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Sail Date: November 2018
It was a good deal on a week that worked well for us. We like HAL. The room was adequate, our room steward excellent, and the location was right smack in the middle of the ship which made it easy to get around. I went to trivia twice every ... Read More
It was a good deal on a week that worked well for us. We like HAL. The room was adequate, our room steward excellent, and the location was right smack in the middle of the ship which made it easy to get around. I went to trivia twice every day, swam in the pool every day and attended a couple of the American Test Kitchen presentations which were very good. My husband's foot was bothering him so we did not go off of the ship except for San Juan. He seemed to be ok that day so we ventured out to Starbucks to retrieve our emails and phone calls. We were unable to dance which was too bad since we love to dance. We would have liked to dance in BB King's. WE were unable to attend any of the Lincoln Center presentations as the times did not work out for us. The food was wonderful. The salad that is prepared for you according to your choice is the BEST!! I miss it already. The Pinnacle Restaurant was excellent as usual and the dining room food was really good. One night I ordered all of the desserts!!! The ice cream was good. The no sugar added desserts were also delicious. The salmon and steak were prepared properly, as was the lobster (not overcooked). The onion soup is so so, however. We found that to be the case on the Konigsdam as well. The other soups were very good. The omelets were excellent as were the Eggs Benedict which I ordered in the dining room one morning. We met some very nice people on board as we always asked to share in the dining room. The pool had enough chairs in the shade which is what we like. The pool was not too cold. The Dive is terrific. All in all, we had a really good time! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose Holland America for our first cruise experience. We are a newly retired couple who generally prefer land-based vacations. However we decided to try something different for our birthdays (just three days apart). The Oosterdam ... Read More
We chose Holland America for our first cruise experience. We are a newly retired couple who generally prefer land-based vacations. However we decided to try something different for our birthdays (just three days apart). The Oosterdam did not disappoint! Everything was awesome, from the amazing service to the great food, to the terrific verandah stateroom. We are already looking forward to booking our next cruise, with HAL. Getting on and off the ship was easy and quick. When we embarked in FLL we were on the ship within an hour of arriving at just after 11 am. The ship was beautiful, certainly not new but definitely clean and well-appointed. The Pinnacle Grill was our favourite restaurant with fantastic service and really great steak. We found the wine selection to be very good. The ship draws an older crowd but we much prefer that over a “party boat” or tons of kids in the pool area. Our cabin stewards Purr and Ono were simply fantastic, always helpful and really upbeat. An all-round awesome first cruise experience! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We picked this cruise to celabrate my wifes birthday and to enjoy the relaxing ports of call. We are currently a 3star mariner status. We have not been on a Holland ship since 2012. This was the second time on the Oosterdam over ... Read More
We picked this cruise to celabrate my wifes birthday and to enjoy the relaxing ports of call. We are currently a 3star mariner status. We have not been on a Holland ship since 2012. This was the second time on the Oosterdam over the years. Very disappointed in the food quality in the dinning room. Average variety of selections on menu, just not much flavour in any of the meals. Dining room service... As you wish dining, in the evening was the worst we have had in 22 cruises...will not rebook with Holland America. Good service in all bar areas that we visited with friendly staff. Most evenings, coffee or tea never offered. Entertainment, wasn't worth going to the lounge, yet another disappointment. Didn't use the pools but other commented water was lovely and warm. Used and enjoyed the Dry Sauna but very small and only approx 4 to 5 can enjoy at one time. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Wanted a relaxing cruise with family for Spring Break- got it! But very disappointed with boat and selection of activities on it. Boat is very old and needs updating. They still have bathtubs in the showers! All food is served from a ... Read More
Wanted a relaxing cruise with family for Spring Break- got it! But very disappointed with boat and selection of activities on it. Boat is very old and needs updating. They still have bathtubs in the showers! All food is served from a buffet line, but you have to ask for them to put things on your plate, different from other ships where you can just get your own amounts of whatever you want. The main dining room was nice and servers were great, but food selection was a little unusual. If you like to eat duck and try new dishes you’ve never heard of, then the main dining room is for you. We found the food to be bland almost every night. The boat is very old, about 30 years, and does not have a huge atrium like other boats. There are a couple of little shops. The casino is very small, with only three $1 slot machines, three 25 cent slot machines, a few tables, and about 20 penny slots. The staff is very nice with all workers being very polite, but do not go above and beyond. The ship also has issues with plumbing. There were several announcements made about plumbing issues to everyone on the boat. Be prepared to have to call the front desk for a plumber to visit your room! The cruise director always says “let’s rock it until we dock it”, but not many activities are planned. Some activities included the art of flower arranging, movies, talks with port info, trivia, and art auctions. Many young people on the boat went to trivia to do something fun. We are used to having drinks of the day specials and a little send off party when we leave the port, but there was nothing like that on this boat. When we went into other ports and other cruise ships were there, they had music playing, but our ship was silent. People say that Holland America cruise line is mostly for older retired people, and we did find this to be true. So in conclusion, go on this boat if you like a nice relaxing time on a small ship, but avoid it if you are younger or traveling with family because there is not much to do. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Second lifetime cruise for me and my 4 yr old (our first cruise was Alaska two years ago aboard the Westerdam with him, my 7 yr old and my father for his 80th birthday), first cruise for my 9 yr old daughter. My awesome wife can only ... Read More
Second lifetime cruise for me and my 4 yr old (our first cruise was Alaska two years ago aboard the Westerdam with him, my 7 yr old and my father for his 80th birthday), first cruise for my 9 yr old daughter. My awesome wife can only handle one kid on vacation at a time, meaning our 7 yr old drew the Europe straw with her this past week, leaving me, my oldest and youngest to go exploring the western Caribbean. I went budget this time (compared to the Westerdam), reserving an ocean view cabin (instead of a verandah, or as they are termed on the Rotterdam, a suite), and choosing to sail out of Tampa - a relatively easy drive from Atlanta at any time other than the start of spring break. The kids absolutely loved the OV window, and I didn't have to stress with my four year old toddling up on a deck table to look over the balcony (as he did on the Westerdam). Two big reasons I'm a fan of HA: every ship in their fleet appears to have a basketball court on the top deck, and every ship has a teak wood deck on their promenade level, which gives them a "classic" ship feel (not unlike WWII era battleships like the USS North Carolina or Missouri). We stayed at the Barrymore Hotel the night before next to the Straz Performing Arts Center, and reserved parking at the Skyhouse Garage - $56 for the week, a half mile tops from the HA terminal. We were able to take our time visiting the Florida Aquarium the morning of the cruise and eat lunch there, before walking back to the garage, grabbing our luggage, and wandering to the terminal for boarding. I've only done this twice - in Seattle and in Tampa - and to me, Tampa seemed like a big spacious terminal, and our embarkation was incredibly fast and easy. Enjoyed sailing down the Hillsborough River. Didn't eat a single meal other than at the Lido (we did the first night dinner on the Alaska cruise when my two younger kids were 2 and 5, and it was way too long and late for them; have never eaten anywhere other than the Lido since). There's enough variety with each meal - 3-4 appetizers, 4-5 entrees, 3-4 desserts, with made to order salads and pastas - and the menus vary enough that even if you eat every single meal there, you can go an entire cruise week without eating the same thing twice. First stop was in Key West, and because I hadn't yet bothered with Club HAL (it had been a bust on the Alaska cruise with my two kids being two of only five kids in the club) and had assumed I would have to do excursions with a 9 and 4 yr old, I booked events geared to the lowest common denominator - my 4 year old. We did the Land and Sea tour - an hour on a trolley train sightseeing Key West, followed by a two hour glass bottom boat cruise - which turned out to be a hit, since my whale loving 4 year old (which ironically took root two years ago on the Westerdam) got to see a pod of 6-8 dolphins up close just goofing off - which apparently does not happen often. Key West harbor was the least charismatic of any of the ones we visited - we had to go through the Truman Naval Base to get to town and got searched on the way back in - but even the least interesting harbor visit beats the best day in an office. NCAA basketball championship was that night, but since HA doesn't get TBS, I'd resigned myself to missing it for the first time in 40 years. So, imagine my surprise when I flipped on the ESPN Internat'l Channel that the boat does carry - and hearing Dick Vitale doing color for the game (which ironically, turned out to be a dud unless you're from Philly). I always dig the "at sea" portion of cruises - much boat exploring, much time spent in the ship's well-appointed Explorations Cafe (found an encyclopedia about ships which kept my four year old entertained and quiet while I taught my daughter how to play chess), and of course much time spent in the main pool with my kids mid-ship . . . Roatan was okay - the only I thing I booked for us that day was the "Magical Flying Beach Chair" which was just a ski lift from the pier to the beach - but which kids will love. The walk would've been nice too. Spent the entire day with my kids on the beach - ample equipment for rent - snorkels and floats - but cannot claim to have done anything truly "Honduran." Santo Tomas, Guatemala was memorable. Booked the Ak-Tenamit/Livingston river cruise - long boat ride up the bay and into the river, but it was worth it. I'm not a birder, but the river was dominated by water fowl everywhere. The Ak-Tenamit settlement, which included a visit to a local school with students was a hit with my nine-year old. Had a good lunch, though if I'd known how bony the fish would be, I'd have ordered the chicken. River ride out was also good; the ride back was broken up with a stop at the town of Livingston - with two kids, I never made it past their playground by the dock. The Santo Tomas harbor is a real life working harbor, and we were mesmerized watching containers being loaded and unloaded off of 18 wheelers before sailing off. What I will always remember about Costa Maya was the water clarity. The "harbor" there, is just a concrete walkway in the shape of a "T" - when we arrived, the Norwegian Pearl and I think Rhapsody of the Seas were already backed into the dock. The port area is easily the most well furnished. Would have liked to have done a beach, but with two small kids, I ended up rewarding them with a visit to the water park - which they both loved. Sea day back was relaxing - my daughter discovered Club HAL and asked if she could go - and both my kids ended up in the 9-11:30 am and 1-4 pm sessions. It was almost weird having an unexpected day to myself like that - so I did what any kidless dude in that situation would do - went to aft deck smoking area, found a chair in the shade, and lit up a big fat stogie . . . We arrived back in Tampa early the next morning - we ordered room service for 6 am, which turned out to be the right call - even though we were slotted for an 8:15 "expedited" disembarkation, the Captain released us an hour early - we were literally on the road home by 8:15 am - we got to the Fla Turnpike and I-75 so early, that for the first time I can remember, we didn't even have to stop . . . Shout out to Teguh and Anita for keeping our cabin clean, to the tall, brunette Guest Relations officer who found my kid after he ran off exploring the ship's elevators, and to the Lido dining staff who for the most part, actually seemed to enjoy my kids. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
I was worried when I read reviews from Dec 2017, but not necessary. This cruise was absolutely fantastic. It is a smaller ship and that’s what we loved. Though the ship is older we didn’t notice anything that was rusted or ... Read More
I was worried when I read reviews from Dec 2017, but not necessary. This cruise was absolutely fantastic. It is a smaller ship and that’s what we loved. Though the ship is older we didn’t notice anything that was rusted or in disrepair as others mentioned. The crew was attentive, gracious and experienced. It was really refreshing to see everyone dressed appropriately in the main dining room, no (or very, very few) shorts or t-shirts, showing respect for fellow cruisers and the staff that is working so hard for you. Even the kids were very sharp; kudos to those parents and thank you! Our waiter and assistant waiter were very friendly and helpful and so very busy; but outstanding nonetheless. The live main stage entertainment was just ok, but occurred every night. The best was the Planet Earth II feature because of the live music accompaniment, it was very powerful. The Lido buffet was smaller than others, but the selection was still vast and I can’t think of anything else one could need. Loved the “big salad” bar and that you can no longer serve yourself along most of the buffet - it was significantly cleaner and more appetizing, but I will say it holds up the line a bit which is a fine trade-off. We booked all of our excursions outside of the cruise line, so can’t comment on that. All of the ports were fine, Key West was fun, as usual, Roatan was a lovely island with nice and informative locals. I’ve seen Guatemala called a wasted port, but probably not for those who did an interesting ruins tour; we did a quick walk through the vendors and went back to enjoy a relatively empty ship. Costa Maya was certainly very touristy and commercial, but it looked like people were having great fun at the beach. Definitely an up and coming Playa del Carmen. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
This cruise, out of Tampa, is just an hour away from our home. Tampa port is a fun sail away (goes under the bridge around dusk/dinner time) so we often take this Western Caribbean cruise. We like the ports and the opportunity to see ... Read More
This cruise, out of Tampa, is just an hour away from our home. Tampa port is a fun sail away (goes under the bridge around dusk/dinner time) so we often take this Western Caribbean cruise. We like the ports and the opportunity to see some wonderful Mayan ruins. Key West is always fun - just a stroll down the main street is interesting. And the chocolate covered key lime pie from Kermit's is a must. Mahogany Bay has a great beach, easily reached by the Magic Chair ($12 round trip) lift is lovely, but way too crowded if there is more than one ship in port. SantoThomas, Guatamala is our favorite port because of the wonderful people, Mayan ruins and great shopping right at the port. Costa Maya port is all inclusive. But not to be missed are good beaches nearby. And further out are some amazing Mayan ruins still being discovered. Add to those 4 great port days, 2 sea days on the fabulous Rotterdam, this cruise is excellent. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
This cruise was a total disaster due to the age of ship and the fact that we missed one of our ports of call, allegedly due to weather (although two other larger cruise ships docked ahead of us with no problems) but more likely due to ... Read More
This cruise was a total disaster due to the age of ship and the fact that we missed one of our ports of call, allegedly due to weather (although two other larger cruise ships docked ahead of us with no problems) but more likely due to broken side thrusters (supposedly repaired in Tampa delaying our embarkation over an hour). Upon arriving in Costa Maya, Mexico, the port I wanted to see the most, the Captain informed us after 5 minutes that due to weather he would be returning to Tampa immediately. All the passengers were surprised that he didn't wait to see if we could land later as we were supposed to be in this port til that evening. The Captain didn't even wait to see if the alleged "bad weather" improved but immediately set course for Tampa. The weather was fine--sunny with a slight breeze. The real issue was that the ship would have had to docked using the side thrusters between the other 2 cruise ships, and if they were broken again, then he would not be able to do so no matter how long we waited so he left immediately. Thus one quarter of my cruise was taken away from me and as a "gesture" the Captain gave us all a glass of cheap "sparkling wine" to compensate us. Needless to say the passengers were upset that we didn't get adequate compensation for missing a port of call and having an extra day at sea (meanwhile Holland America no doubt profited by keeping us captive on board with increased gambling and alcohol revenues). When we asked for better compensation, the snotty customer service staff told us to "read the fine print in the contract" and that Holland America didn't have to reimburse us for weather. While technically correct about the contract, the fact that the Captain never tried to wait out the "weather conditions" and sailed immediately to Tampa lends credence to our belief that the problem was really mechanical, for which the contract would necessitate reimbursement. I wrote requesting the maintenance records, but still am awaiting a response from Holland America. Needless to say I am not holding my breath. This entire ship should be scrapped. The bathtubs and plumbing were horrendous (see attached photos). Our suite was filthy when we arrived (see photos of human toenails on the carpet and crumbs all over dresser and mud on balcony) and then flooded later in the week so we could not use our suite on the last sea day due to maintenance men and loud blowers. Other passengers we met had problems with brown rusty water and scalding hot water so they couldn't shower and had to shower in the spa area. Several other passengers had toilet backups and our toilet flushed irregularly. And we were all in SUITES. I can't imagine how bad the less expensive cabins were. The restaurant service staff were aloof and disinterested in the main dining room and the Lido Cafe (however, the speciality restaurants Canneletto and Pinnacle Grill were excellent). If you were a group of women, you were often ignored while waiters served couples surrounding you. Every dinner I had to ask to get water, food, and dishes removed. Wait staff need to be trained to treat all guests (including women traveling without men) equally. We went to tea and eight of us women were ignored for a half hour until finally I had to physically track down the restaurant manager to get tea served and then tea sandwiches took another 45 minutes to arrive. There need to be more omelet stations in the Lido. It often took a half hour wait to get an omelet for breakfast. The entertainment was very good and there was sufficient seating for guests as they had two shows per evening. The comedian, magician and the Rotterdam Players were all very entertaining. The ship boutique had excellent sales and interesting merchandise. The photographers were all excellent as well. Too bad the poor physical condition of the ship, poor maintenance, disinterested service even when I booked a SUITE with a BALCONY, and MISSING A PORT OF CALL, all led to a terrible cruise experience. Please note that I was a second star Mariner Club member and even that couldn't help me get properly compensated for the dismal experience of this cruise. You do have choices when cruising so be smart and AVOID HOLLAND AMERICA, as it was indeed ROTTEN, DAM!! PORTS OF CALL: KEY WEST: Touristy but interesting. Take the Old Town Trolley to get a good overview of the town's history and see the major sights. Check our Tony's bar to view the bras hanging from the ceiling, stop at the Pilar Rum Distillery for a taste of some premium rums, and lunch at Sloppy Joe's. There will be a long line to get a selfie at the Southernmost buoy but take a shot of it without you in it and move on. ROATAN: Interesting island. We took a private tour and saw the entire island, visited the Iguana Sanctuary, went on a Glass Bottom Boat Ride--don't pay more than $30 and look at the boat windows beforehand as some were so foggy you couldn't see out of them. We ate iguana and oxtail at a local restaurant at the zip line attraction and headed back to the ship. There are nice stores around the docks. SANTO TOMAS DE CASTILLO: The stop in Santo Tomas de Castillo was a total waste of time. There is literally nothing to see or do here. THERE ARE NO ACCESSIBLE BEACH AREAS IN THIS PORT. We hired a taxi to take us around town--be sure to haggle as they wanted $80 per person and we got it for $25 but "guide" only spoke Spanish, no problem as I translated for our taxi, but if you don't speak Spanish forget it. The alleged "Taj Mahal" is really a funeral crypt not a real building. There is a port with banana boats and two local Mercados but nothing special. The trip to the waterfall is NOT worthwhile--small falls and treacherous walk to see them. There is a nice craft fair market in the terminal near the ship dock worth visiting. You can haggle there as lots of vendors selling the same stuff. At the far end you can get a passport stamp for free and try the local Guatemalan beer. All this (without the wasted taxi ride) can be accomplished in an hour so shop and then go back on board) COSTA MAYA: UNFORTUNATELY I NEVER GOT TO SEE THIS PORT AS THE CAPTAIN ABANDONED IT AFTER 5 MINUTES. WE ALL GOT RIPPED OFF ON THIS CRUISE AS WE NEVER GOT TO SEE THIS PORT. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
Wanted to have a relaxing one week trip. Enjoyed immensely.Embarkation was very quick and efficient. Rooms were ready when we got on the ship! Common areas were not crowded. Minimal lines.Our Cabin was well maintained. Room ... Read More
Wanted to have a relaxing one week trip. Enjoyed immensely.Embarkation was very quick and efficient. Rooms were ready when we got on the ship! Common areas were not crowded. Minimal lines.Our Cabin was well maintained. Room attendants were friendly and willing to help. Dining room staff were very egar to assist. Can add a few more items for vegetarians.Happy hour was an added bonus.The BBC presentation was unique and creative. Jewelry auction added to the variety of activities on a Sea Day. Rotterdam is maintaining the traditional brunch for the Mariners.Guest Services and Future Cruise offices are run efficiently. Interesting ports of Call, sorry to have missed Costa Maya. Presentations re.ports and shopping were informative.Disembarkation was a breeze. I will recommend Rotterdam and this itinerary to anyone looking for a brief vacation. The weather made it all more enjoyable. This was our fifth cruise with Holland America, impressed with this sailing, we have booked for a fourteen days European venture in 2019. Read Less
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