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
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
1 Helpful Vote
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
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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