Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise for our 25th wedding anniversary. This was also our 25th cruise. We had never cruised to Alaska before and over the years many fellow cruisers had recommended it. It was our 3rd time on the Oosterdam and our 2nd ... Read More
We chose this cruise for our 25th wedding anniversary. This was also our 25th cruise. We had never cruised to Alaska before and over the years many fellow cruisers had recommended it. It was our 3rd time on the Oosterdam and our 2nd Neptune suite so we knew what to expect as far as accommodations. We stayed in Seattle at the Marriott waterfront for two days prior to embarkation and had a nice time there exploring the city and doing the usual touristy things. We rode the Light rail for the experience and ate at two notable places in Seattle: Belltown Pizza, and the Biscuit Bitch, both within walking distance from the hotel. Embarkation was easy but different from any others we’ve experienced. We arrived at 11:00 and walked right into the terminal but were not directed by anyone to the proper stations for check-in. There were signs of course, but with so many people walking around at once it seemed a little confusing not to have a person directing traffic. We expected to complete a health check first as we usually do but surprisingly that was not required for this cruise. We found our way to the proper line and were checked in quickly and were instructed to wait for our number to be called. The waiting area was combined with Princess and Holland ships, a first for us. We began boarding about 45 minutes later and walked right on to the ship without any greeting at all. We expected at least a greeting and maybe the usual mimosas as suite guests but nothing. We went straight to our cabin (5190) and found it ready for us but without luggage so we went exploring a little and had lunch in the Lido. Our luggage had arrived by 1:00. Our steward, Toni, took very good care of us. The room is a nice size and the balcony is amazing as we remembered. We stayed in the same cabin 18 months earlier. It’s perfect for Alaska viewing. Dinner in the main dining room was routine— food satisfactory, service good. With one exception, it remained that way throughout the cruise. We had dinner in the Pinnacle Grill one evening and it was considerably better than the Main Dining Room, as expected. Breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill was very good each day. We avoided the Lido as much as possible. It’s crowded, difficult to get a seat, long lines, and mediocre food. Hundreds of people in there at once, many wandering around, stopping and turning without notice, breaking in line. It’s a madhouse. Some use it as a place to sit long after eating rather than a place to eat and leave, contributing to the shortage of places to sit and eat. There are so many other places on the ship to sit; I don’t understand the desire to use the Lido. On the first night we began to have a lot of ship movement which got steadily worse throughout the night and into the next day. The captain announced at noon that the winds were gale force in excess of 40 mph which had not been forecast which were causing the significant motion. He predicted it would improve later in the day but it didn’t until after midnight. Many got sick including crew. Fortunately my wife and I did not. We did the Mendenhall Glacier guided hike in Juneau, which was strenuous but very nice. We walked around town in Sitka, visiting the historical museum with totem poles, native artifacts, and artisan presentations, and a stroll through downtown shopping. We found it a very pleasant place. In Ketchikan we watched the Great Alaskan Lumberjack show. It was a little corny, but entertaining. The Hubbard Glacier cruising was spectacular, especially from our enormous wrap around verandah. Lastly, we got off in Victoria, walked to the Fisherman's Wharf Park about ½ mile from the dock. Lots of places to eat and to see unusual houses built on the water. As for entertainment, my wife attended a couple of shows but didn’t find them interesting enough to stay the entire time. I like to play blackjack but not unless the table is at least 4-6 people. Many times there were just one or two at a table so I didn’t play as often as I like. We did like the Lincoln Center musicians and the two piano players just across from the casino. The group playing at the B.B. King club sounded great but we did not go in. We had a good time, and we’re glad we went but doubt we’ll ever visit Alaska again. Once was enough for us. In fact I think we realized something on this cruise. Our enthusiasm for cruising has diminished over the years. The past two cruises with a Neptune Suite have been nice upgrades from previous cruises and a must for future cruises but at a cost that now competes with some other pricey getaways. I think we’ll try something different for a while. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Sailed HAL for 10 of 12 cruises. Last cruise 34 years ago. First vacation in 8 years and first vacation with wife in 28 years (never had honeymoon and always had kids)?? Basically, the shore system didn’t match the onboard system. I ... Read More
Sailed HAL for 10 of 12 cruises. Last cruise 34 years ago. First vacation in 8 years and first vacation with wife in 28 years (never had honeymoon and always had kids)?? Basically, the shore system didn’t match the onboard system. I bought 4 indulgences and packages and none were ready for us. We never received the excursion tickets or most of the Add-ons without multiple trips to Guest services. They never notified us of Port Valet services or shopping specials that were supposed to be delivered to room. HAL completely missed our anniversary. They were quick with ‘I’m so sorry’ but slow on resolutions. Missed several onboard events while waiting in line at Guest Services. They don’t answer the phone so don’t bother. MDR was nice but if you share a table, they may make you wait 30 minutes until the table is full. Lincoln Center Stage was the best. I wish they would let me throat punch the drunks and obnoxious passengers that walked by and disrupted the performance. Weather was rough 1 day (18’ swells) and passengers felt the need to vomit on the common area carpets instead of staying in their cabins. Everything is an add on. Better meals in MDR ($25+ extra), candid photos ($20 each or 5 for $60). Portraits at Gala, $40 each or $160 for 5). Bingo was about $40 plus the $2.50 dauber. Staff was always pushing drinks, pictures, spa treatments, etc. Had 2 of 8 days without problems and trying to get what we paid for. Well possibly travel on HAL again if they fix their problems. I’m a 3 star Mariner and have a long way until 4 stars. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Just returned from the 7 day Alaska cruise. This was the first time on HAL but have over 12 cruises on other lines. It been several years since our last cruise so the comparison is from over time. Last cruised Alaska about 8 years ago ... Read More
Just returned from the 7 day Alaska cruise. This was the first time on HAL but have over 12 cruises on other lines. It been several years since our last cruise so the comparison is from over time. Last cruised Alaska about 8 years ago Everything very clean- including cabin- no complaints about ship or cabin. Very satisfied there. Thankful we had great weather- no rain at any port and saw Hubbard Glacier fairly close. Main issues were food and entertainment. Poor entertainment....very little to do during the "at sea" days unless you watched a movie...surprisingly they had a good selection but why pay hundreds of dollars to watch a movie when it can be had for $10 at home. I walked every deck for exercise at night...by 10 o"clock the ship was deserted. Some people in Casino, BB King and listening to twin pianos but all combined maybe 50-75 people out of 2,000 passengers. This is a seniors ship...( note: we are seniors in our 80's but still full of life.) Food was blah. Many of the selections did not appeal to me and you were given small portions. Buffet had same food and if you are into desserts--FORGET IT. Had ice cream scooped for you and 3-4 cake selections and that was it. No great broadway-type entertainment...no steak at all at main meal...no midnight buffet...no tables full of various desserts..no joy of cruising. The 'good old days of cruising" not available here. Probably gone from other cruise lines too. Will go back to Las Vegas where you pay the same or less but get more bang for your buck. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My wife and I have been on two other cruise lines so a friend of ours invited us on a vacation to Alaska on the line HAL Oosterdam. The staff was very friendly but when we needed some guidance we couldn't understand what they were ... Read More
My wife and I have been on two other cruise lines so a friend of ours invited us on a vacation to Alaska on the line HAL Oosterdam. The staff was very friendly but when we needed some guidance we couldn't understand what they were saying and they didn't even know the answer to our question so make sure your staff who works on the ship knows everything about it like where's the nearest bathroom . While going down the hall to my room it smelt like sewage that was just not normal and it wasn't just my hall... we made a shore excursion n Ketchikan as soon as we were down we had 2 go back 2 the ship we had no time to explore Ketchiken cause we only hade 4 hours to stay. Now the food in the restaurants were EXCELLENT but n the lido deck buffet u couldn't serve yourself , same food every day , when they served you they gave you little portions . Now my main concern on my list is the ENTERTAINMENT !!! To talking to some of the other passengers there was nothing 2 do. Sure they had the comedian which who was hilarious and the magician which who could of had did something more than what she did if Lance Burton is her idol. Every day u should have some kind of ENTERTAINMENT it doesn't have to be something big but just something. Hope this helps cause I will not be recommending this cruise ship 2 anyone Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Introduction: We are frequent cruisers with Platinum Plus status on NCL and Black Card status on MSC. NCL was our go to company for N.A.cruises and MSC was our go to company for everywhere else in the world. Unfortunately, both companies ... Read More
Introduction: We are frequent cruisers with Platinum Plus status on NCL and Black Card status on MSC. NCL was our go to company for N.A.cruises and MSC was our go to company for everywhere else in the world. Unfortunately, both companies have adopted strategies of bigger and bigger ships and more fees beyond the cruise fare. After our last cruise on the 5,700 passenger MSC Meravigilia, we decided bigger is not necessarily better. This led to our selection of a smaller ship with a new company for us: Holland America's Oosterdam to Alaska. Cabin: We selected a Neptune cabin, because we were travelling as a family of four. The cabin is spacious with a king bed, sofa bed for two and large balcony. The cabin had a large screen 55" T.V. and a bathroom with an independent shower and independent shower/tub combo. Overall a very nice cabin, and the balcony is excellent for Alaska sightseeing. Dining: We dined at the Pinnacle Grill for breakfast, the Lido market for lunch and the MDR for dinner. All meals were excellent, and better than similar offerings in NCL and MSC's buffet and MDR. Embarkation: Embarking was smooth. We arrived at 11 a.m. and walked on the ship after check-in. Disembarkation was a bit more crowded, but we were off the ship in about twenty minutes. Entertainment: We saw the comedian Tim Kaminsky twice. Very funny shows. We also went to the dance company show. Fairly typical dance fare. We missed the magician because dinner ran late one night. Overall, Kaminsky was the star of the show. Fitness Center: I used the fitness center several times. A bit smaller than the larger ships, but had similar amenities to those ships. The center was crowded in the early a.m., but wide open in the p.m. Onboard Experience: The onboard experience was where you notice the difference between big and small ships. It was much easier to get around the ship, elevators, dining room, etc. No waves of people even after shows. Definitely easier to move around the ship compared to the 4,000 to 6,000 passenger mega ships Service: Service was excellent. Our room steward figured out early in the cruise when we went to breakfast and dinner. The room was made up and turned down during those times. The ship, although older, is in excellent shape and the crew keeps it spotless. Shore Excursions: We did our own excursions. Easy to do in Alaska. We drove to the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau. We took the Raptor/Bear shuttle in Sitka. We walked the Downtown area in Ketchikan which was mostly a shopping stop. Value for money: Holland's price for a Neptune suite was 50% less than a similar NCL Haven suite. NCL continues to raise it fares. Value for money is hands down in favor of Holland. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We are back, mostly unpacked and exhausted. We have been on cruises to Alaska 4 other times, 3 of them on HAL. We picked this one since it docked in Sitka where most others do not, preferring Skagway. It was well worth it. Embarkation ... Read More
We are back, mostly unpacked and exhausted. We have been on cruises to Alaska 4 other times, 3 of them on HAL. We picked this one since it docked in Sitka where most others do not, preferring Skagway. It was well worth it. Embarkation was the easiest we have ever experienced. It all went smoothly and we were on the ship much earlier than the time we had been assigned (since we transferred from a hotel). We went right to our cabin where we found the scooter and oxygen concentrator I had ordered already in the cabin. There was more than enough room for the rented scooter, my own scooter and walking around. The Lido beckoned and lunch was good. Then, there was one hitch...the drink card I had ordered was nowhere to be found. Down to Guest Services where I was promised it would be delivered in 9-10 minutes. It wasn't. It took 2 more contacts with Guest Services before they printed it for me at the desk. The only other problem was, one evening while trying to watch a movie in the cabin, there was a pop and the electricity on one side of the room was out. There was a maintenance man at the cabin in 15 minutes and it was fixed. Probably a breaker needed to be thrown. We ate in the dining room most of the time since my husband has trouble walking and the Lido is hard on him. I found, however, that the selection was not as good as on past cruises. The food was good, just the selection was poor. The main dining room was very good although, here as well, the selection wasn't up to previous cruises. The table staff and hosts were wonderful. Adi (host) and Von (wine steward) were especially wonderful. We had open seating and had the same table every evening with different companions, all fantastic people. We are not night people and only attended one show. The ports were wonderful. We only did one excursion (since we'd done this so many times before) and it was good. There was some confusion as to an ADA bus, but that got cleared up pretty quickly. The rest of the time we just wandered around...exactly what I wanted to do. There was one particular shop on Creek Street in Ketchikan (Perfect Partners) that I wanted to visit and it had just opened. I was thrilled. Disembarkation was as smooth as glass. We were on the bus before the time we were scheduled to leave the ship. Then there was the airport..... This may be our last cruise due to medical reasons. It was a wonderful week. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My husband and I are an active couple in our 30's/40's. Last summer, we took an Alaskan cruise on HAL's Eurodam. We really enjoyed that experience (https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=624622) ... Read More
My husband and I are an active couple in our 30's/40's. Last summer, we took an Alaskan cruise on HAL's Eurodam. We really enjoyed that experience (https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=624622) and wanted to repeat it. For this cruise, we got a good price with discounted airfare. We were even able to upgrade from an inside cabin to a balcony for a fraction of the difference. Before the cruise, we spent 3 nights at an Airbnb in Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood. We had a fantastic time visiting the Ballard Locks and Discovery Park! This is a very walkable area, and it's tucked away from the downtown tourists. Also, it was a short drive to Pier 91. My feelings for this cruise were mixed, so I will divide my thoughts between pros and cons. PROS ~ There is only one designated smoking area, and it is located outside at the back of deck 9. For a nonsmoker, this was truly a breath of fresh air! ~ Our room was wonderful, and our stewards were excellent. ~ The fresh floral arrangements found throughout the ship are gorgeous. ~ We absolutely loved Lincoln Center Stage! On our previous cruise, we went to a few concerts. The musicians on the Oosterdam were even better. Besides being talented, they had a special chemistry that made their concerts extra special. ~ We enjoyed the food. There was decent variety, and waiters were able to accommodate special requests. For some meals, we pre-ordered from the vegetarian menu. The fruit selection in the buffet was great for a cruise (apples, bananas, oranges, plums, kiwis, peaches, nectarines, pineapple, melons, berries). ~ Each evening, there were a variety of drink specials (BOGO for $2, $5 wines, $4 cocktail samples). These are definitely a good value. ~ Each morning, we had room service breakfast. Unlike many other major cruise lines, HAL still offers hot breakfast items on their complimentary menu. Also, we would request other items not listed on the menu (e.g. grapefruit, plain yogurt), and these items were always included. Orders arrived on time, and it was relaxing to start each morning with breakfast in our room. ~ We did have one small issue with room service. One morning, the wrong omelet was delivered, and we did not discover the mistake until after the waiter left. I quickly fixed the situation by running up to the buffet and getting a new omelet. Later that day, I told guest services about what happened because I wanted to ensure future orders would be correct. To my surprise, we were sent a bottle of sparkling wine and chocolate covered strawberries. This was a small mistake, and HAL did a great job making up for it. Kudos for great customer service! ~ The Promenade deck was a nice place for walking. Even on rainy or misty days, we were able to enjoy long walks outside. ~ We liked the daily newspapers and puzzles provided each day on deck 1. CONS ~ Entertainment was lacking. Each evening, we would find ourselves wandering around after dinner without anything to do. We don't go to the main shows in the theater. We prefer listening to bands in lounges and dancing. Lincoln Center Stage ends rather early. BB King has talented musicians, but their venue is small and has a poor layout. It felt more like a concert than a dance club. Most nights, very few dancers came out on the floor. There was very little energy and excitement at night. ~ The atrium is tiny and dull. For me, the atrium should be the heart of the ship, but this area is lackluster and often deserted. ~ This is a small ship. When the weather was cold, the ship felt even smaller. There were very few public areas and most of them were clustered together. ~ During the day, there are not many scheduled activities. Computer workshops and cooking demos don't interest me. I prefer more active things, such as dance classes. ~ We did freestyle dining, and we usually went to the dining room between 7 and 8pm. I was surprised at the first set dining time. 5pm seems entirely too early. Since so many people were eating during the cocktail hour, it made time before dinner dull too. ~ The dress code is not enforced at dinner. On Gala Night, I saw people in t-shirts and guys wearing baseball caps. ~ The ports were wonderful, and Hubbard Glacier was awesome! However, the timing in most of the ports is odd. The all aboard for Ketchikan was 12:30pm, and we weren't allowed off the ship in Victoria until after 6:30pm. These short stops make it difficult to fully enjoy these ports. ~ The excursion prices are ridiculously expensive. We planned ahead and did our own thing in each port. If the excursions had been more reasonably prices, we might have gone on one or two. Overall, we enjoyed the cruise because the ports are beautiful and interesting. Shipboard life, on the other hand, proved a little too boring for us. We would consider HAL again if the itinerary is port intensive. If we do an Alaskan cruise again, we will try another line. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We selected this cruise because it was raining in San Diego the week after New Years and we decided to treat ourselves. We were on a family vacation and it was too rainy so we did the illogical thing and jumped on an Alaskan cruise in May, ... Read More
We selected this cruise because it was raining in San Diego the week after New Years and we decided to treat ourselves. We were on a family vacation and it was too rainy so we did the illogical thing and jumped on an Alaskan cruise in May, the rainy season. We live in Eastern Washington so a Seattle departure and a short trip were the most critical elements. Sunday to Sunday works. We both had been on Alaskan cruises before so this wasn't about anything other than a nice boat ride in spring. We knew we wouldn't be taking any excursions because only flight related ones appealed and the weather is not predictable enough to spend that kind of money for marginal ceilings. So we rode the boat for the experience. And we had a great time. While not night owls, we spent every evening moving back and forth between the BB King venue and the pianos in the Billboard Onboard section. Made it worth the trip. Stage shows were fine, but we don't care much for magicians, even though the young lady was good, and dance troupes don't grab our hearts, and again they were good. The comedian did a great job with audience participation, but that meant he picked people from the crowd, so we absented ourselves. Our travel agent suggested an aft cabin and picked one for us on the stern. Loved it. Yes, there is motion. Yes, it is the ocean. Decks are slightly larger on the stern. Had it been warmer, this would have been even better, but we had some chilly times so indoors was the choice. Liked the stern so much we booked another one for our next adventure. Ship was in great shape, clean, constantly being cleaned, and bright and reasonably cheery. (Day before our departure the Oosterdam bumped another Holland ship in Vancouver, slight damage, but just below our room) We were contacted when the crew was going to be working below to repair the cosmetic damage to the ship, great communication. Public areas were great, as well. Service wonderful with attentive, positive folks everywhere, except maybe the guy at the dining room check in. Tough job. No big deal. Food was great when it was great, okay part of the time, and never lousy. Gala nights were the best food. The Lido was more hit and miss. Best food was generally anything Asian. Might be comfort zone for staff. American breakfast was okay, step above Best Western free breakfast, but not a full flight better. Lots of other options. Our last Holland cruise was through the Panama Canal so longer cruise. That trip did not have a huge number of ball cap, ragged jeans, with Jack Daniels shirts. We had some of these. (sorry for the stereotype) Things like lines, personal space, and gentle conversation weren't what I was used to, but this was only apparent on the Lido. Crowd management was a bit rough there as far as seating went. Too many large tables with one person sitting while unseated guests were searching for a table. In defense, this was the first Alaska cruise of the season and was a sell out, so maybe some ramping up. Same was true for first destination. Disembarking was rough with some frustration. Later ports were better. We had a great time, met some wonderful folks, enjoyed wonderful entertainment and signed up for more, just on a different ship going elsewhere. No knock on the Oosterdam, just wanted something different and smaller. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
It's been a few years since we've cruised on Holland America. Our last cruise on Royal Caribbean was not good so for our next cruise we chose HAL. Overall HAL provides good value for the money. Everyone has different cruise ... Read More
It's been a few years since we've cruised on Holland America. Our last cruise on Royal Caribbean was not good so for our next cruise we chose HAL. Overall HAL provides good value for the money. Everyone has different cruise expectations and HAL checks many of our boxes, though not all. We will continue to experience different cruise lines. For us, we cruise to spend time with our family. We enjoy the food, the destinations, shore excursions, and to be at sea. We do not care for drinking, partying, and childrens entertainments. For us, HAL is a good choice. This review is of the Oosterdam May 5 Alaskan Explorer cruise from Seattle. The Ship: The Oosterdam was in good shape, though I wish the last refit had kept more of the old Dutch Masters feel. The public areas were spacious and well appointed (I think the HAL Vista class ships have the highest area per passenger rating of all the majors). I like a full promenade deck, and it was the place to be during the cruise down the inside passage from Ketchikan. The card room(s) were well used by groups playing all kinds of games together. One plus of the Vista Class of ships is the retractable dome over the Lido Pool area. This is very helpful in Alaska as it can rain at any moment, and can be quite chilly at times. The Exploration Cafe was my favorite public area. The gym was well used and I thought the class instructors were quite good. I did two yoga classes on the 7 day cruise and worked out daily. The Food: I was especially impressed with the Lido Market (buffet) which we used for breakfast and lunch. There were special selections from around the world daily, and all manner of offerings for every taste. Some of our party really enjoyed the Dive In for burgers and fries. We ate at the Pinnacle Grill one night ($35 surcharge but ours was a gift from the travel agency). The food there was very good. Not quite as good as Ruth's Chris or something like that, but better than Outback for sure. The main dining room was pretty good for the MDR on a major cruise line. Some of the menu selections weren't that great and so it was hit or miss if you picked the right thing. One night I chose a fish (not great) and my spouse chose the deconstructed pot roast (good). Service started out a bit shaky, but I learned many of the staff had just joined the ship as our cruise was the first cruise of the Alaska season. They got better as the week progressed. Destinations: Juneau, Sitka, Hubbard Glacier, Ketchikan, Victoria. We were on a Coral Princess Southbound cruise from Anchorage to Vancouver a few years ago. We chose that cruise because it went to Glacier Bay. On this cruise we were looking for value, as we were cruising with relatives and cost was a concern. If I was only going on one Alaska cruise in my life, I would want to do Glacier Bay. And I would cruise later in the season. That said, Hubbard Glacier was worthwhile. Despite the rain and lots of ice in the water our captain was able to get us a pretty good view of the glacier face. It was a fun day, and a lot of us went out to the bow to take photos. I spent some time on the promenade as well. And a secret spot - Deck 9 Forward in front of the Gym was a good and mostly empty spot for viewing, though you are further up from the water. Shore Excursions: Good excursions overall. We did the Mount Roberts Tramway in Juneau as we had been to Mendenhall previously. It is worthwhile. We were not in Juneau long or else we would have probably gone up to Mendenhall again. We did Birds, Bears, and Barnacles in Sitka. Fun excursion. The bear place is still under renovation. We went to see the Totem Poles in Ketchikan. I would like to spend more time in Ketchikan someday. We were only in Victoria for 5 hours so we didn't do much. We have been there several times in the past. It was evening so options were limited. I would like to see Bouchard Gardens in the spring, though. At Sea: I like the feeling of being at sea. I am not looking for the floating hotel experience. I think a lot of the newer ships (ahem Royal) are very inward focused. The Oosterdam is very much in the vein of a classic cruise ship. I like hanging out outside, playing cards with family, enjoying good food, relaxing. Passengers were a good mix. HAL has a reputation of being the cruise line of choice for elders. I have not found this to be true. Though there were few children, most age groups were well represented, with a diversity of passengers from mostly North America and Asia. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because we live in the Seattle area and love not having to deal with air travel at the conclusion, also because my husband can only walk with a walker. We were familiar with all the ports (only one tender port), and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we live in the Seattle area and love not having to deal with air travel at the conclusion, also because my husband can only walk with a walker. We were familiar with all the ports (only one tender port), and we like longer cruises. We booked the Signature Suite. We needed extra room for the walker and no accessible rooms were available. The first glitch we encountered was that there were only 3 people available to get the wheelchair passengers to their rooms so we waited an extra hour to board. Upon eventually arriving at our suite, we were distressed to find that they have scaled down their bathroom doors below standard size, so it isn't possible to get a standard sized walker through the door. He had to grasp the counter and walk the length of the room holding on to reach the toilet. There was a full sized bathtub--useless to us--and the shower was so small with only one grab bar that he could barely use it. It was just about impossible to shower without flooding the bathroom. After having paid a couple of thousand dollars extra for a suite, this was a disappointment. The balcony door is very heavy and the thresh-hold very high. The good: the showroom, The Main Stage, is great for the disabled; one could put another row of seats between the row of seats on the lower floor and access is great. They have UHD huge televisions in the staterooms and a fair assortment of late movies to choose from. However, we couldn't get enough volume to be able to understand the dialog in the movies, while on all other channels you could have blasted it high enough to hear for a half block in either direction. The Main Stage did blast all their shows that loud. We had to go through immigration twice and had a serious issue with getting wheelchair assistance to get on and off the ship. We were misinformed both times by Guest Services. Phone contact, and even personal contact with Guest Services was poor due to lack of fluent English on the part of staff and difficulty hearing them on the phone. We had a dinner in Canaletto's which wasn't any better than in the main dining room. We had lunch in the Pinnacle which was very good, except that they served instant coffee with our dessert. The "worker bees", as always on HAL are wonderful. Food was acceptable, if not great. Over all, I think many cruise lines are subtlety (sometimes not so subtlety) trying to discourage disabled passengers, while trying to appear welcoming for good public relations. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because it started in Ft. Lauderdale and ended 21 days later in Seattle plus we got a very large stateroom #8140 w a wrap-around deck on the stern. The first day for embarkation we felt the cruise line was not ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it started in Ft. Lauderdale and ended 21 days later in Seattle plus we got a very large stateroom #8140 w a wrap-around deck on the stern. The first day for embarkation we felt the cruise line was not organized and although our luggage was labeled "priority" it was the very last on - not that it mattered but what did is we kept wondering if it would show up at all. But note that the disembarkation was very well organized and fast. Holland America has figured out how to make money - we paid $150 for water, $300 for internet (it is just $150 if you stick to social media only) and they must have saved a lot by purchasing low quality food. The Gala Dinner with filet mignon and crab béarnaise was the worst with crab nearly too spoiled to serve a piece of meat that was not filet mignon but some grass-fed animal's "surprise." Some meals were good but spaced well apart and the Lido food began to taste the same no matter what you took. The crew was very well-trained and friendly. Our Neptune suite was ok but I do not believe this ship was updated in 2017 or 2018 as it was worn pretty well including our suite. The ports of call were good and although many were shipping ports, I understand it is hard to find dock space for a ship sized like Oosterdam. The people we encountered onshore were very friendly. We will use another cruise line for our next cruise maybe we just expected better like we got on the Ruby Princess last year. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My husband and I have cruised on Holland America a few times. The last two were to the Caribbean although our previous trip was on a different ship. This cruise was wonderful. We loved the ports, the excursions, the crew, the other ... Read More
My husband and I have cruised on Holland America a few times. The last two were to the Caribbean although our previous trip was on a different ship. This cruise was wonderful. We loved the ports, the excursions, the crew, the other passengers, and the relaxing atmosphere. We remember the food being much tastier and more exotic in the past. This cruise had good food, but not fantastic food which is usually a large topic of our conversation when we come home. The souvenir glasses we received with the cordials (very tasty!!) offered in the dining room were high quality and the perfect size keepsake! We have never seen this option before and we loved it! The Oosterdam is on the older side as ships go and had areas of sewerage smell. Our room, thankfully, wasn't in those areas. The only thing we didn't like about our Verandah room was that the pillows really smelled. I slept with towels wrapped around mine. Other than that the rooms were great. The movie options on the television were top notch! Loved that option. During our visit to Holland America's island in the Bahama's we visited their bar only to be told that our drink package didn't include drinks on the island. We were very flabbergasted as this is Holland America's property. That was very disappointing and we left without purchasing a drink. I visited the spa and purchased "The Perfect Day" package which included a facial and massage. The facial was merely a face wash and mask. The massage focused mostly on the back and head. I was told afterward that my shoulders needed a lot of attention and I should book another appointment. Also, there was a lot of pushing of product. Not sure I would pay for that again. I've enjoyed massages at other locations during vacations that were far better. Onboarding was quick and easy. Disembarkment was easy, but the line through customs was extraordinarily long. For us it was no problem, but for anyone who has difficultly standing that long or someone who has to be somewhere quick, this is not ideal. All in all we enjoyed the cruise and would definitely sail with HA again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
17 of us took this cruise together to celebrate my brother's 50th. While I have traveled (and even lived) all over the world and I love to travel, I had never been on a cruise and was a little nervous. I LOVED it! It was so much fun! ... Read More
17 of us took this cruise together to celebrate my brother's 50th. While I have traveled (and even lived) all over the world and I love to travel, I had never been on a cruise and was a little nervous. I LOVED it! It was so much fun! I was in a balcony cabin (smallest one) and it was perfect for me and with one other person at times. I was the only one in my room, but thought it was very roomy and well appointed and had I had someone else there I think it would have been fine. The food was plentiful and fine. Not overly gourmet, but it was good and fresh and met my needs (the point of the cruise was not the food!). There was always something available - they made that very easy. Service everywhere was outstanding! I unfortunately didn't keep track of people's names - something you should do apparently for these reviews. But I didn't have a bad moment once! Embarking and disembarking were quick and easy! No lines ever (except upon return for customs but that is not related to the cruise line). Luggage was handled well and no issues. What I liked were the loads of lounges and places to hang out. As I said we had a large group but we were rarely all together. I like to go and read so there were fun places to do that or hang with a few people. The entertainment and various activities were fun and plentiful so never lacked for something to do even with 2 days totally at sea. Here are some specific things to keep in mind (including my only negatives): 1. It annoys me to no end that they charge for sodas! I did get a soda card for $25 ahead of time that was worth $50 and that helped. I also brought bottles of soda in my carry on (which is allowed) and put those in my fridge. Soda is cheaper than juice (which was available for free at breakfast) and I think they should have free self-serve soda fountains periodically throughout the ship. 2. The info they send (know before you go) is helpful except they don't well explain the app. Before you get on the ship DOWNLOAD the app and tell anyone in your party to do the same! It's then very easy to use the chat feature with your party within the app and avoid texting charges. We didn't understand all of this and 17 people had 17 different phone carriers and plans so some were afraid to text, turn on their phone, etc. With the app, you have the ability to check the schedule, chat with each other, even check that day's dinner menus while keeping your phone in airplane mode! But it's not clear how it works and took us a lot of playing around (and ultimately not everyone in our group used it). I have since gotten my phone bill and had zero extra charges. 3. My cabin's bathroom had some chips/marks in it that I mistook for dirt at first but then realized it was minimal damage. I am fine with that and the cabin was kept VERY clean and don't expect the cruise line to fix every chip - just be warned, there may be minimal damage but look closely as it's not dirt! 4. This ship holds I think about 2000 people but it didn't feel that large. My good friend and I were on opposite ends of the ship and we could get to each other's rooms with an easy 5 minute walk. But do plan to walk a lot and use stairs whenever possible on the ship. I thought it was very easy to get around, very well marked with signage, and people were super helpful on the few times I got confused. 5. I did do some shore excursions which I really enjoyed. Most were with Holland America but did do one outside of them and all were good with no problems. Overall I loved it and plan to cruise in the future (even took advantage of paying a deposit for a future cruise to get some cruise credit). Loved Holland America and recommend this ship, their crew, and their service! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
It has been several years, cruises and cruise lines since we were on board a HAL ship, 2016 to be exact. We chose this trip primarily because of the time frame, pricing and lazy itinerary. Had not been on the Oosterdam, and it did have Key ... Read More
It has been several years, cruises and cruise lines since we were on board a HAL ship, 2016 to be exact. We chose this trip primarily because of the time frame, pricing and lazy itinerary. Had not been on the Oosterdam, and it did have Key West in the itinerary, always a favorite stop for us. We departed from Port Everglades, utilizing a nearby parking lot not directly on port property to save a few bucks, and I have to say, the embarkation process was one of the fastest and smoothest of our 20+ cruises. No issues, we walked right on board are were able to go directly to our cabin without any wait at all. And, after the cruise, disembarkation was also a really quick and painless process. We were permitted to remain in our cabins or any of the public areas, and we got off right on time in a logical and unhurried but steady manner. What a treat! We selected a forward balcony cabin on the Observation Deck (10010) and found it to be smaller than expected. The balcony was apparently an afterthought add-on and was extremely narrow in both depth and width. The 2 chairs had to be placed just so before the door could be opened and unless you sat far left you had to get up to let a second person out of the door. Room for more than 2 not possible. Disappointing, but spent many hours enjoying the views, and the weather was great for our 7 days. Had excellent port views from here also. Cabin location suited us well. We do not suffer from any sea sickness issues and actually love it when there some rocking. While others might complain, we have never had a "too rough" cruise. Guess we have good sea legs. It was very quiet with only 25 cabins and getting an elevator never seemed to take long. We were told the ship was full, but it sure didn't seem like it, except on the Lido Deck at key dining times. The only other public area on our deck was the EXC/Excursion Desk/Observation Deck/Crow's Nest that housed a library, meeting room, coffee shop / bar and wonderful comfortable chairs to read and watch the sea from. Our cabin did have great shower pressure, plenty of hot water, great bed, and an air conditioner that actually worked really well to keep us comfortable. The ship itself, together with our cabin and balcony, were immaculate. Our room steward did a wonderful job for us and also kept us fully stocked with ice at all times. He was a joy and very unobstusive, popping in and out while we were out and about. Clearly an older ship, she was in good repair and literally sparkled. Rugs in public areas were clean and some parts of public areas were shampooed every day, especially port days. I had read criticism of her fittings being old and decrepit. Perhaps given my age, early 60s, I felt more at home than younger counterparts, but it felt warm, comfortable and a bit homey to me. I prefer the smaller ships to the new, slick & glitzy mega liners as they are easier for older legs to navigate and miss none of the action. Except....there wasn't much action. Oh, there were activities, but not much that we found suited our taste. We don't gamble, play trivia, bingo, board games, Bridge, Mahjong or assemble puzzles. We don't like Blues or jazz music much either. So that left us longing for more classical, piano, or some soft rock (nope, none of that). We liked the Test Kitchen seminars, and wished they would let us sample some of the things made, but they said they "could not for health reasons"? Made no sense. We also thoroughly enjoyed the BBC Planet Earth offerings and the live orchestral performance with one of the movies was delightful. The main stage entertainment was OK, nothing special, with the usual comic, magician and one musical dancing/singing show. Meh, the movie offerings were better than the live performances for us. The shore excursions we took were fine, and we have no complaints of the city tours taken. The food was the biggest disappointment of all. Everything looked yummy, but was lacking in taste and seasonings. Very bland. Rubbery chicken, tough steaks (even in the famed extra-cost Pinnacle Grill the Tenderloin just wasn't), the fish was fish-y tasting. Nothing was served hot, just lukewarm at best. HAL of old dining is no more. The lone exception seemed to be the breads and rolls and cookies. Coffee was plentiful and nicely stronger than average. The chocolate extravaganza looked so enticing but the reality was there was not much taste to any of it. Too many corners cut I guess. Lido Deck breakfast offerings and sandwiches and salads kept us the happiest, but only if we waited until the crowds died down. Very disappointed in the food offerings, for sure. The very best thing about this sailing was the crew and staff. Every single person we encountered seemed genuinely happy to be aboard and strived to please. That part was just remarkable! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Friends had planned their vacation and invited us along...We would go again in a heart beat. Our room was clean, we were catered to, there was plenty of food and so many choices. The staff made us feel catered to. Our cabin person PuTu ... Read More
Friends had planned their vacation and invited us along...We would go again in a heart beat. Our room was clean, we were catered to, there was plenty of food and so many choices. The staff made us feel catered to. Our cabin person PuTu was awesome!!! He brought us what ever we needed, answered our questions and kept us informed. PuTu was funny, sweet and so very accommodating. His customer services skills are golden! *We were invited on the cruise by our friends Norm and Teri, we invited my husbands brother and sister~in~law Richard and Paulette. We all had a blast! *Shore excursions we absolutely loved and had so much fun on the ConTiki. *The mini hummers were fun and educating our guide 'Johnny Depp' was fun and knowledgeable. *We went on an unplanned excursion in a young man who had a comfortable van asked us along and his prices were AWESOME! I wish I could remember his name, you wouldn't believe how much he knew. This person made us feel as if we'd been friends forever. *On our last stop we had pre-ordered a 'half shell?' with two lounge chairs. We couldn't find any available ones and the people we were instructed to look for, for guidance were no where to be seen. We just gave up and ended up not getting one because it felt like we were wasting our beach time looking for help. *(Just a thought, maybe those who pre-order get a ticket say "lounge shell #1" and tag the shells with numbers. when we get to the destination or somewhere along the way the tickets are given to the purchasers so they may just go to the preassigned shells. AND the 'half shells' are set up prior to our arrival...(I heard from some that they had to wait for someone to set things up when they got there, and they too had to follow behind a line of people and LOOK for available seats.) But the positive experiences far overweight the beach chair experience and we absolutely would love to go on another cruise. Thank you to all who made our first experience so very AWESOME! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Main Dining: food only poor to average. Always sauced up. Not very tasty. Not enough fresh fruit desert options or healthy entrees. Husband found the food poor. The only place to get a decent steak is to pay for the extra restaurants. ... Read More
Main Dining: food only poor to average. Always sauced up. Not very tasty. Not enough fresh fruit desert options or healthy entrees. Husband found the food poor. The only place to get a decent steak is to pay for the extra restaurants. Breakfast was pretty predictable, and closed early (9:00). I miss the smoked fish appetizers, fresh vegetables, and nice portion of fish or chicken for an entree. Lido Market--Pool deck: NOT always open. In fact, their hours were difficult if you were one to eat a late lunch (closed at 2, didn't reopen until 5) or breakfast (closed at 10--no sleeping in here). Only Pizza, pasta and deserts were open all the time -- again not very healthy. Entertainment: absolutely awful. What happened to the steel drum bands, and entertainment on the pool deck? None, ever, and this was a Caribbean cruise with no Caribbean flare. No musical performers on Main Stage at all during trip, only 2 nights functioning with a comedianne and a ventriloquist. Only music available was in Billboard Cafe (excellent piano duo) or Lincoln Center Live (classical music, and the musicians were not that good) or BB King's Jazz club. We ended up entertaining ourselves with trivia, bingo and happy hour. Best thing about this cruise: I got to share it with nephews and brother/sister-in-law. Without that it would have been a no go. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because the itinerary fit our spring break schedule. The ship was very nice and well maintained. Customer service was excellent. The food was very good and dining staff were excellent! The waiter was very ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the itinerary fit our spring break schedule. The ship was very nice and well maintained. Customer service was excellent. The food was very good and dining staff were excellent! The waiter was very accommodating to our 8 year old grandson and even made him an origami animal each night, showed him magic tricks and made sure he had something to eat from the kids menu that he liked at each meal. Our grandson adored him! The ventriloquist and comedy shows were very good and we enjoyed the Discovery Earth production (warning - if you don't like snakes, don't watch the first segment - could be scary for young children - our grandson did not attend). My husband enjoyed the Lincoln Center performances. The other music shows were fair - we passed on the second performance. BB King's nightclub and performances were very enjoyable. The "chocolate surprise" evening was very disappointing. It lasted about 3 minutes and if you were not in the right place at the right time you didn't get anything! Club Hal for children was fair - there were games and arts and crafts. There were video games available and my grandson enjoyed that. He attended about 3 times but quickly became bored and stayed with us the rest of the time. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
This was out first cruise so we were not sure what to expect. We had heard from our friends that Holland America was a very elegant and relaxing cruise line... and they were right! We loved having a relaxing atmosphere. The staff around ... Read More
This was out first cruise so we were not sure what to expect. We had heard from our friends that Holland America was a very elegant and relaxing cruise line... and they were right! We loved having a relaxing atmosphere. The staff around the ship was extremely friendly and polite. Our stateroom stewards would greet us by name, even when they saw us out and about on the ship! They always asked how our day was going and if there was anything they could help us with. Everything across the ship was sparkling clean, the food was amazing and a nice selection of entertainment. We preferred to go to the later evening shows, because the earlier shows filled up quite quickly. This ship definitely has a classic feel to it, and it appeared to cater towards an 'older' crowd, although all age groups were present. My husband utilized the spa services and raved about his experience. We recommend spending the little extra to get a balcony room- ours provided spectacular views and was a nice place to take a nap or enjoy a few quiet moments. We would definitely book another cruise with Holland America Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Our family (children and grandchildren) & friends eagerly anticipated HAL with its elegant charm and service for us oldies. HAL did extremely well on service, food, cabins, and efficiency on board. Our group enjoyed the cruise and our ... Read More
Our family (children and grandchildren) & friends eagerly anticipated HAL with its elegant charm and service for us oldies. HAL did extremely well on service, food, cabins, and efficiency on board. Our group enjoyed the cruise and our expectations were exceeded. We had a wonderful table and staff on Deck3 and Rudy's Fish premium dining to celebrate our 52 Wedding Anniversary. Compared to Norwegian, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Viking it was at least equal. Our balcony suite on Deck8 was larger than expected. The cabin steward was very friendly but unobtrusive, keeping our cabin spotlessly clean every day. We had our breakfast served in our cabin each day at no extra cost so we could eat in our pajamas and avoid the crowds in Lido. All this would have earned a 5*. Now the negatives. Poor communication between Call Center staff on shore and ship staff resulted in our group of 6 being split up for dinner if I had not escalated it, and then we got a nice table together. Poor organization resulted in a very late start of our Cozumel shore excursion and then we were rushed through the Chocolate, Glass bottom boat and Rum part of the tour. We had wonderful fellow passengers except for a couple of weird ones who showed up 20 mins late for a shore excursion and then demanded their money back when the only seats left were in the back of the bus. Another situation was when a family with 5 children considered it OK to let their kids aged 3 - 6 monopolize the BB King dance floor at 9 pm. preventing adults from dancing. They said there were no signs that said no kids! Another family seated their 3 young kids in the first row at the Comedienne show when they knew she would be telling adult jokes. There is no accounting for poor taste and lack of common sense. Apart from these examples, the fellow passengers were very urbane and cultured. In general the shows were OK - not as good as Norwegian. But I guess the bigger ships can afford higher quality/cost entertainers. I have yet to see any shows like "burn the floor" The Jersey Boys, Beatles, etc that we saw on Norwegian. But we prefer the quieter and more cozy atmosphere of smaller ships. So bottom line, a 4* experience! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We booked this cruise with 2 other couples to celebrate 2 Birthdays and for the itinerary which included 4 port days. This is our 7th cruise on Holland America. We had praised up our previous cruises and the quality of service, cuisine ... Read More
We booked this cruise with 2 other couples to celebrate 2 Birthdays and for the itinerary which included 4 port days. This is our 7th cruise on Holland America. We had praised up our previous cruises and the quality of service, cuisine and attention to detail with our friends. It soon became apparent, that this cruise was not going to compare in any way with our previous experiences. Pros: The Oosterdam was in very good shape in all the common areas having recently undergone a refurbishment. Many of the hard working staff we encountered were very pleasant and smiling. We met many wonderful folks on the cruise, but sadly, most of our conversations were regarding this cruise compared to others. The ports of call were wonderful, providing lots to see and do and wonderful beach time! We enjoyed the ports and the time spent with our friends. Disappointments: It began at embark/check-in. As we entered the port area, there was a gentleman "hearding" people thru the line calling out "Passports!!! Get your passports out" As we approached him, he hollered at me "Where is your passport?" I explained that we held Enhanced licenses from the state of Vermont. We were pulled from the line. He then proceeded to tell us that we couldn't sail that day without a passport. I explained to him that I had called Seattle and researched the website and that we could indeed travel with an enhanced license and a Birth Certificate if needed. He then let us back in line. Our friends had also stepped aside to wait for us. We proceeded to check in where the woman never asked for our BC or wanted them even when I offered them. We checked in and proceeded to board and were told our staterooms were ready. All 3 couples had inside staterooms side by side- 8125, 8129 and 8133. We went to the cabins to leave off the items we had carried on board. I went into the bathroom and found numerous hairs on the vanity and floor and upon leaving the bath, saw and empty water bottle under the edge of the closet. Since we were meeting the others for lunch, we proceeded to the Lido deciding to try and talk with our cabin steward later. Upon meeting up with our friends, we learned their bathroom had also not been cleaned sufficiently. They had to ask their steward twice to clean the bathroom. We actually had to leave a note for our steward as we never saw them for the first 2 days- that our bathroom needed to be cleaned and the cabin vacuumed as we found nail clippings, hair and other small objects on the carpet. We also had a remote for the TV that was difficult to use due to worn buttons, but as we never saw the steward, it was impossible to get it replaced. We had ordered a gallon of distilled water for my husband's bi-pap machine and that also wasn't delivered. During the course of the week I was called down to Guest Relations 4 times for issues with my Birth Certificate information which no one wanted to see when we checked in. I was denied getting off the ship the first day in Key West and had to take my ID to Guest Relations before disembarking. They then said that when I returned to the ship that afternoon, I had to come back with my BC! Which I did. However, I was summoned 3 more times to Guest Services regarding my BC. Other issues: $25 beverage cards we were all "comped" never were activated. We had to go to GR and have them activated, then they still didn't work. When I returned to GR, they said it did work and a drink had been charged to it. However, that same drink had also been charged to our cabin. For the duration of the cruise, every attempt to use the beverage card was denied. Tall tropical drinks were served without straws. If pressed, the bar staff would finally give you a straw cut in half. Bar staff coverage in the Sea View pool / bar area was almost non-existent. They seemed to cater to the smoking crowd on one side of the pool - who also had all the very nice comfortable chairs for lounging, cards and reading. If we wanted to order a drink you had to stand and wave a server over, and then it could be up to a half hour before they returned. They were not familiar with the bar menu in regards to non-alcoholic drinks, but if you ordered the daily special or a beer, they knew those. I ordered the same exact non-alcoholic drink 3 different days and got a different drink each time. Only the first one was as described in the bar menu. Entertainment: one of the biggest disappointments. Our previous HAL cruises had wonderful, quality shows, and entertainment. This cruise had one musical show that actually played 2 nights, a comedian whose show lasted all of 45 minutes and he played entirely off the first row of the audience, and didn't seem to have an act other than that. There was a magician who also had a short show. One evening was actually BBC photos shown on a screen along with the orchestra type music. BB King's was always packed as there wasn't much else going on. Their sets were short with frequent breaks. The dueling pianos were stuck in the hallway next to the Casino and very loud. The male singer/player was OK, but the woman singer was definitely not the caliber of entertainers we had seen previously. We miss the other piano bar. There really wasn't much to do in the evenings, the casino games were not as plentiful or entertaining, no place to dance, no Karaoke or guest involved activities such as games etc. No pool games during the day. We did appreciate the movies in the cabin, as this is the first cruise we have spent any amount of time in there! Normally there is so much going on, we just shower, change and sleep there. Years ago, they did away with the Hal Cats- the live music at the pools, but last cruise they did have a steel drum player. This cruise nothing. There was some DJ played music during sail aways, and on St. Patrick's Day, but not the same atmosphere at all. My husband did attend the Windows Workshops which he enjoys, but he was very disappointed to find the last one (that we came back from Half Moon Cay early for) was cancelled. No notice, just a hand written sign on the door when he got there. We were very disappointed that the Sea View Aft pool is no longer Adult only! The pool and the hot tubs were crowded with kids even though the signage stated children needed to be accompanied by and adult. They weren't! Young boys were throwing a Nerf football and running and jumping, splashing and such every day. Small children were in the pool with arm floaties on with no adult with them. We asked several times for ship staff to do something, but they just shrugged their shoulders and did nothing. We seldom ate in the Lido- the different stations mostly featured ethnic food choices, other than deli sandwiches and the salad bar, not much for american cuisine. We actually felt like we were a minority in this area! Sushi, Thai, Chinese, etc. There was always a long line for the ice cream station, and our friends stated that on other cruise lines, it is set up differently so it doesn't cause a clog in the Lido line movement. We noticed a distinct difference in the menu offerings in the main dining room as well. The line for the Dive In hamburger stand was extremely long, but we attributed this to the large number of children onboard -225 we were told. Though we cruise this same week every time, we have never encountered this many children on board our cruises. The ship doesn't have all the water slides, and bells and whistles other kid-friendly ships have, so I'm sure the kids were bored as well. We had originally had fixed dining at 8 p.m. some of our party didn't want to eat that late so approx a month before sailing I called Seattle and relinquished our fixed seating and they assured me we could make dinner reservations "at any time". They advised we make 2 days at a time, as we boarded. As soon as we were in our cabin, we called to make dinner reservations for 7:00 p.m.. We were told that reservations were only for 5:45 and 7:45 p.m. We were told to go to the diningroom at 7:00 and get in line. We did get a table around 7 that first night. However, we didn't leave until 2 1/2 hours later! 4 other tables around us sat, ordered and ate before we got our entrees. We also had requested 2 Birthday desserts for that evening for the birthdays in our party. They never arrived. We missed the show that first night, and advised the Dining room manager and thru the app Navigator about our issues. The Diningroom manager more than made up for the first night the rest of the week and other than my getting an allergic reaction to Cilantro, the rest of our dining experience was good! We were surprised to see shrimp cocktail only offered one evening and none of the cold soups we had loved on previous cruises. Also, no baked Alaska, no chocolate extravaganza or parade of the diningroom staff. In all our HAL cruises, we have never encountered the issues we had on this cruise! We saw our cabin steward 2X - after leaving a note for him. The woman in Guest Relations was not pleasant and not helpful in anyway. She seemed peeved that I asked for the drink charges to be compared/reviewed, and that I questioned an onboard credit that wasn't showing. There seemed to be far less staff than previously, and those that are there have more cabins to care for, more guests to serve. It seems HAL is cutting corners in all the wrong places. I think passengers would be willing to pay the going rate for the quality of service we used to receive. This is the first cruise we have been on, where I didn't feel like I was a special guest of Holland America. We were unable to attend the Mariner's luncheon as it conflicted with 2 other events we wanted to attend. Previously, we have received our HAL tiles in our cabin. This cruise nothing. We had saved up for our cruise, we have to fly down from Vermont, and it was my first vacation in 2 years. Though we enjoyed the ports, our friends and the fun we made ourselves, it was not the typical Holland America experience for us. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We are a 50 something couple travelling with my 80 something parents. I chose this cruise because my elderly parents find it easier to get around the smaller ships of Holland America and the stops were different than stops I have made ... Read More
We are a 50 something couple travelling with my 80 something parents. I chose this cruise because my elderly parents find it easier to get around the smaller ships of Holland America and the stops were different than stops I have made before. I was pleasantly surprised that the passengers were not as old as on previous HA cruises. Service was excellent except at Lido, which was crowded, slow and difficult to maneuver. Food in main dining room okay, not great. Wine service in Main dining room terrible. Many of the wines on wine list were not available, some wines had turned and other wines were not kept at proper temperature. Pinnacle good, but probably not worth the money. Canaletto fantastic and worth every penny. Would have gone twice if I could. Minimal activites though what they had was good. BB Kings performers were terrific but their sets were short and over early. No place to dance after they finished. Billboard also very fun. Main stage shows mediocre. Key west fun. We just explored on foot independently. Had a surprisingly good time on catamaran snorkel in DR. Crew fantastic. Had a terrible fishing trip in Turks. I felt unsafe on the boat due to their reckless driving. Only one fish was caught but I suspect we would have been more successful with live bait and sonar, neither of which they had. HA should seriously reevaluate their relationship with this provider. Private island absolutely beautiful. I personally prefer Celebrity because of the wider range of entertainment but the food and service were better on HA. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We have done 16 cruises on Princess and Holland. The Oosterdam cruise from March 16-30th was wonderful. Not for the ports(had been there many times) but for the happy and smiling crew, good food, excellent service and well maintained ... Read More
We have done 16 cruises on Princess and Holland. The Oosterdam cruise from March 16-30th was wonderful. Not for the ports(had been there many times) but for the happy and smiling crew, good food, excellent service and well maintained ship. We loved it all! We always sail in March to celebrate our Anniversary and get away to warm and sunny weather. We always book a Signature Suite. Our room stewards were outstanding.Their smiles and happy greetings always made our day. The day of our anniversary we woke to no HOT WATER! They called the plumber right away. Due to the nature of the problem no hot water until later that night. We cancelled our anniversary dinner in the Pinnacle Grill and decided to just grab a bite in the Lido and wait for a shower. Stuff happens. Just was a bad day. later that night, our server " Ronnie" up at the Sea View Bar by the pool surprised us by setting a table w/ cloth,flowers,candles etc. to dine under the stars. We were so surprised and thrilled. It was the best anniversary dinner ever. Many of our new cruise friends came and shared our celebration. This was incredible service turning a sad situation into an incredible evening. Turns out we are happy the plumbing broke!!!! The entire ship staff were incredible and made our entire 2 week experience a very happy one. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Ship was dated and not attractive. Very crowded because it was spring break so lesson for me don't cruise the Caribbean during the March/April time frame. Cabin was verandah on the 8th deck and noise came from decks above and ... Read More
Ship was dated and not attractive. Very crowded because it was spring break so lesson for me don't cruise the Caribbean during the March/April time frame. Cabin was verandah on the 8th deck and noise came from decks above and below us. Complained to HAL since I asked if this would be noisy and was assured no prior to booking - gave me a $150 credit when I complained. Cabin was not cleaned properly prior to our arrival - bathroom floor was nasty. Noisy and dirty cabin. Entertainment and activities were minimal. The same Planet Earth has been on every HAL cruise I have taken in the past two years. Service in the Dining room was great. Dining was good but small portions. Ports OK - Half Moon Cay was great but Amber Cove was a disappointment. Will not be sailing HAL for awhile. Used to be great - this cruise was a wake up call that the line is not keeping up its previous standards. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was my sixth HAL cruise. HAL has always been my favorite. I've also experienced Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Carnival. I chose this cruise because the week of March 16th was the best fit for our group of 12 (all ... Read More
This was my sixth HAL cruise. HAL has always been my favorite. I've also experienced Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Carnival. I chose this cruise because the week of March 16th was the best fit for our group of 12 (all women) and the price was good for everyone in our group. I haven't sailed HAL for several years. I know Oosterdam is an older ship (2003 launch) but it had been refurbished in 2016 so I wasn't too concerned about that. I enjoyed a relaxing week in Fort Lauderdale with my husband before joining a group of eleven women (sisters, daughters, aunts, cousins). After dropping my husband off at the airport, I was ready for some fun on the ship. Positives: As always, the staff was superb. Loved our cabin steward who was efficient, and unobtrusive.He seemed to be able to anticipate our needs and never missed a beat with making sure we had plenty of fresh ice and a clean stateroom Our dinner waiters were excellent! Very willing to grant special requests and they catered to the really picky eater we had in our group. She was nearly impossible to please with menu choices but our waiters made her happy. Amazing! It was always difficult to get the attention of the wine steward and we had to ask out wait staff to find her on most evenings. I like to enjoy wine before and during my dinner and it's a little frustrating to receive a glass of wine after dinner has started. Overall, the ship was clean Our room was spacious #5902 Veranda Deck - mid-ship Plenty of storage in the room, lots of hangers and shelves. Bathroom was clean and a decent size Balcony was just okay ... felt old and worn to me and I didn't spend a lot of time on the balcony Embarkation and Debarkation was quick and easy Disappointments: Entertainment. On past HAL cruises the number of activities offered each day was excellent. Evening entertainment in the theater offered Vegas Style shows that kept us coming back for more. On this cruise, we had a comedian (twice), a magician, and Post Modern Jukebox (twice). While good, these were certainly not in the same class as previous offerings. BB King Lounge. Loved the music and dancing but this was only one of two options for music entertainment all week. Shows were short with 15 minute breaks in the music. I usually found myself going to bed early rather than waiting for the next set to start. Would have preferred a longer set and a 30 minute break. Billboard - two talented piano players who played a wide variety of songs and sang beautifully. Relatively small open area along with walkway across from the casino. Always crowded... but there really weren't any other options other than the casino and BB King. No disco for late night dancing No long list of activities during the day to keep me entertained. No traditional piano bar which is what I missed most. I love the intimate setting of a piano bar where you can visit with the piano player and other guests, sing along and request songs. Billboard offered some of this but it was more like a show with little audience interaction. No Karaoke! This has always been popular on cruises I've taken even for those who don't sing. Big disappointment, especially for those who like to participate in activities rather than just watch. Dining: The Lido lounge always had long lines and less "help yourself" style options. While I recognize this is more healthy and safer, it was frustrating to either wait a long time or be forced to choose something else. Options weren't as plentiful as past cruises. The dining room offerings were also more limited. I enjoyed every meal but the choices were less elegant than I remember on previous cruises. I didn't see escargot on the menu once. Ports: Not much to say about the ports. Love Halfmoon Cay! Grand Turks and Amber Cove (Dom. Rep.) were a little disappointing but I knew what I was getting when I chose the itinerary. All in all, it was a good week but boring! Not enough to do, not enough activities to help guests interact and participate. Where were the games by the pool? Where were the fun activities like the Newlywed Game in the theater which always drew hundreds for great laughs. While I applaud HAL for offering changes to keep things fresh, I think they gave up too many of the best opportunities for entertainment and participation. Based on many conversations with other cruisers, I'm not alone in this opinion. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
My wife and I are 3* HAL loyalists. We have gone a winter Caribbean cruise every year for the last 25 years or so. Over the last 15 years we have only sailed on HAL as we enjoy the traditional cruising style of HAL as opposed to the ... Read More
My wife and I are 3* HAL loyalists. We have gone a winter Caribbean cruise every year for the last 25 years or so. Over the last 15 years we have only sailed on HAL as we enjoy the traditional cruising style of HAL as opposed to the mega-ship vibe. We chose the Oosterdam western cruise this year. Have not been on the Oosterdam previously but have been on Zuiderdam and most classes of HAL ships over the years. For the first time we were disappointed in HAL. We were on the March 2 sailing. We splurged for a Neptune Suite. Embarkation was a breeze. It was probably 15 minutes from Lyft ride to boarding the ship. The ship itself was impeccable. Our suite was in perfect condition. Here is a list of our disappointments: 1. Food - we had fixed dining 2nd seating. As always the service was great. I have always defended HAL's food quality over the years - but not this time. Examples included a pepper pot soup that consisted of over cooked bits of yesterdays short ribs covered by a dilute beef broth. A cat fish fillet that you could find in your Krogers frozen food section in a box and the fillet part of my "surf and turf" was an embarrassment - must have 3 oz and a hamburger patty would have been more flavorful. 2. $10 surcharge - My wife wanted the veal chop the night of the surf and turf but asked for a lobster tail to go with it. We were charged $10 for an "extra entree". Really? Felt like a slap in the face. 3. Promenade deck - we enjoy our walks around the deck. 90% of the time it was closed off for some maintenance such that you could not circle it completely. 4. Food - back to food: no chilled soups, no smoke fish, no baked Alaska. HAL food seems to be becoming very homogenized and bland 5. Shore excursions: overpriced as usual. The one we took in MoBay included being jammed into a small minibus to the point where I had to sit on a jump seat for an hour. The advertised 4 hour trip to a plantation house took us 6 hours. 6. Ports of call: why do they stop at Montego Bay anyway? Absolutely nothing to do there that did not involve and excursion. Cayman was cancelled. Cozumel - tourist trap. 7. Entertainment: there was no mainstage entertainment the first night out. No production shows. On the plus side, the crew and waitstaff were as friendly and gracious as always. The ship was in impeccable condition. The Lincoln Center shows and BB King were excellent. The America's Test Kitchen was great HAL seems to be getting rid of the things that made them different. With declining food quality and never ending surcharges, we are thinking about doing something different next year rather than a HAL cruise. And we are sad about that. 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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