excursions, we never knew where we were supposed to go. The announcement said to look for a sign at the elevator. On the last excursion day I saw a 8x11 paper inside 1 elevator stating which floor to go to. I had been looking outside the elevators. Silly me. We often went in circles. Major props go out to the front desk staff. As mentioned earlier, my father-in-law had died and we had a remote funeral to attend. Elisabeth,from Munich, bent over backwards to help us with our needs. Unfortunately the staff was not ‘able’ to help us with our need to deal with a funeral. We paid just like everyone else for bad wifi to email out (make a copy before you send in case it doesn’t go thru) a tribute hubby spent our first sea day writing. Our room team Agung and Aries were amazing. Dining room staff -amazing. All in all, we would love to sail HAL again. I just post negatives and tips so others are aware, just as I hope to read in other reviews. I am a big trip advisor reviewer and don’t put much weight on a ‘perfect’ with no comment review. :} There were LOTS of very negative ‘never again’ reviews. Like a previous reviewer stated…’Were we on the same ship?”. I agree completely. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2016
The only reason I'm giving it a 2 instead of a negative 200 is because there were some positives 1. The ship was docked for long periods of time and there were only 2 sea days which was great because the actual cruise line is so ... Read More
The only reason I'm giving it a 2 instead of a negative 200 is because there were some positives 1. The ship was docked for long periods of time and there were only 2 sea days which was great because the actual cruise line is so horrible it was nice to really enjoy being off the ship and in beautiful locations. 2. Some of the staff members were great 2 to be exact and although this is a negative review I will be giving my compliments directly to Holland America just because they were the only 2 staff members who made the trip decent. (I also thought the cruise photographers were really sweet) So onto the negatives... 1. The food. The food on Holland America is actually so disgusting I would ever call it inedible. I don't know if I should blame Americans for this or Holland Americas stereotypes about Americans for this one. They basically serve the standard hospital food quality menu/terrible sweet sixteen type food... (1 chicken, 1 steak, 1 fish, and a vegetarian entree which I'm positive no vegetarian in their right mind would create) There really is no other option other than American cuisine... they can respond back and say they have ethnic dishes but its really all just bland boring American food sometimes disguised as exotic dishes. I asked them why the food is so stereotypical of what Americans eat and why they don't have any variety and they said "well the crew gets to eat Indonesian food and Indian food and Chinese food" ok so they just assume most people on the ship have pallets that of an 8 year old child? It's literally like a kids menu.... and the food is just horrible!! It comes out cold its vile its sickening its overcooked or undercooked its just horrible. 2. THE FOOD. Do not waste your money on the specialty restaurants!!! they use all the same ingredients as the main dining room... it is a huge, disgusting scam....ever with their special le cirque dinner! which actually made me sick. Not only did it make me sick but the staff was horrible. They gave my mother a raw piece of meat that she ordered medium and the waiter said "well if you hold the steak up to different lighting it isn't as rare" ... ARE YOU SERIOUS??? what an idiot.... And the caesar salad is the exact same as in the main dining room so I said why does it cost extra to eat here if its the same exact salad... so the woman responds "well all caesar salads are the same everywhere you go"... Im wondering is everyone on Holland America just completely stupid? 3. They also made some other really unprofessional mix ups and mistakes that I can't even get into on cruise critic because I need to write an actual formal complaint with corporate about before saying anything on here but.... DO NOT waste your time on a Holland America cruise.... it is the worst cruise line ever... and I've been on over 25 cruises. oh wait just a tip: do not book their shore excursions they are hideously over priced and if you book your own excursions not with america you will save yourself over 75% of the cost. oh and definitely do not see the shows on board the entertainment is so bad. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
The cruise was chosen as a good value option with interesting ports. It delivered in some areas, not so good in others. The brilliant - 1 service was faultless both in dining and staterooms 2 the stateroom was roomy, clean and ... Read More
The cruise was chosen as a good value option with interesting ports. It delivered in some areas, not so good in others. The brilliant - 1 service was faultless both in dining and staterooms 2 the stateroom was roomy, clean and light 3 embarkation & disembarkation left Celebrity for dead The average - 1 the entertainment ranged from very good to don't bother 2 the choice of ports was unimaginative. Spain and Greece were overdone, and opportunities to visit North Africa, Malta and Sicily missed 3 excursions were expensive The worse than average - 1 as mentioned in another review, staff weren't especially helpful to passengers doing their own thing in a port. Also, the written info provided was average. For example, in Katakolon, the map provided failed to show the railway station! There are only 3 streets in the town. 2 the tv entertainment in staterooms, as regards news, was poor. Like Celebrity, HAL must take the cheapest feed. Consequently BBC was forever giving us updates on South American weather, and the scope of news coverage was poor. 3 the coffee in the buffet was worse than airline coffee. Thank God for tea bags Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
EMBARKATION AND DEBARKATION 5.0 Embarkation was an overnight stop in Barcelona. I arrived late (as expected) and was handled quite efficiently. Debarkation was a Monday in Fort Lauderdale and was reasonably efficient; the usual weekend ... Read More
EMBARKATION AND DEBARKATION 5.0 Embarkation was an overnight stop in Barcelona. I arrived late (as expected) and was handled quite efficiently. Debarkation was a Monday in Fort Lauderdale and was reasonably efficient; the usual weekend chaos at FLL was absent. CABIN 5.0 Standard size and comfortable, although with an unusual L-shaped configuration. The bathroom has the standard size and layout, with a single medicine cabinet rather than double shelving. The mid-ships elevators have an odd, three-bank configuration, where a number of outside balcony cabins were replaced with scenic elevators. An expensive arrangement which doesn't work all that well. DINING 5.0 Main Dining Room Huge portions of bland American comfort food. Numerous choices, although no separate salad or pasta courses. Little excitement, few surprizes. If this is what you want, they do it well. Service was "average"- not bad, but didn't live up to the marketing hype. But formal nights were a farce, even though HAL is so uptight they even put it on the boarding pass (HAL may say that plaid sports jackets with orange polka-dot bowties are formalwear, but that doesn't make it so). Perhaps half actually wore something which was properly formal. Buffet Mostly cafeteria service, rather than true buffet. Pasta and desserts available to 1:00 AM, although I was usually the only passenger after midnight; the "midnight" buffet was already finished. A little more attention to detail is required- for example there was no holder for the bread tongs, they ended up being placed on top of the bread. Ample hand sanitizer stations were available, but there was no enforcement. Pinnacle Grill- Lavish presentation, but the food was not really much better than the MDR. Not worth the extra money. FITNESS AND RECREATION 2.0 Fitness Room. No one I talked to reported any difficulty with overcrowding. The equipment seems to be good quality and in good condition. For some reason, the scale is calibrated in kilograms. Do not expect many physical-fitness oriented activities. Although HAL has a reputation for "wheelchairs and walkers", I did not see many, and the ones I met had a positive, "can-do" attitude. But I saw a large number of very fat (BMI's of 50, maybe even 60) passengers. I'm a 60-year-old guy with a heart condition, but I felt like oneof the most active and energetic people on board. ENTERTAINMENT 2.0 Shows The comments I heard indicated shows ranged from good to mediocre. Cooking Displays I did not attend any cooking displays, nor did I hear any comments from those who did. Some were extra cost. Event Evenings There were two major evening events, a 50's night and a Black-and-White ball. Both were crowded for about an hour, then everyone left. Exciting only in comparison to other activity on board. Cinema Seating is comfortable but limited; signs are already posted about not bringing extra seats. ENRICHMENT 1.0 For a ship with 2000 passengers on a Transatlantic crossing, there was not much choice, although it seemed to be adequate for demand. The topics seemed generally interesting, although I admit I did not attend the napkin folding lecture. LGBT activities were scheduled almost every evening; also some sort of religious service every morning. I did not attend either, so I cannot provide any details. PUBLIC ROOMS 1.0 Apparently there is a problem with old people trying to dance and falling down, so the ship puts sticky goo on all the dance floors. This makes it very dangerous to dance until it wears off, about two or three days. But there isn't much demand, most people go to bed by 11 PM. Ocean Bar The house band is given music by HAL, and that's all they are allowed to play. Dreary, dismal stuff, at least a generation out of date. The group on this sailing was from Mexico and spoke limited English, so I am not sure how much flexibility they had regarding tempos and requests. They did play til 11:30 PM, but very few couples danced, the room was often empty. Queens Room A multipurpose room, used mostly for cooking demonstrations, rarely for dancing. The dance floor is a decent size, but normally occupied by extra seating. There were a few evening activities, once even until midnight. Crow's Nest A large, attractive lounge, used mostly as a piano (or guitar) bar; often reserved for private parties. Disco The DJ tried very hard to find out what music passengers wanted. But the busiest I ever saw the disco was 9 people- most nights, none at all. The disco bar is a smoking area for the casino. Library/Internet A decently sized library. Food available for purchase. Internet seemed to function at normal speed for a ship. Casino Operates on a semi-cashless system. The machines will take cash, but only credit your winnings back to your cabin account. Quite a few 1-cent and 2-cent machines. SERVICE 4.0 Not bad, but doesn't live up to the marketing hype. The Cruise Director did the usual shameless begging for inflated survey ratings; worse, partly-completed surveys disappeared from some cabins, including mine. SHORE EXCURSIONS Not evaluated. But there was no effort to decontaminate passengers or bags returning. Steam cleaning of carpets was not done until night. One woman actually boasted about bringing local food on board. The ship must be assumed to have been contaminated with any local microbes at every port stop. VALUE FOR MONEY 5.0 or 1.0, depending on your interests If you want "Florida Retirement Home" ambiance with huge amounts of food, then this ship is an excellent choice. But if "life begins at 10 PM", stay far away - you will be travelling with some of the most boring people I have ever met. Those with racial prejudices will be happy- passengers are white, servers are brown, blacks are not to be seen. The Oosterdam did not strike me as a happy ship. The corporate MBA's in Seattle need to stop worrying about the survey system which is obviously flawed, and spend more time on board. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2009
The cruise started on the right foot because about 2 weeks prior to travel we received an e-mail giving us the opportunity of upgrading from our inside cabin to a veranda. It took about 1 second to make the decision. The veranda cabin wass ... Read More
The cruise started on the right foot because about 2 weeks prior to travel we received an e-mail giving us the opportunity of upgrading from our inside cabin to a veranda. It took about 1 second to make the decision. The veranda cabin wass terrific. We arrived in Barcelona a 2 days prior to boarding the ship to provide time for sampling Barcelona. We did this with another couple and did not use HAL for any of the bookings. We had opted for a 3 day Barcelona card which would provide us with transportation from the airport to the vicinity of our hotel and then 2 days of sightseeing. A waste of time and money. We only used it for the trip from the airport. We should have taken a taxi, more convenient and less expensive in the long run. We had to take a bus from terminal 1 to terminal 2 for the Renfe. When we arrived at the train stop for our hotel, we were faced with schlepping 3 suitcases up 3 flights of stairs. My wife's back was bothering her so I did all the schlepping. She waited on landing to keep an eye on the suitcases while I dragged them up the stairs to the street level. Not recommended. We then tried to find the hotel which was close by. Ha. Try to find someone who knows where the hotel was located worked after several attempts. The hotel was a good choice. near Las Ramblas. We weren't on the same flights with our friends. They arrived about an hour earlier. Our friends were not so lucky in getting from the train station to the hotel. On the way up the stairs to the street level, a 'friendly person helped with one suitcase by grabbing it and turning one of them around. When she arrrived at street level she had all her suitcases but was missing one wallet. After that event Barcelona was great. We were there for Patron Saint Day and saw some great costumes. We boarded the ship without incidence after that. The ship spent the first night in Barcelona so we had another day there. The first port was Monaco. Very nice. There was a yacht show taking place and the large yachts in port were magnificent. The next port was Livorno and we had hired a car and driver. We used Tuscany by Taxi and our driver was Ricardo. Well worth the price. Ricardo knew his way around Tuscany and got us in fornt of the line whenever possible. Of course, Firenze was beautiful. Next stop was Civitavecchia and we took the train into Rome. Ah, Rome. so packed with sights to see. Next stop was Messina. The clock tower in the Duomo is not to be missed. We then had a sea day and the next port was Nafplion. We took a tour from the ship to Epidurals and Palamidi Castle. Well worth it. Our next port was Katakolon and we opted to walk around town on our own. The next ports were Corfu, Dubrovnik and our final destination, Venice. In Venice we took a tour through Viatour and it was excellent. One bad note on this trip. I had became ill and wetn to the medical clinic. My care was excellent but the clinic was woefully organized. The nurses and doctor all had problems locating the supplies they needed. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2009
We booked our Oosterdam cruise over a year ago after our return on the same ship in August of 2008 in Alaska. Our Alaska cruise had been so fabulous that we were excited to book the same ship in Europe! A place that was sure to excite ... Read More
We booked our Oosterdam cruise over a year ago after our return on the same ship in August of 2008 in Alaska. Our Alaska cruise had been so fabulous that we were excited to book the same ship in Europe! A place that was sure to excite the whole family! We asked for main dining over a year ago and was never granted our wish. I will say however that even tho it was a pain to call every morning for dinner reservations, the reservations guy was so nice to get us the same table and waiter every night for the 12 night cruise. Part of our enjoyment of cruising is having fixed dining every night. Our waiter, Arun was the highlight of our cruise! He was absolutely a wonderful person and dedicated hard worker! We decided to go to Barcelona 2 days early since we were travelling with our children (13 and 11) and my parents (both in their 80s). We arrived in Barcelona only to be ripped off in the taxicabs and dumped in front of our hotel on Las Ramblas. While my parents watched the luggage that my husband and i were transporting into the hotel, my husband's computer was stolen right from under my mother's nose. The hotel manager just shrugged his shoulders and said, "it happens". We spent the first night in Spain, in the police station. While we decided to try to have a good time, since we were embarking on our cruise, we took another taxi (that again, totally ripped us off by traveling to the ship which was about 10 mins away and they charged us $90) we deposited our luggage with the holland america staff and proceeded on our journey. We entered our large cabin (we had actually asked not to be upgraded as we had one of the largest inside cabins that you can have and with a family of four, that was important) around 130pm which was very nice and received 6 of our 7 bags all in the matter of about 2hours. We inquired about the 7th bag and they told us that sometimes larger bags get separated and not to worry it would come by 9pm. Off to dinner we went and by 1030pm still no bag. After already having been robbed, we were not pleased. We stood in the enormous line at the front desk and inquired about our bag. I was getting very irritated and demanded that it come that evening. Finally we received the bag with some excuse that we had written the wrong room number on it and it was delivered to the wrong state room which we knew was not true. If it was delivered to the wrong stateroom, just tell me and i'm fine with the truth! We stayed overnight in Spain and the next day finally set sail for 9 ports. It was a very exhausting and grueling trip especially since you feel compelled to tour around all the ports since you may never get back to these places again. It was very difficult on my 82 year old father and he finally stopped getting off because there was so much walking involved! Everyday it was between 95 and 100 degrees fahrenheit with complete sun. Not that i'm complaining but it was brutally hot every single day. One of the reasons that we cruise is that there is always something for everyone and with children that is important. Our daughter turned 13 and was very excited to be finally joining the teen group. I had my reservations since I feel there is a big difference between a 13 year old and a 17 year old and I expressed that to the staff. They assured me that everything would be fine. Everynight was a battle with her since the "teens" had a planned program that started at 1130pm in the disco and ended at 1am. My husband and I felt that that was too late for a 13year especially since we were taking port excursions leaving around 8 am most mornings. So everynight we battled with our child over this disco. Each night begrudgingly she came in at 1130 but was unhappy to attend the disco. In general the children could have cared less about the ports and more about the "friends" that they had made on the ship. Our particular date had the most children that HAL has ever had in their history over their entire fleet of ships....200. Needless to say that presented additional challenges. The ports were lovely but hot, the food was very good, the service in the Vista dining by Arun was suberb, our wine steward, Arnold was outstanding so things were going ok. By the second week we were eating dinner and our daughter and her friend came to our dinner table to inform us that our son (11years old) had been hurt, was crying and that the children's program staff had left us a message in our stateroom. He had been attacked by a 14year boy, chased 10 flights of stairs, choked and drug back up the stairs to the club HAL crying and barely breathing. This all happened on the first floor in front of the front desk and no one did anything. We called security and confronted the single mother who was aboard ship with her two other children. She seemed clueless and definitely had no idea how to control her children. The security officer warned the child who proceeded to stalk my son and his other little friends to point that he had to sleep with us at night and we had to follow him around at all times with the phone close by at all times in order to call security. The boys were walk the perimeter of the pool intimidating the little boys and then sit at the bar and stare at my husband and i. It was hard to imagine that we had a "gang" on our ship but we did. We got to the point that we couldn't wait for this expensive vacation to end and all we wanted to do was go home. When we got off the ship, the people on the ground were rude and very unhelpful. The briefing that we received to disembark never once mentioned that you needed to take a bus to the luggage terminal. After retrieving the luggage, we had to sit in the Venice airport for 10 hours waiting for our return flight home. We had had hopes of walking around Venice before the flight took off, which we did do alittle of but it cost $60+ dollars to "store" your luggage at the airport. When we finally got to the time we could check in, Aer Lingus wasn't going to allow us the luggage that we were allowed on the way over so that was a fight for about 30mins. We finally boarded the late flight and flew to Dublin where we had a layover til the next morning. We went from 104 degrees in Venice to 40 degrees in Dublin and stood in a 40+min taxi line to just go to the hotel at the airport that we had booked ahead of time. We did have a very nice room and very nice people that eventually helped us and the taxi drivers weren't rude or didn't try to rip us off. When we finally boarded our USAIR flight to Philadelphia, my seat was broken and the stewardesses were rude and unhelpful. I wasn't going to sit forward for 7.5 hours and they were just plain rude. We had two bathrooms in our section of the plane. One bathroom was broken before we left and consequently the whole plane smelled like urine. They squirted some cinnamon spray inside and just wrote a note, "out of order". This left only one bathroom for most of the plane to use for almost 8 hours. Needless to say it wasn't pretty. The best part of the trip was arriving HOME! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2009
    I and my husband (we 30 and over) took this cruise based on itinerary. It's our fifth cruise so we knew what to expect, we knew how it should be.  ... Read More
    I and my husband (we 30 and over) took this cruise based on itinerary. It's our fifth cruise so we knew what to expect, we knew how it should be.  /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}     We booked cruise shuttle from airport to the ship (only one thing which we booked through the cruise, because everything overprice). People in airport was slow and confused, did not know what to do with extra luggage event it was not full bus, but we got to the ship fine, embarkation was very quick and we were in a ship in10 min. We got there maybe 12:30, waited for room maybe 20 min.     Room was nice (a little old fashion, but its older ship so we expected that),enough space for luggage, nice size balcony. Then looked around, ship was clean,  small compare to previous cruise ships, atrium tiny. A lot of hand sanitizers all over the ship, we liked that, because we have been on the ship with norvovirus (no fun), but sad is that not a lot of people using them. Luggage came quick to the room. We packed 2 bottles of wine and wine opener of course. This way you don't need to pay any opening charges.      We had open seating for dinner, I think that's the way to go, because some days cruise leaves from ports after nine, this way you choose when to eat. Most of the stuff was Indonesian (mostly guys) and not all with the best manners.      Barcelona. We stayed overnight there. We walked first night to La Rambla street, it's about 30 min walk. A lot of young people there, a lot of scary people (you afraid that they will steal something and something like that), trying to sell some cans or who know what. But city itself very nice. Next morning we went back to La Rambla, this time took port bus (3 Euros round trip or 2 one way).Then we took the Hop on hop of 2 deck bus  (21 Euros per person one day), we took blue route, then I wanted to take red route but it was long line waiting to get on them and route take about 2 hours, so we didn't have enough time to do that (time change mixed our plans, we slept too long that morning). We just walked around, we used McDonald's restrooms for free, and then walked back to the ship (didn't want to wait in line for port bus). Before that I gave my Hop on hop of bus tickets away to one couple, they gave me 10 euros, so it worked well. When we walked we saw already people attending drill with the wests, we didn't go. How silly to do that, when people still ashore. I am Europe union member so I got letter that I need to bring my passport to front desk. We did, but front desk not helpful we heard so many different stories from them why they need my passport. Next day they where collecting U.S. and Canada citizen. My husband didn't give them, so they did a copy and said they will call in a room in case they would need to check original, never did.  (It's good idea to have certified copy, in case somebody would lose it.).       Monaco, Monte Carlo That morning we got the note, that we need to attend drill, but note came at 10am, drill was scheduled for 9 am, so we missed it again . They had tender boats from the ship to shore. We got there early so they announced that we can get on tender boats early, when we got to them, they announced that now will go only people who booked excursions, cruise director  Jason Venner was blocking the stairs checking  excursion stickers. He was rude, he said that now we need to wait almost an hour, but the boats were almost empty, so we sneaked in them anyway. EXPECT TO BE TREATED DIFFERENT IF YOU DON'T BOOK SHIPS EXCURSIONS. WHEN YOU GETTING OUT FROM THE SHIP THERE IS NOBODY TO GUIDE YOU WHERE TO GO.     In Monaco it's easy to walk (my easy means - people who fit), it's beautiful there. We walked first up to prince palace, then down toward casino (IF YOU WANT TO GO THERE, DRESS NICE AND KEEP YOUR PASSPORT, the reason for that, they don't let gamble for Monaco people.  They have beach there (not the best one), but if you planning to go there bring water shoes (rubber shoes); all beaches which we saw on a trip had a lot of rocks. Restrooms in Monaco was free, some places had plate so you can put some money if you want. It's just nice to walk there, peeked in Casino, and didn't go in.      On a ship it's really not a lot what to do. We didn't go to all shows; it was enough 2 first ones. The dancers not good, not graceful, singers just ok. I liked there costumes liked how stage moves, rotates. The last show with the car was o k, but it was more like a play, not a lot of dancing.  During the day most of the people ashore, then they go eat dinner, would be nice to use pool or hot tub after that  (GOOD LUCK,THEY CLOSED AT 7PM ,HOT TUB AT 9PM, sometimes even earlier with no notice. Back pool supposes to be adult, but nobody controlled that. It seemed that a lot of things cruise employees did for there convenient, it's always would be closed areas in buffet for stuff members, saw few couples of working people, I don't need to see their romances. We saw once how they where closing curtains in buffet on people heads. A lot of times I would bump in the worker, guess who needed to move ME, they didn't. Rush to eat before nine, otherwise you not find a lot, buffet after 9 will have just pizza and dessert, you can get room service (that's kind a nice thing) but menu limited, after 10 only few things you can get from them.    Internet cafe nice, together with the library, close to bar. We got 100 min for 55 $ plus 3.95 onetime connection fee. The internet really slow and in a lot of port we saw internet cafes, so if you don't need it for work better to take your own computer and go ashore, faster and cheaper.    Front desk always looked mean if you would have any questions. When our TV broke (power problems) we called them every 10 min, they didn't liked that, after over than hour they fixed the problem.   Next stop Livorno  Remember, you can't walk in port, only taxi or shuttle can be used. We didn't know that, we walked back, but then they told us to wait for shuttle (200 meters was left) we didn't pay, but usually it's 5 Euros for the day, it takes to Piazza grande.. We decided to take train to Florence, taxis from port to train 20 Euros, so try to find who would share it. I asked whoever I saw, we found one couple. Got round trip tickets (27 Euros round trip for both).  Train times were on July  8:11, 9:11, 10:11 don't forget to validate them in a yellow machine in train station, they don't have them in the train. But one couple forgot to do that; conductor said them to write date on a ticket. We got out at Firenze S.M.N.  Before that stop was Firenze stop. Don't get mix up. It's everything so close in Florence, easy to walk. We didn't go to any galleries or museums, so had enough time to stop at Pizza on the way back to Livorno. Train times 2:27, 3:27, 4:27, 5:27 we validated our ticket, got out at pizza stop, then used the same ticket back to Livorno. From the train station you can get on bus, but it's only 15- 20 min walk, you can't see tower from there, ask people. We went straight from the station, and then saw when to turn left. From Pizza train times where 3:45, 4:34, 5:34, 5:45    From Livorno train station took no 1 bus (that would work if you get cruise shuttle from piazza grande,but we didn't know that, so from the stop closest to ship we walked, a lot. So or share taxi, o pay for shuttle and from there no 1 bus (cost euro or something like that)      Civitavecchia From ship shuttle took us to port gate (for free, its only 5 min walk maybe 10) then we walked to train station, just few blocks straight ahead. (10 min). Got round trip tickets. Times where 8:41 , 8:59, 9:17, 9:41, 9:59. They gave without asking B.I.R.G (18 Euros for both of us), its work for buses and metro in Rome too. It's a lot of stops in Rome S Peters close to Vatican. But you can get out on the last one, then take bus, depend where you want to go. We got out at Ostensia stop, took bus to Coliseum (bus 60 if I am fight, I just asked people all the time). We waited in line for tickets 45 to 60 min. 12 Euros per person, for Europe union members 7.50 so get your passport if you want to get discount. We went to complain about that in front desk, after talking with supervisor,they said they will put difference on our card, guess what, they didn't so last day we needed to talk about that (and it's not about 4.5 Euros it's principle) but they looked at us like we would be crazy. This entire passport situation made a lot of problem for a lot of people. They just needed to inform about that in their website, don't you think?     Then we took the bus to Fontana trevi (we asked people again, which no to take). You can't see it from the bus stop, so ask somebody let you know where to get out. It seems confusing but it's really not. Then we took bus 62, it took us to Vatican. That we saw from bus stop. Then 40 or 64 bus back to train station, we went to Roma centrale, this way more likely you'll get seat. Trains comfortable and clean, restrooms not really. Times back were2:09, 2:39, 3:09, 3:39, 4:09, 4:39, 5:09, 5:14, 5:39, 6:05.   Messina, Sicily  we got in port at 2pm.  We wanted to take train to Toarmina, train station is walk able distance from the ship, but we got there close to 3 o clock, next train was at 4:05, we didn't want to wait, so stayed there. Train times from Taormina to Messina 3:55pm, 5:22, 6:41, 7:13, 8:36 (it's about hour ride)    It's really nothing what to do in messina, first everything close till 5 or who knows. It's really dirty in a streets, even poop (I hope it's just dogs), my husband decided to fish there, so we bought fishing rod and all other stuff (25 Euros we spent) and he fished for hour and a half, then I started to see strange people around, one guy was using some drugs from the bag, other kid (maybe 10) was smoking, a lot of people smoke in Europe. So we decided go back to the ship with the fishing rod, no problem.    Sea day finally we can relax and not rush anywhere. It was second formal night, first was on second Barcelona day. They had crab legs that day for appetizer. Finally they had karaoke, we went there, the list of songs was a mess, not all song artists in there, one girl was singing when we got there, the cd was scratched, cruise director was laughing, next to him some employee women was laughing with him, they were really "lovie-duvie" and then he's "ok, try again, first tell about yourself, but he's not intelligent, he even didn't lift his butt to feel this poor girl better, all karaoke was like a joke. So we left. Tats it, no more karaoke nights (so don't spent time practicing).    Navplion, Greece  They had tender boats there. We stayed there, its cute city. We walked by fortress and found road to beach, it was small, rocky beach, so we sat in there, had some drinks, just relaxed.    Katakolon  We decided to take train to Olympia, the train station close to ship,5-8 min walk, it looks like restroom building, very small. Tracks start there. First train was 8:36am, its only 2 wagon train which goes to Olympia and back (I think it's only one train). Cost 6 Euros for both of us round trip. From train it's close to Olympia site place. Tickets 6 Euros each, 9 if you want to see site seen and museum.  Then we took 12:05 train back, walked in Katakolon and back to ship.   Corfu We didn't plan anything there, just got out and walked, a lot. They had ships shuttle (16$ round trip, 9$ one way to old town.) We walked there in 30 min, then went to fortress (4 Euros each) its nice view from there. Restroom I used in McDonald, but you need code on receipt to open the door, or just wait for somebody walk in or out. Then we found tiny beach in a cafe territory, paid 1.4 Euros entrance fee, they had changing rooms, 1.5 Euros for sun beds, towers you can take from the ship. They return passports that day.   Dubrovnik  Ship had shuttle 16$ round trip,9$ one way to pile gate (old town). Don't do that, there is a public bus right there, take mokosica-pile bus,we paid 20 kunas it's about 3 Euros for both of us. Old town very pretty, then we walked to the beach, it was one closer, but we walked more and found more quiet, nice beach, with rocks of course. It didn't cost, just rented sun beds 20 kunos each (3 euro) they took Euros. Then back to the bus and back to ship.  That night ship had dessert extravaganza, it was nice, I missed strawberries dipped in chocolate, and they had a lot of cakes, crapes, some hand size desserts, but nothing too crazy.  Next day Venice  We loved Venice. We stayed there one extra night after cruise, so we bought 23H bus and water bus tickets, 23euros each. We used them a lot. They go from Piazzale Roma. About 25 min. from the ship. One way would be 6, 50 Euros per person. 12h ticket for land and water bus 16 Euros per person. Gondola rides 80euros, but you can find somebody to share the ride, 6 people fit, then the price not so bad. If you just want to go one time to Piazza San Marco then just use right there alilaguna water taxi, 6,5 one way. On Venice day you can set your credit card, you can adjust  tips which they adding automatically, Next morning we paid in cash what we owned to the ship, ate last breakfast and rolled with the luggage to the bus stop, took no.  5 bus to Russot hotel,  then went back to the city.      We had a lot of fun, from ship we expected more, but we saw nice places, had nice room with balcony (where we spent most of the time when in ship), had decent food. So we will have only nice memories about this trip. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2009
I and my husband (we 30 and over) took this cruise based on itinerary. It's our fifth cruise so we knew what to expect, we knew how it should be. We booked cruise shuttle from airport to the ship (only one thing which we booked ... Read More
I and my husband (we 30 and over) took this cruise based on itinerary. It's our fifth cruise so we knew what to expect, we knew how it should be. We booked cruise shuttle from airport to the ship (only one thing which we booked through the cruise, because everything overprice). People in airport was slow and confused, did not know what to do with extra luggage event it was not full bus, but we got to the ship fine, embarkation was very quick and we were in a ship in10 min. We got there maybe 12:30, waited for room maybe 20 min. Room was nice (a little old fashion, but its older ship so we expected that),enough space for luggage, nice size balcony. Then looked around, ship was clean, small compare to previous cruise ships, atrium tiny. A lot of hand sanitizers all over the ship, we liked that, because we have been on the ship with norvovirus (no fun), but sad is that not a lot of people using them. Luggage came quick to the room. We packed 2 bottles of wine and wine opener of course. This way you don't need to pay any opening charges. We had open seating for dinner, I think that's the way to go, because some days cruise leaves from ports after nine, this way you choose when to eat. Most of the stuff was Indonesian (mostly guys) and not all with the best manners. Barcelona. We stayed overnight there. We walked first night to La Rambla street, it's about 30 min walk. A lot of young people there, a lot of scary people (you afraid that they will steal something and something like that), trying to sell some cans or who know what. But city itself very nice. Next morning we went back to La Rambla, this time took port bus (3 Euros round trip or 2 one way).Then we took the Hop on hop of 2 deck bus (21 Euros per person one day), we took blue route, then I wanted to take red route but it was long line waiting to get on them and route take about 2 hours, so we didn't have enough time to do that (time change mixed our plans, we slept too long that morning). We just walked around, we used McDonald's restrooms for free, and then walked back to the ship (didn't want to wait in line for port bus). Before that I gave my Hop on hop of bus tickets away to one couple, they gave me 10 euros, so it worked well. When we walked we saw already people attending drill with the wests, we didn't go. How silly to do that, when people still ashore. I am Europe union member so I got letter that I need to bring my passport to front desk. We did, but front desk not helpful we heard so many different stories from them why they need my passport. Next day they where collecting U.S. and Canada citizen. My husband didn't give them, so they did a copy and said they will call in a room in case they would need to check original, never did. (It's good idea to have certified copy, in case somebody would lose it.). Monaco, Monte Carlo That morning we got the note, that we need to attend drill, but note came at 10am, drill was scheduled for 9 am, so we missed it again . They had tender boats from the ship to shore. We got there early so they announced that we can get on tender boats early, when we got to them, they announced that now will go only people who booked excursions, cruise director Jason Venner was blocking the stairs checking excursion stickers. He was rude, he said that now we need to wait almost an hour, but the boats were almost empty, so we sneaked in them anyway. EXPECT TO BE TREATED DIFERENT IF YOU DON'T BOOK SHIPS EXCURSIONS. WHEN YOU GETTING OUT FROM THE SHIP THERE IS NOBADY TO GUIDE YOU WHERE TO GO. In Monaco it's easy to walk (my easy means - people who fit), it's beautiful there. We walked first up to prince palace, then down toward casino (IF YOU WANT TO GO THERE, DRESS NICE AND KEEP YOUR PASSPORT, the reason for that, they don't let gamble for Monaco people. They have beach there (not the best one), but if you planning to go there bring water shoes (rubber shoes); all beaches which we saw on a trip had a lot of rocks. Restrooms in Monaco was free, some places had plate so you can put some money if you want. It's just nice to walk there, peeked in Casino, and didn't go in. On a ship it's really not a lot what to do. We didn't go to all shows; it was enough 2 first ones. The dancers not good, not graceful, singers just ok. I liked there costumes liked how stage moves, rotates. The last show with the car was o k, but it was more like a play, not a lot of dancing. During the day most of the people ashore, then they go eat dinner, would be nice to use pool or hot tub after that (GOOD LUCK,THEY CLOSED AT 7PM ,HOT TUB AT 9PM, sometimes even earlier with no notice. Back pool supposes to be adult, but nobody controlled that. It seemed that a lot of things cruise employees did for there convenient, it's always would be closed areas in buffet for stuff members, saw few couples of working people, I don't need to see their romances. We saw once how they where closing curtains in buffet on people heads. A lot of times I would bump in the worker, guess who needed to move ME, they didn't. Rush to eat before nine, otherwise you not find a lot, buffet after 9 will have just pizza and dessert, you can get room service (that's kind a nice thing) but menu limited, after 10 only few things you can get from them. Internet cafe nice, together with the library, close to bar. We got 100 min for 55 $ plus 3.95 onetime connection fee. The internet really slow and in a lot of port we saw internet cafes, so if you don't need it for work better to take your own computer and go ashore, faster and cheaper. Front desk always looked mean if you would have any questions. When our TV broke (power problems) we called them every 10 min, they didn't liked that, after over than hour they fixed the problem. Next stop Livorno Remember, you can't walk in port, only taxi or shuttle can be used. We didn't know that, we walked back, but then they told us to wait for shuttle (200 meters was left) we didn't pay, but usually it's 5 Euros for the day, it takes to Piazza grande.. We decided to take train to Florence, taxis from port to train 20 Euros, so try to find who would share it. I asked whoever I saw, we found one couple. Got round trip tickets (27 Euros round trip for both). Train times were on July 8:11, 9:11, 10:11 don't forget to validate them in a yellow machine in train station, they don't have them in the train. But one couple forgot to do that; conductor said them to write date on a ticket. We got out at Firenze S.M.N. Before that stop was Firenze stop. Don't get mix up. It's everything so close in Florence, easy to walk. We didn't go to any galleries or museums, so had enough time to stop at Pizza on the way back to Livorno. Train times 2:27, 3:27, 4:27, 5:27 we validated our ticket, got out at pizza stop, then used the same ticket back to Livorno. From the train station you can get on bus, but it's only 15- 20 min walk, you can't see tower from there, ask people. We went straight from the station, and then saw when to turn left. From Pizza train times where 3:45, 4:34, 5:34, 5:45 From Livorno train station took no 1 bus (that would work if you get cruise shuttle from piazza grande,but we didn't know that, so from the stop closest to ship we walked, a lot. So or share taxi, o pay for shuttle and from there no 1 bus (cost euro or something like that) Civitavecchia From ship shuttle took us to port gate (for free, its only 5 min walk maybe 10) then we walked to train station, just few blocks straight ahead. (10 min). Got round trip tickets. Times where 8:41 , 8:59, 9:17, 9:41, 9:59. They gave without asking B.I.R.G (18 Euros for both of us), its work for buses and metro in Rome too. It's a lot of stops in Rome S Peters close to Vatican. But you can get out on the last one, then take bus, depend where you want to go. We got out at Ostensia stop, took bus to Coliseum (bus 60 if I am fight, I just asked people all the time). We waited in line for tickets 45 to 60 min. 12 Euros per person, for Europe union members 7.50 so get your passport if you want to get discount. We went to complain about that in front desk, after talking with supervizor,they said they will put difference on our card, guess what, they didn't so last day we needed to talk about that (and it's not about 4.5 Euros it's principle) but they looked at us like we would be crazy. This entire passport situation made a lot of problem for a lot of people. They just needed to inform about that in their website, don't you think? Then we took the bus to Fontana trevi (we asked people again, which no to take). You can't see it from the bus stop, so ask somebody let you know where to get out. It seems confusing but it's really not. Then we took bus 62, it took us to Vatican. That we saw from bus stop. Then 40 or 64 bus back to train station, we went to Roma centrale, this way more likely you'll get seat. Trains comfortable and clean, restrooms not really. Times back were2:09, 2:39, 3:09, 3:39, 4:09, 4:39, 5:09, 5:14, 5:39, 6:05. Messina, Sicily we got in port at 2pm. We wanted to take train to Toarmina, train station is walk able distance from the ship, but we got there close to 3 o clock, next train was at 4:05, we didn't want to wait, so stayed there. Train times from Taormina to Messina 3:55pm, 5:22, 6:41, 7:13, 8:36 (it's about hour ride) It's really nothing what to do in messina, first everything close till 5 or who knows. It's really dirty in a streets, even poop (I hope it's just dogs), my husband decided to fish there, so we bought fishing rod and all other stuff (25 Euros we spent) and he fished for hour and a half, then I started to see strange people around, one guy was using some drugs from the bag, other kid (maybe 10) was smoking, a lot of people smoke in Europe. So we decided go back to the ship with the fishing rod, no problem. Sea day finally we can relax and not rush anywhere. It was second formal night, first was on second Barcelona day. They had crab legs that day for appetizer. Finally they had karaoke, we went there, the list of songs was a mess, not all song artists in there, one girl was singing when we got there, the cd was scratched, cruise director was laughing, next to him some employee women was laughing with him, they were really "lovie-duvie" and then he's "ok, try again, first tell about yourself, but he's not intelligent, he even didn't lift his butt to feel this poor girl better, all karaoke was like a joke. So we left. Tats it, no more karaoke nights (so don't spent time practicing). Navplion, Greece They had tender boats there. We stayed there, its cute city. We walked by fortress and found road to beach, it was small, rocky beach, so we sat in there, had some drinks, just relaxed. Katokolon We decided to take train to Olympia, the train station close to ship,5-8 min walk, it looks like restroom building, very small. Tracks start there. First train was 8:36am, its only 2 wagon train which goes to Olympia and back (I think it's only one train). Cost 6 Euros for both of us round trip. From train it's close to Olympia site place. Tickets 6 Euros each, 9 if you want to see site seen and museum. Then we took 12:05 train back, walked in Katokolon and back to ship. Corfu We didn't plan anything there, just got out and walked, a lot. They had ships shuttle (16$ round trip, 9$ one way to old town.) We walked there in 30 min, then went to fortress (4 Euros each) its nice view from there. Restroom I used in McDonald, but you need code on receipt to open the door, or just wait for somebody walk in or out. Then we found tiny beach in a cafe territory, paid 1.4 Euros entrance fee, they had changing rooms, 1.5 Euros for sun beds, towers you can take from the ship. They return passports that day. Dubrovnik Ship had shuttle 16$ round trip,9$ one way to pile gate (old town). Don't do that, there is a public bus right there, take mokosica-pile bus,we paid 20 kunas it's about 3 Euros for both of us. Old town very pretty, then we walked to the beach, it was one closer, but we walked more and found more quiet, nice beach, with rocks of course. It didn't cost, just rented sun beds 20 kunos each (3 euro) they took Euros. Then back to the bus and back to ship. That night ship had dessert extravaganza, it was nice, I missed strawberries dipped in chocolate, and they had a lot of cakes, crapes, some hand size desserts, but nothing too crazy. Next day Venice We loved Venice. We stayed there one extra night after cruise, so we bought 23H bus and water bus tickets, 23euros each. We used them a lot. They go from Piazzale Roma. About 25 min. from the ship. One way would be 6, 50 Euros per person. 12h ticket for land and water bus 16 Euros per person. Gondola rides 80euros, but you can find somebody to share the ride, 6 people fit, then the price not so bad. If you just want to go one time to Piazza San Marco then just use right there alilaguna water taxi, 6,5 one way. On Venice day you can set your credit card, you can adjust tips which they adding automatically, Next morning we paid in cash what we owned to the ship, ate last breakfast and rolled with the luggage to the bus stop, took no. 5 bus to Russot hotel, then went back to the city. We had a lot of fun, from ship we expected more, but we saw nice places, had nice room with balcony (where we spent most of the time when in ship), had decent food. So we will have only nice memories about this trip. Read Less
Oosterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.5 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.5 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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