8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
This was my second cruise on Holland America, my 10th cruise overall. Husband and I did round trip from Seattle to Alaska. The price was a few hundred below other cruise lines doing this itinerary, and now I know why. The Good: Smooth ... Read More
This was my second cruise on Holland America, my 10th cruise overall. Husband and I did round trip from Seattle to Alaska. The price was a few hundred below other cruise lines doing this itinerary, and now I know why. The Good: Smooth embarkation and disembarkation. Room stewards attentive. 24 hour Room Service fantastic. LOVED BB King Blues Club. Drink prices were quite reasonable. Large selection of movies on the TV in the stateroom. The Bad: Main Dining Room food always lukewarm, quite bland, and service was spotty. On Gala night was seated at 5:30 and did not get entree until 7PM. Activities during the day were sparse. If you like to cook or want to learn more about Windows, you will be fine. Other than that, though, you had best pack a few books because you are on your own! Singers and Dancers on the Main Stage were sub-par. The stateroom seemed poorly designed Holland America has made great strides in reforming its image as catering only to older (read 65-85) passengers, sadly this has happened at a cost to the "Old World Elegance" that HAL was once known for. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
My cousins had never cruised, so we picked an itinerary they were excited about. Thus, we had the chance to see this cruise through the eyes of our cousins who came with us. We found many areas in need of improvement, especially ... Read More
My cousins had never cruised, so we picked an itinerary they were excited about. Thus, we had the chance to see this cruise through the eyes of our cousins who came with us. We found many areas in need of improvement, especially communication. There was no apparent mechanism for hearing most announcements in the room. My cousin is hard of hearing and so felt he missed a lot of information. We were unsure if we needed to be wearing life vests for the safety drill, until the very last minute when they instructed us to proceed to the muster stations. We’ve cruised a lot and have always seen this information in the instructions or heard it on the video. No guest laundry on board the Oosterdam. I told the cousins they should expect a laundry special during the week but there never was. Nor were there any internet specials, even last-minute specials to check boarding passes, etc. Stayed at HIE SEATAC which had a shuttle to the port. This service worked very well. Embarkation: Arrival around 1045 at port, and getting through all the checkpoints was a breeze. We had a 45 min or so wait but the area was pleasant enough. Lido deck was open for lunch but apparently so was a formal dining area. We were informed about only the Lido deck. Although we normally prefer the formal lunches, our travel companions had never cruised before and so having lunch on the Lido was a good introduction to the buffet. The area is nicely designed and was much quieter and less crowded than I expected, although it was starting to get crowded by the time we left. Food options were varied, interesting, and of good quality. Somehow we missed the opportunity to meet the naturalist, but we did make the sail-away party. While the venue was a bit too noisy and crowded for our companions, they enjoyed the beautiful weather and scenery, and meeting other people. Day 1, embarkation: Dinner: we managed to get a 6 pm dining slot. Service is slow. Food was quite good. I had the seafood chowder and rockfish. I could take or leave the chowder but the fish was nice. Day 2: Sea Day. Quite a few options at breakfast. Sit-down lunch was nice with a variety of options, but slow service. Since we also enjoyed high tea a short time later, we ended up skipping formal night dinner as we had early reservations and were still too full. Day 3. Juneau Breakfast. Arrived when the doors opened, asked for window so we got the table at the very rear. Apparently the wait staff find this territory dangerous. Sometime after 8:30 I asked if we could get pastries and several minutes later my oatmeal and the pastries arrived. Sometime after 9 the hot meals arrived. As for service, my oatmeal arrived on one plate, accompanied by a plate with milk and raisins on it, and a separate one with sliced banana. Finding no space to put all these plates, the waiter set them on the edge and shoved the existing plate further in. I hurriedly tried to move plates so the milk didn’t topple. Just not the way food should be served. Day 4 at sea, view of glaciers Bundle up! It’s going to be cold outside, but you’ll want to be outside for the best view. The naturalist was speaking on deck 4 but the PA system seemed to cut out frequently so we stopped trying to make out what she was saying. Just look, and be awed. Day 5. Sitka Sea Otter and Wildlife tour was amazing. We had time for this tour, a very quick bite of lunch in town at the Highliner Coffee Shop, and a little walking around before rushing back to the ship. Most restaurants are sit-down, table service places which take time, according to the Visitors’ Center staff. We wanted time for looking around. So keep in mind how limited your time is here. The ship was docked some distance from town. There is a shuttle station at the town port with free shuttle service to the ship. Although they said it ran every 20 minutes it seemed to be more frequent. Just don’t expect to end a tour in town (as most seemed to do), grab the shuttle back to the ship for lunch and make it back to town to do much of anything. The town library is about a block from the shuttle stop, and has free wi-fi. Day 6 Ketchikan A very short day, with arrival at 7:30 and departure at 12:30. We had time to walk around a little. Bars and restaurants might have free wi-fi if you make a purchase, but otherwise, don’t expect free wi-fi anywhere. We have Google Fi which has worked in some pretty obscure places in the world but not here, at least not for data. Phone worked fine. Day 7 Vancouver Arrival at 6:30 pm and time to be back on board 11:30 pm. Very odd hours, difficult to work around if you didn’t go on a tour. We ate an early dinner and decided to walk around. Disembarkation was chaotic, with the gangway stairs roped off, and most elevators not going to deck A. We got off the elevator on deck 1 to find people milling around and the cordon being removed from the stairwell, but we were there after 7, so the stairwell should have been open. There were no instructions in the Where and When as to what documents we needed to get back aboard. Turns out, just the ship’s card. Arrival in Seattle No information on breakfast hours provided the day before. We had to call and ask. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Got a great deal on cruise to Alaska on the Oosterdam so we took it. Since we live near the west coast and are seniors on a limited budget, but love cruising. We shop for cruise deals primarily from the west coast which limits us pretty ... Read More
Got a great deal on cruise to Alaska on the Oosterdam so we took it. Since we live near the west coast and are seniors on a limited budget, but love cruising. We shop for cruise deals primarily from the west coast which limits us pretty much to Alaska and Mexico as destinations. This was our 16th cruise and second on HAL. In addition to HAL we have cruised Celebrity, Princess, Carnival Norwegian, and RCCL. We almost always get an oceanview (picture window, no balcony) room. We booked a fully obstructed view as we have been to Alaska twice before, both times with balconies. We have booked fully obstructed rooms before only to be given partially obstructed or non obstructed rooms when we got on board but this room was FULLY obstructed. No complaints. That is what we paid for and that is what we got. Embarkation at Seattle was super fast. Also our luggage was outside the door of our room before we got back from lunch. That was a first for us. Usually we are lucky if we get it right after dinner. HAL seems to have embarkation down really well. The room was a moderate size room for that category cabin compared to other ships we had been on. Not the smallest and not the largest. The bed, however, was the most comfortable of any bed I have had on any cruise ship anywhere. Both my wife and I tended to sleep in very late as we did not want to get out of that bed. It was wonderful. The ship itself is an older ship and that is evident but it is kept clean and functional. The food is very, very good in my opinion. I know people have particular and sometimes very different taste in food and what one person finds terrific, another finds horrible. I am very much a simple meat and potatoes type guy. I like my hot food hot, my cold food cold and tasty. I want the food to taste good enough that I would love to come back and have the same thing again. I am not an adventurous eater. I know what I like and am not particularly interested in trying new things. I really liked the food on both HAL ships I have been on. I always found something that appealed to me and it always tasted like I expected it to taste and good. Except for the pizza. The first evening I got a piece of plain cheese pizza. It was the worst pizza I have ever had on any cruise ship ever! I would swear to you that there was not a drop of tomato sauce underneath the cheese on the pizza. I could not see or taste any but when we questioned the staff they said there was. That was the only piece of pizza I had for the entire trip. It was BAAAD. Food in the main dining room was exceptional. Food in the buffet was above average for cruise buffet food. The desserts merit special praise. The Dive In next to the pool had great hamburgers and hot dogs. I found the main showroom entertainment disappointing. The were only two production shows and while the singers and dancers were certainly talented enough, they could only work with the material they had. I found the first show just OK and the second show very disappointing because of the choice of material,staging, production values as a whole. This was more than made up for by the entertainment provided by Jordan Wolf and Justin Lacey at Billboard in the small lounge across from the casino. These two young men played duet pianos across from each other and sang. They were amazing!!! People passing through on their way to the main stage show or elsewhere would stop, stand there and listen for the rest of the show. Their shows were standing room only. They became a nightly must see for us, as well as many others. The regulars got there early and got seats. The last night of the cruise, at the last show, those of us that were seated stood and gave them a standing ovation at the conclusion which spontaneously lasted for 10 minutes or more. If they were the only entertainment we saw on the cruise, we would have been more than satisfied. In addition to the production shows in the main theater, they had a comedian who I did not find particularly funny who spent part of his act talking about his autistic daughter, her development and accomplishments, which evoked pathos, but was not what I considered to be an evenings entertainment on a cruise ship. It was not, in my opinion, an appropriate venue for that discussion. There was also a comedian/magician who I thought was very good and very entertaining. Two things I have high standards for are entertainment and pizza. A third is hamburgers and hot dogs. I am not going to discuss the ports or Alaska, as we do not do excursions. Suffice it to say Alaska is beautiful. I could see it 20 times, it would still be beautiful. The ports are in Alaska. Enough said. When we go on cruises, we go on cruises to be on the ship. That is what we like. In Mexico, we do not even get off to see the ports much of the time. We have already seen them a whole bunch and they pretty much all the look the same to us. So I don't review ports. Could not tell you what to not miss and what to be sure and miss. The library on the ship, located in Explorations Cafe, is well stocked. The crows nest is great for looking out the windows and observing provided you can get a seat, which is a bit of a challenge. Did not go in the pool which others said was cold but did go in the hot tub which was more of a warm tub, which actually was okay by me. I could stay in longer. Service on the ship was very good and the staff were exceptional. They always smiled and greeted you warmly. Each staff member encountered would do whatever they could to help you, solve any problems and make your cruise enjoyable. Unfortunately, guest services has long lines and limited personnel to handle the amount of people needing assistance. Part of the problem, in my opinion, lies with that fact that HAL does not have an interactive account listing on your TV screen like other cruise lines do. Instead you have to go to guest services and either get a printout from one of two kiosks, if they are working, or speak with a guest services person after waiting in line forever. If you want to keep track of how much you are spending, being charged, your onboard credit, etc., expect to spend a lot of time at or near the guest services desk. Disembarkation was not quite as smooth as embarkation. We utilized the valet service which allows you to check your bags through to your final destination and get your airline boarding passes while still on the ship. We received written notice that we were in port valet group C and would be called to disembark at 8:15 am. The ship was scheduled to dock at 7 am. Our experience on cruise ships has been that usually we are called at the disembarkation time or later. We went up to eat breakfast at 7 am. At 7:15 our group was called for disembarkation. We rushed back to the room to get our carry-ons and disembark, barely having had anything to eat. I hope I conveyed that the pluses on this ship and this line far outweighed the minuses and I would take this cruise again in a New York minute. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We have always wanted to venture to Alaska, and the Inside Passage was truly amazing. So many islands, beautiful terrain. Lovely boat, overall, I must say. GREAT: America's Test Kitchen presentations were amazing. BB King club was ... Read More
We have always wanted to venture to Alaska, and the Inside Passage was truly amazing. So many islands, beautiful terrain. Lovely boat, overall, I must say. GREAT: America's Test Kitchen presentations were amazing. BB King club was also fantastic and fun! The best, however, was Fusion, the Quartet--such very talented musicians and just so entertaining. Erin was fantastic, and we loved her lovely voice as Cruise Director. The ship's staff was very friendly, mostly Filipino. (The friendliness, though, wasn't the kind of sincere relationships we have had with staff on past cruises. Seems like these poor people are paid miserably, and work very hard.) We loved Alaska and all the stops (Juneau, Ketichkan, & Sitka) -- recommend getting out into wilderness as much as you can. We saw bears and eagles. NOT SO GREAT: The classes at the fitness club were not great. Very mediocre, and meant for a "general" cruise crowd, not those athletic really. Young staff who talked down like you've never used a gym before. Decent gym, but more space needed for stretching and weights. Rudi's dining was a rip off--do not pay the extra money. The Palisade Cafe was good--fresh meat, filet, steak that was worth the extra mark up. In previous cruise experiences, you could get that kind of food on the regular menu. The drink packages are kind of a joke. Think carefully about what you want to consume and choose what package may work. My husband and I both bought the Signature Package, and were very upset that it wouldn't cover my favorite champagne by the glass (Veuve Cluvoe)... I would have been happy to pay the $2.50 difference from the $15.00 maximum charge for my package. They should be very clear about what you can and cannot buy, and the staff also seems to be very confused about this. Over $500 pp for the week is a lot to pay, and not worth all the confusion the packages can bring. The amount of time at the ports was dismal and rushed, especially the last stop in Victoria. Also, the ports are SO VERY touristy, with many of the jewelry and trinket shops being owned by the plethora of cruise companies. The excursions are way too expensive, and we would suggest booking with other, private companies. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We did the Alaska route. The ship looked dated inside. We booked a Neptune Suite - and that included the use of the Neptune lounge and concierge for help on all dining reservations, excursions, questions etc. The staff and lounge were ... Read More
We did the Alaska route. The ship looked dated inside. We booked a Neptune Suite - and that included the use of the Neptune lounge and concierge for help on all dining reservations, excursions, questions etc. The staff and lounge were great! They always had breakfast, snacks and drinks available - this was great on embarkation and disembarkation day to avoid the crowds in the lido market. Highlights were - the suite, the specialty dining at Pinnacle Grill (go twice if you can - really a nice menu and the quality and service shine!) Also having a Neptune suite gives you the option of having breakfast there at no surcharge. The biggest highlight was dinner at the specialty restaurant "Rudi's" The Pinnacle Grill is transformed on one night to this dinning experience. The menu is wonderful, extra perks like chef complimentary appetizer bites, dipped strawberries presented in a candelabra holder, and truffle bites along with whatever else you order. I opted for recommended dover sole which came tableside to be filleted and plated. So delicious! Pro-tip - DONT MISS dinner at Rudi's on the only night it is offered. Disappointments: Lack of onboard entertainment for sea days. Not enough variety or choices. Main dining room and Canelleto restaurant - not impressed with food choices or quality. Evening entertainment - average. The comedian we had was pretty good though. Production numbers by ship dancers - average - the lead blonde female singer on both performances - noticeably off key. And I wasn't the only one who mentioned this. I heard others around us mention this too. Oh.. one other thing not to miss. Go to the Dive Bar and get the burger and fries. Honestly, the fries were frigging amazing! lol I read this on some other blog and so my roommate and I sought them out - they did not disappoint! lol super crispy and addicting! - get the dive sauce to go with them! The spa services were ok. Overpriced as they are on all ships, but the size of the relaxation rooms with heated stone beds were too few and filled up quickly - hard to snag one on a couple of occasions. The stops in Ketchikan and Victoria were too short - only a few hours. If given the option to pick a next cruise, I would probably go with Celebrity (still my favorite line so far after 16 cruises over the years) but all in all it was fine - just not stand out great. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
We are regular cruisers with HAL. Our Cruise Consultant is excellent! She keeps notes, always remembers special details about us and our preferences. That makes a big difference - if you like to sleep in, stay up late, etc. These ... Read More
We are regular cruisers with HAL. Our Cruise Consultant is excellent! She keeps notes, always remembers special details about us and our preferences. That makes a big difference - if you like to sleep in, stay up late, etc. These little things are what make your trip. Our recent trip on Oosterdam was just amazing. The staff was outstanding, the food was excellent, the dining room at lunch allowed you to enjoy quick OR long lunches. The dining room was impeccable. Each night was excellent: Snapper, Halibut, Steak, LARGE Shrimp, Lobster, more Steak, Rack of Lamb, 8 hour slow roasted Lamb Shank, and much more. The service was impeccable. Our servers were Ari & Aji. They are a great team. We love the easy, relaxing pace of this cruise. You can have action packed days at port and enjoy the much needed pampering at sea. Our room steward was amazing (Tegru). He kept our room immaculate, but we rarely saw him. This cruise has a great itinerary. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We were on the Oosterdam last October for a Mediterranean Cruise and were very happy. When we booked this Alaska Cruise, we were thrilled to be on Oosterdam again. The staff, cabin stewards, food servers were wonderful and very helpful. ... Read More
We were on the Oosterdam last October for a Mediterranean Cruise and were very happy. When we booked this Alaska Cruise, we were thrilled to be on Oosterdam again. The staff, cabin stewards, food servers were wonderful and very helpful. We enjoyed the Lido Market and all the choices. We had our eleven year old grandson with us and he loved the ship and the Lido Market and the pool. He was in awe. Our grandson went to the Kids Club. He was in the 7-12 group, however, they seemed to group together the much younger kids with the older group. Most of the time, he enjoyed it. The food in the Dining Room had very small portions... not as I remembered. Entertainment was fabulous . I did not get a chance to take advantage of most the daytime activities this time. We enjoyed the Shore excursions and would definitely cruise on Holland America again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
The food was always excellent in the MDR. Service was good. I had no bad food and neither did my husband. Portion sizes were perfect. Embarking and disembarking was always quick and smooth. When we came in from the rain in Juneau they even ... Read More
The food was always excellent in the MDR. Service was good. I had no bad food and neither did my husband. Portion sizes were perfect. Embarking and disembarking was always quick and smooth. When we came in from the rain in Juneau they even greeted guests with hot cocoa. I found the ship lacking in entertainment during the day. I don't need to learn how to use windows or digital photography etc. Watching someone cook at America's Test Kitchen only sucked me in one time. The crows nest and Explorations cafe are a wonderful spot to watch the world go by. The only meal I wasn't as impressed by was at the specialty dining room Canaletto. The food was OK but not anything extraordinary. The dinner at Pinnacle was outstanding. We chose to do that when the ship was in Victoria instead of trying to do something with a short stay. We bought all of our shore excursions through the ship. The salmon bake (Juneau) was very tasty but I would not recommend it for anyone who has physical difficulty. It is all self serve. I had to run like a chicken with its head cut off to carry for myself and my husband as it is hard to carry plates when you use a cane and are unsteady on your feet. It was pouring rain and cold. It's all outside. You're under a shelter but we were still frozen. Panning for gold was as enjoyable as it could be in the rain. There was piano music but I think they should more pianists and play more frequently. We had to use the medical facility immediately because my husband fell going through security in port. They were excellent. But be warned, very expensive! The 2nd day we just needed to go back and get a bandage changed, have the wound checked and re bandaged and it cost $97. The first day was $317 which was kind of shocking but we were there for an hour and they did a lot of work on him.The services were excellent but the cost was terrible. We also had someone else's bill delivered to our cabin in error so that means someone else got our bill. I had to request a new one. But...the ship did send flowers to my husband in the cabin, which was a nice touch. I know you can't blame the ship, but the ship rocked alto. We heard comments around the ship that this is their 8th cruise etc and they've never experienced this much rocking. I don't know if it was the ships size or what the problem was but it was like that quite a bit. We did an Alaskan trip on a different line last year and never felt like we had to hold the walls when walking down halls. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
The food was amazing! We were thrilled with the quality of the dining room food. They served LARGE scallops. Each night was excellent: Snapper, Halibut, Steak, LARGE Shrimp, Lobster, more Steak, Rack of Lamb, 8 hour slow roasted Lamb ... Read More
The food was amazing! We were thrilled with the quality of the dining room food. They served LARGE scallops. Each night was excellent: Snapper, Halibut, Steak, LARGE Shrimp, Lobster, more Steak, Rack of Lamb, 8 hour slow roasted Lamb Shank, and much more. The service was impeccable. Our servers were Ari & Aji. They are a great team. I was so sad on our last night. They spoiled us! The ship is older, but very clean. Our room attendant Tegru was outstanding. He kept our room perfect and left extras before we even asked. HAL has always been our favorite, but they have made some improvements that have considered the guests in every way. I loved the Lido - they have 4 stations for salad bar. Yes, they are manned and not self-serve, but I love this - it is CLEAN and they have about 50 items at each station and the server gives you exactly what you want! I had a lovely salad (different each day) and they were amazing. They also serve a hot meal, Asian, Carving Station, tapas plates and for those on the go - sandwiches. It was very organized and there was something for everyone. Ice cream was available pretty much all the time. Also, I loved the America's Test Kitchen - he was very entertaining and the little 30 minute segments were always fun. Read Less
Oosterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 3.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

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