5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Having taken seven previous cruises in the Mediterranean, Caribbean,TransAtlantic, and Hawaii, we were looking for an opportunity to take our first Alaskan cruise. This September 17th, Roundtrip Seattle Cruise was still available for a 6 ... Read More
Having taken seven previous cruises in the Mediterranean, Caribbean,TransAtlantic, and Hawaii, we were looking for an opportunity to take our first Alaskan cruise. This September 17th, Roundtrip Seattle Cruise was still available for a 6 week prior booking. Our stern, balcony cabin choice was available, so that sealed the deal for us. Since we live in Hawaii, it was a tolerable flight to Seattle and back. It helped that they were offering on board credit and paid gratuities as well. We enjoyed the itinerary, particularly cruising Hubbard Glacier. Not sure why we stopped in Victoria for 5-1/2 hours at 6pm. Guessing it was an international requirement. We had never been on this ship before, but were on the Eurodam--which we found similar. The Oosterdam looked a bit dated, but overall, was in descent condition and very clean. Our room steward did a nice job taking care of the room. The food was very good on this ship, with the exception of "in room dining". I guess they call it that now instead of "room service". It was very difficult to get someone on the phone, and when we did, we had a tough time understanding/hearing them. The food that arrived was simply sustenance and was cold. The dining room was fantastic. The food was amazing, and we never had to wait to get into dine. The service was good and the menus were great. The desserts were below par, and we actually experience a cake tasting like detergent. The entertainment was just ok. Started off a little rough on the first night, but got better over the rest of the cruise. The other venues had nice entertainment, but everything raps up pretty earlier on the Holland trip. Overall, we enjoyed the cruise. Read Less
17 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
7 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
2 Helpful Votes
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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
The Oosterdam was a beautiful ship. I do recommend upgrading to a varanda suite when cruising to Alaska. My husband and I spent alot of time out on our deck watching the mountains roll by and looking for wildlife. We also used that setting ... Read More
The Oosterdam was a beautiful ship. I do recommend upgrading to a varanda suite when cruising to Alaska. My husband and I spent alot of time out on our deck watching the mountains roll by and looking for wildlife. We also used that setting to complete a few crossword puzzles together and enjoy coffee and cocktails. Great alone time! We were in suite 8072 which is mid-ship which is a location I also highly recommend. Rough waters were much more apparent at the front and back of the ship. The motion was obvious! Dinner in the MDR was delicious! The same food is also served in the Lido Market, it's just not presented like it is in the MDR. We had steak and lobster in the MDR and the proceeded to the Lido Market for more lobster. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We went took the 7 day Alaskan cruise out of Seattle. This was our 2nd time to Alaska on the Oosterdam. We had Signature Suite 8065 and our 2 friends had a Verandah just down the hall. This review will be just some random thoughts. ... Read More
We went took the 7 day Alaskan cruise out of Seattle. This was our 2nd time to Alaska on the Oosterdam. We had Signature Suite 8065 and our 2 friends had a Verandah just down the hall. This review will be just some random thoughts. First, if you are thinking about Alaska a balcony is a must. IMO. Worth the extra $$. General Pros: if you want a relaxing cruise this is it! No hairy chest or mixologist contests. No pushy photographers in your face all the time. No drinks being pushed hard. Plenty of nooks and crannies to sit and watch the scenery or read. If you want to party hard this is not the place. I had read how the ship shuts down at 11pm but there were plenty of things going on that started at 11pm for night owls like me. As much as Carnival? No. But plenty of options. Cabins: The upgrades to the suite are nice. Huge HD TV and an abundant choice of movies to watch or news or sports channels. Love the outlets for charging electronics. Music: BB King Club band was great! Tabitha & Timothy the lead vocalists can really belt the songs out! Main stage shows - not my thing. Although the live music backing an Alaskan documentary was awesome and the magician was funny. The dueling pianos were next to the casino were terrible. Since I like to gamble, in the casino, I was forced to listen to their pathetic renditions of various music. Spas: See thru showers in the ladies changing room in the spa. What male thought of that? Hydrotherapy pool and Ceramic warming chairs were very nice but at $299 for 2 for the week it's getting overpriced. Dining room food & service: we had anytime dining and never had to wait but boy was service super slow. I have been on a lot of cruises and this was the slowest ever! Food was OK. Sometimes very good - sometimes not. I think waiters have been given way too many tables and this has affected service. Room service has declined. Menu is limited and now charging $$ for certain items. We ordered coffee in the morning and it was on time and hot. Casino: The casino shrunk! Half of the casino has been taken over by the dueling pianos and a bar which stayed empty most of the time. I did hit $926 on a slot machine on the 3rd cruise day. Compared to Carnival - there is nothing going on in the casino. The host did buy me drinks on 2 different occasions which was nice. Excursions: Juneau: we went on a whale watching and Mendenhall Glacier excursion that was purchased online from Juneau Tours. Much cheaper than HAL and it was excellent. Saw whales and had plenty of time at the Glacier. Ketchikan - we booked a helicopter tour for $89 each once we got there, which flew us up to look at the mountain lakes and goats! It was great. Sitka and Victoria we just walked around since we had been before. Embarkation/Debarkation. Both fast. We used Port Valet to handle our bags straight thru to our home airport and that was nice. Free service! A shared yellow cab was a $40 flat fee from the port to Sea-TAC. Much better than a shuttle or bus. Cons: long, long, lines in the LIDO. We had to search and search for a place to sit and several times took food back to our cabin. SLOW service in dining room. The dreaded intestinal virus was running rampant on board so during the whole cruise there was NO self serve in the LIDO. All silverware and salt/pepper shakers were taken off the tables. You could not even get the normally self serve coffee and water! I do have to say that they were cleaning everything on board. Pools/hot tubs were emptied, scrubbed and refilled. Hand rails were constantly being wiped down. Elevator buttons and even the slots were scrubbed as soon as someone got up. BINGO - still have it several times. Gave away cruises and $$. I didn't win! Pictures for sale - way too expensive. $39 for the 8x10 sheet. I love HAL for Alaska. It's all about the scenery. They have a ranger commentate during the scenic cruising and they have a lot of Alaskan shows to watch on the main stage and on TV. If you interested in learning more about Microsoft/digital cameras they have plenty of classes to attend. America's test kitchen is also a place to learn more about cooking. I did not attend either...maybe next time. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
I will start with the bad, and end on the positive. BAD: Food quality was not good. I would say it was adequate to slightly sub-par. This was my first Alaska cruise, and the last time I did another cruise was in 1994, so I may ... Read More
I will start with the bad, and end on the positive. BAD: Food quality was not good. I would say it was adequate to slightly sub-par. This was my first Alaska cruise, and the last time I did another cruise was in 1994, so I may have had unrealistic expectations. But on that cruise, I was sincerely impressed by the quality of the food, and the diversity of options available. With that being said, I was disappointed with almost all of the meals. The penultimate night with surf and turf was truly a let down. The lobster tail was paltry at best, and was chewy (I don't know how else to say it). I know that I could have ordered 2 or even more lobster tails, but I was really surprised at the diminutive appearance and rubbery texture of the lobster meat. In fact, I even decided to go up to the Lido deck for lobster redo, and the 1/2 tails had more meat there! Filet Mignon was okay. The sad part is I have had better at Outback steakhouse, but again I could have had 1 or 2 extra steaks, so the quantity could have made up for the lacking quality. In the end, I settled on getting a Caesar salad for every meal, and then venturing into the unknown, which was usually disappointing territory, for the rest of the meal. The pizza "bar" was especially abysmal; it consisted of a decent dough with a light dusting of sauce and toppings. Even the salmon was sub-par, and we were in freakin' Alaska!! BUT my biggest complaint was the waiting in line whenever I left the room. Breakfast - stand in line to get the eggs, etc. Then stand around looking for and then eventually waiting for a table or seats to open up. Lunch - you guessed it, more lines. One time on the Lido deck, I timed it and it took 45 minutes to get through the line to get food, get water, and then find a table to sit down. Dining room has to have been better right? Nope. On each of two consecutive evening dinners, it took OVER 1 hour to get our main entree! We were told on one occasion that they were understaffed for dinner, so we should go somewhere else, and we gave up twice waiting in line for breakfast at the Dining room. ** I need to add that my father (who accompanied me on this trip) completely disagreed with me about the quality of the food. His review would have a much higher appraisal of the food, and he has gone on a number of cruises, whereas I have only been on 1 other cruise. GOOD: They take care of everything for you. The service was exceptional (and charged accordingly - about $180 for the week's room services). We saw whales from our room during both the day and at night. The shore excursions, which cost extra of course, were all well vetted. We enjoyed each of them, and felt we got our money's worth of value. Alaska is amazing in its scope and diversity, and we had great weather almost every day. Hubbard glacier was amazing, especially when the sun came out. Our fellow travelers were interesting and friendly, and we look forward to keeping in touch with a number of them. I will fondly remember this cruise for the sights and service, but will do my homework next time, and go with a ship / menu that is more in line with my culinary expectations. Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Cruised Alaska on the Oosterdam in June 2017 with three young adults age 17-22 and three mature adults; here's what worked and didn't for us. Adult entertainment i.e.., Lincoln Center, BB Kings and American Kitchen were ... Read More
Cruised Alaska on the Oosterdam in June 2017 with three young adults age 17-22 and three mature adults; here's what worked and didn't for us. Adult entertainment i.e.., Lincoln Center, BB Kings and American Kitchen were excellent, the two main shows were dull and didn't resonate with our group. Entertainment for young adults (not in kids camps) was nil. We hardly saw the young adult age group onboard. While our drinking age young adult (21 or older) enjoyed the Alaskan Beer Tasting and an occasional cocktail with the mature adults, there wasn't much else except a great free movie selection in the cabin. Food overall was very good! Funny that HAL has eliminated trays in the buffet so guests inherently take less food; good idea considering the waste, but the first 10 minutes of family dinning consists of a parade of fetching items! Don't touch the salad bar!...you can't! Great for keeping germs away, but we constantly ended up with too much dressing and too little fixings. Lots to like in the public rooms; some recently refurbished but lots of space dedicated to meeting rooms, unused by guests. Good use of art sold on board, stored in the Art Gallery Bar which looked cool, but underused and deserted. Casino next to the piano bar which really didn't work...ringing casino bells while trying to enjoy the dueling pianos. Please get rid of those horrible, damaged seating benches by the elevators! Great service is a hallmark of HAL. Fantastic room and dinning staff with nearly everyone onboard helpful and friendly. Our dining room stewards couldn't be more accommodating and helpful. Lovely table all the way aft by the windows. Spa, like most spas onboard was dreadfully expensive. Our young adults did two massages which were enjoyed, but didn't like the one dipping pool being exclusive to the spa and the prices! We always want more time in port and this certainly is the case for this itinerary. You can often do just one shore excursion and thus miss visiting the town altogether because its just too short. Still love Alaska and would love to go again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We're first time cruisers & went with my parents for a 3 generations cruise(6 adults + 3 teens). There were not many kids on the ship, but that was ok with us. The kids utilized the HAL kids clubs and enjoyed their time away ... Read More
We're first time cruisers & went with my parents for a 3 generations cruise(6 adults + 3 teens). There were not many kids on the ship, but that was ok with us. The kids utilized the HAL kids clubs and enjoyed their time away from the adults. Only the indoor Lido pool was for kids and it was very full, most of the time. We got kicked out of the back outdoor pool as being Adult only(even though very few people used it). Would be nice if they had some family hours for that pool too. We stayed in the brand new rooms up on the 10th floor. It was a great location being next to the Crow's Nest & just above the Lido deck. The rooms were great & being new to cruising, had plenty of space and room. The bathroom was tight but we did ok. Our daughter liked the bunk bed they put up/down each day for her(watch your heads under it). We ate at 8pm in the dining room each night and our staff got to know us & interacted with us in fun ways. We celebrated a birthday and the staff sang and brought a piece of cake. Our package included the Signature Drink deal and I tried all kinds of drinks I wouldn't have tried anywhere else(all drinks up to $9). It included coffee drinks, Vitamin Water, & Cans of Pop. We never hit the 15 drink daily limit. We did have a problem in/with the SPA. We decided our big splurge would be getting a couple's massage. They talked us into upgrading to the hot stone massage and then the 75 minute massage was really only 60 minutes + a sales pitch at the end for 15 minutes on all the products we just "had" to buy and why we needed to go to their fat camp seminar. We also saw on the spa information guide a few days later that we should have had access to their spa mineral hot tub for the rest of the day since we got a massage, but that was never offered to us. Be prepared for a hard sell & make sure you insist you get what you paid for in the SPA if you use it. We would not use it again. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
First time to Alaska, which was stunningly gorgeous. Embarkation does not offer a separate line for suites, but went smoothly. Disembarkation was a breeze, going from cabin to departure gate at SEA in less than one hour. Dining room ... Read More
First time to Alaska, which was stunningly gorgeous. Embarkation does not offer a separate line for suites, but went smoothly. Disembarkation was a breeze, going from cabin to departure gate at SEA in less than one hour. Dining room food was delicious, and reasonable portion sizes made it easy to pick all the choices you wanted. Service in the dining room was excellent but slowly paced, if that's not your thing Lido buffet had similar selections each evening. Reservations often weren't available between 6p-8p, but lines were short and a table for two could be had. Main stage entertainment was great, with great performances, quality costumes and popular songs through HAL's Billboard partnership. HAL's TV on-demand entertainment offered tons of reasonably current movies, and our Verandah Suite has a huge TV. Destination lectures added more dimensions to our Alaska experience, and cooking demonstrations in America's Test Kitchen were a fun change. We did not miss the belly flow contest or other such pool-side entertainment. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
I booked this cruise in December as a gift to my husband who had, until now, never cruised. We wanted to try a short, 5-day, cruise to make sure he wouldn't become deathly ill from motion sickness and to just give him a taste for ... Read More
I booked this cruise in December as a gift to my husband who had, until now, never cruised. We wanted to try a short, 5-day, cruise to make sure he wouldn't become deathly ill from motion sickness and to just give him a taste for sailing. Background - I've sailed at least 17+ times on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Norwegian but mostly on RC. My husband and I are 40 years old, don't really party anymore but still enjoy good shows, music, friends, fun, and fantastic food. The ship - We both agreed, the ship was absolutely immaculate! I have never experienced a cruise ship that has been cared for so thoroughly! Everything aboard the Oosterdam has been cared for and maintained meticulously. She shows signs of being 14 years old, mainly in the decor, but physically the ship is outstanding. Our cabin - We upgraded from a SY (Signature Suite) to an SA (Neptune Suite - 7062) a week before sailing and are SO glad we did! The suite was a decent size, the bed was extremely comfortable, and the cabin stewards always made sure the room looked perfect. The suite gave us access to the Neptune Lounge which was directly across the hall. We popped over to the lounge a few times during the day to get coffee, juice, and sample the wonderful horsedouvres. The lounge concierge was always very eager to help and definitely made our trip even more special. The complementary guest laundry and dry cleaning also worked out well and came in very handy. We will most likely always book a suite with similar amenities from now on as they are well worth the expense! Dining - Ok, The Main dining room, Canaletto, and the Lido buffet were just par for cruising cuisine. None of them were terribly spectacular and the dessert at all three venues was pretty lackluster. The Pinnacle Grill, however, was absolutely fantastic! We had breakfast and dinner there a few times and thoroughly loved it! When we return, we will likely only eat in the Pinnacle and forego the other restaurants completely. Service - The service on board was outstanding! Everyone we came across had a huge smile on their face, greeted us, and truly made us feel at home. So here is where things get a little funky for me... Remember, my husband and I are both 40 years old. Apparently, HAL's target demographic is considerably older than us. We found this out first-hand before boarding. When we walked into the pier, the security staff asked if we were crew. When we responded "No, we are passengers..." their jaws dropped and they let us pass in amazement. Most of the other passengers, we later found out, were in their late 70's, 80's and early 90's. I'm totally fine with cruising around senior citizens, don't get me wrong. They were extremely nice, quiet, and were all very friendly. We were walking on the Promenade and came across an elderly lady napping, head back and mouth WIDE open, on a couch. I was afraid she had passed away right there and was tempted to place a mirror under her nose to see if she was still alive. Entertainment - The entertainment wasn't that great but, again, it was designed for the target HAL demographic. My husband and I were expecting a Broadway-worthy production yet, well, that wasn't the case. The Lincoln Center Stage performers were wonderful and the America's Test Kitchen demonstrations were extremely fun. There just wasn't much in the way of nightlife. Overall - Great ship, amazing service, wonderful food (at the Pinnacle)! It's a little like a floating nursing home but there is nothing wrong with that! Just be prepared. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We thought we might be taking a risk going on a Holland America cruise with our young children, but felt like we needed a holiday and this itinerary fit the bill. It was a 4 day cruise from San Diego to Vancouver. Our children, ages 6 ... Read More
We thought we might be taking a risk going on a Holland America cruise with our young children, but felt like we needed a holiday and this itinerary fit the bill. It was a 4 day cruise from San Diego to Vancouver. Our children, ages 6 and 2, enjoyed a full day visit to the San Diego Zoo, a tour of the USS Midway and a trip to Old Town on the transit trolley prior to the cruise. We stayed at a hotel (SpringHill Suites) where our room had a view of our cruise ship the day it arrived. We walked to the cruise terminal, which was hosting two ships that day, and deliberately arrived fairly late (3pm) to avoid the lengthy lineups we have experienced in San Diego in previous years. We walked right through security, picked up our room key cards and were in our cabin in moments. This was our first voyage on a Holland America ship, and the Oosterdam is in lovely condition. It's not flashy and doesn't have the latest technological gadgets, but the public areas look like new and have a cozy, understated feel. Staff were universally friendly and helpful. Our balcony cabin, deck 4 forward, does not appear to have been updated during the most recent refit of the ship in 2016. The room was still in decent shape, but the bathroom lighting was not very bright and the wall colour (taupe) seemed to absorb the light. I'm told many other staterooms have been upgraded with brighter bathrooms. Still, it was nice to have a small bathtub for our young children. Our cabin had a drop-down bunk bed and a (worn) pull-out couch. It was tight but we managed. The food was generally very good...but it would have been nice if it had been hot in the main dining room. The only dish I didn't enjoy at all was a top sirloin steak from the main dining room. It was cold and flavourless. Again, other than these issues the food was very good. The buffett has a surprisingly pleasant ambience and a very tasty variety of food. My wife ordered room service for the children and apparently the service was prompt and the food was quickly consumed. My wife and I visited the gym a couple of times. It is a decent size with a reasonable variety of equipment, and has a view from the front of the ship. The children's and teen's play/activity centre (Club HAL) is on Deck 10. The two staff working there told us that during the previous 15 days there had been no children under the age of 18. There is a policy that children must be a minimum of 3 years old to be able to be in Club HAL, so our 2.5 yr old was not allowed to stay with her 6 year old sister in Club Hal. This kept mom and dad busy, but we had fun. If the cruise had been longer this fun might have become more of a challenge. All in all, we had a very nice time and can highly recommend the Oosterdam. Footnote: it was nice to see the President of Holland America, Orlando Ashford, on board the ship during the cruise and interacting with passengers and crew. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2017
We chose Holland American because we like the size of the ship as well as the departure port. This was our first voyage on Holland American (we have cruised more than 15 times on various lines. We booked a Neptune Suite and we must say ... Read More
We chose Holland American because we like the size of the ship as well as the departure port. This was our first voyage on Holland American (we have cruised more than 15 times on various lines. We booked a Neptune Suite and we must say it was wonderful. Lots of storage space for our luggage and clothing. The room was very spacious and comfortable. Our cabin steward provided excellent service - quickly learned our names and was always friendly; inquiring about our day and answered questions that we had. We ate all but one evening in the dining room. The waiters, wine stewards and all others were friendly, food was good and if you wanted something that was not on the menu they tried to accommodate your request. Wine selection ample. We have had better but overall they had a nice selection of reds, whites, etc. One evening we dined in the Pinnacle Dining Room and it was outstanding. Both my husband and I ordered steak and it was prepared to perfection. If you can do try to visit the Pinnacle if you are on the ship. It's worth the extra $. The only negative was the activities and casino on the ship. During the day very few activities were offered (especially on sea days). The casino almost seems like an afterthought. It is small and not nearly enough slot machines available. The average age of the guests on the ship probably was about 75 but they were having a good time. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
For my wife and me (in our 60’s), this was our 22nd cruise (our 8th cruise on HA and our 2nd on Oosterdam). Our first cruise on Oosterdam was a year ago (before its recent renovation). The most notable improvements have been in the ... Read More
For my wife and me (in our 60’s), this was our 22nd cruise (our 8th cruise on HA and our 2nd on Oosterdam). Our first cruise on Oosterdam was a year ago (before its recent renovation). The most notable improvements have been in the cabins --- especially with the big flat screen wall-mounted interactive TV. Otherwise, everything seemed about the same --- but fresh and newer. The best thing about this cruise was the crew. Everyone was cheerful, engaging, and attentive. The worst things about this cruise was the itinerary (i.e. ports visited) and the performance of the people in guest services. In a review of critiques, we first look for the negative comments to see if they are shared by others and if the conditions would be tolerable by us. So, let me first list the “cons” for us: 1. Except for Key West, the other three ports for this cruise are poor choices. The best of the "others" (a port which we had visited on a previous cruise) was Costa Maya. But, we did not even stop there. The port authorities gave the dock location reserved for our ship to another ship, and the other only dock was one that the captain felt too dangerous to use. At Roatan, Honduras, the nice cruise-line built area that borders the dock resembles the surrounding dock area at Grand Turk (Turks and Caicos) with its stores (about 15) and a couple of small places to eat. But, there is little else which Roatan offers, and the excursions at Roatan are mediocre. We went on the Easy Island tour with a variety of stops --- the last stop being the beach at Las Palmas. The private islands of any cruise line we have visited are much better than that beach area. The poverty in many places is unfortunate and “not pretty to see”. At Santo Tomas, Guatamala, there was only a long warehouse next to the dock with stalls where t-shirts and local crafts were sold. 2. The “Guest Services” department has a lot to be desired. Twice I tried to book a room for a function with other family members with us. Each time I was told that they would check into it and “get back to me”. They never did. When the stop at Costa Maya was cancelled, we were supposed to get a credit for our pre-booked shore excursions. We had booked an excursion for us and other family members (charged to us for everyone). They would not give us a credit on our charge account until the other family members who we were “treating” went to the front desk to approve our credit. Then, after such approvals, Guest Services assured us that they would give us the credit. They did not do this without multiple reminders. The opposite also occurred. We tried to pay for things for other family members, and the other family members were nevertheless mistakenly billed. 3. I rely upon wi-fi service for business purposes. HA needs to do better with this feature. Last November, we took a Royal Caribbean cruise on Brilliance of the Seas, and the wi-fi service was excellent and less costly. HA’s wi-fi service was slower, less reliable and more costly. Its sign-on is also not exactly user friendly. BUT, here are the positives that made the overall cruise enjoyable: a. The retractable roof over the pool lets you enjoy the pool in just about any weather. b. The signature suites are a special bargain with their size and with special bathroom features (with a large vanity with two sinks, also with a separate stand-up shower and a whirlpool tub/ shower, also with brightly lit huge mirrors, also with automatic night light that comes on when lights are shut off, etc.). The beds were especially comfortable. There are a lot of drawers and room for storage. THERE ARE MULTIPLE ELECTRICAL OUTLETS AND USB CHARGING PORTS. There are nice reading lights on each side of the bed, but we did not find them for a couple of nights because you need to pull them out of the wall mounted base before you can even see what they are. We still like staying in the middle of the ship (at least 2 floors below the pool deck and at least 4 cabins away from elevators) for the best cruise ride and the least noise. The port side cabins seem better since that is the side where ships seem to dock, which gives you a better view of where you will be going once you leave the ship. c. Food quality is about the best of the cruise lines that we have used. d. Embarkation and disembarkation were extremely smooth. e. The age of passengers (normally pretty “senior” on HA) was younger than we expected --- although this was only a 7 night cruise which seems to attract more of a younger crowd anyway. f. The crew’s service and friendliness was A+ --- about the best of all of our cruises. g. There was more of a “sedate” atmosphere that suited we “seniors” a little better. My observation is that Carnival ships are best for the party life of the 20 and 30 year olds. Royal Caribbean and Princess are best for those in their 30’s and 40’s. HA is better for those over 50 --- although there definitely were some young families on this cruise, and the young children certainly seemed to enjoy themselves. h. Although this is not one of the “mega-ships” it rode smoothly even in rough seas; and its medium size and lesser passenger count made it more manageable (both physically for us and with lesser “waiting to take your turn”). One exception to this lack of waiting was with the popular “Dive-In” food facility with its juicy hamburgers and waistline enhancing crispy fries. But, this was worth the wait and the weight. i. On deck there were comfortable lounge chairs, and they always had whatever number of quality towels you needed. j. The show with the comedian/ventriloquist was great. The crowd was especially in awe with his ventriloquist skills. He was far beyond what you would ever expect. While on board, we booked another cruise with Holland America. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
This was a fine cruise. I went solo, but met many people and had a good time. I am a faithful Holland American fan, and this cruise affirmed my affection for HAL. Why? The ship had good food, good service and a traditional style of ... Read More
This was a fine cruise. I went solo, but met many people and had a good time. I am a faithful Holland American fan, and this cruise affirmed my affection for HAL. Why? The ship had good food, good service and a traditional style of cruising...no rock walls, zip lines, or other gimmicks. I got a good price (the Casino rate) on an oceanview stateroom on deck one. The room was close to the elevators and to the Vista Dining Room, one deck up. Speaking of the Casino, congrats and endless thank yous to HAL for FINALLY ending smoking in the Casino! I've been on a five-year campaign to get this to happen, and I probably had plenty of help. The Oosterdam is ship-shape and is the perfect size for me. It's been updated with the addition of "Music Walk", which include Lincoln Center Stage, BillBoard OnBoard, and BB King's Jazz Club. All were excellent! I especially liked the fact that BillBoard was next to the Casino. Excellent planning. The food in the Vista Dining Room, the Lido Market Place, and Dive-In was outstanding. I had lobster, filet, a lamb shank, rack of lamb, pork belly, foie gras, prime rib, tiramisu, Baked Alaska, etc. I saw no need to dine in the specialty restaurants, the Pinnacle Grill and Canaletto, because I've experienced both several times before. They are always excellent! Room service was also excellent...on time and hot. The Filippino and Indonesian crew members on all HAL ships are ALWAYS the best...fun, charming and dedicated to making passengers happy. I can't praise them enough! Okay. Now, here are some picky negatives, offered as constructive criticism: 1. Broth soups: too much salt and broth and not enough vegetables, meat or whatever should be in that particular soup. Example: The "Les Halles" signature French Onion Soup had all broth and bread and very few, if any, onions and cheese. The creamed soups were excellent. 2. Vista Dining Room: bedlam on the first night at the maitre d's station, and the situation only improved gradually. I've never been on a HAL cruise where this was a problem. My theory is that there were too many "As You Wish" diners, but still...come on HAL, you're supposed to be five star! Straighten this out! This cost you a rating star! :) 3. My room stewards were just okay. They tried hard, but they are obviously rookies. They didn't handle my handicap scooter situation well at all. 4. Drink prices seem to be higher. Mine averaged almost $10 each, including the mandatory tip. 5. I did NOT like the Main Stage entertainment. I'm a retired theater director. I wish I could devise shows for HAL that had tap-dancing, classic music, known songs, etc. My shows would have been far more favorably received by HAL's audiences. (Sigh.) I'm home now, but I wish I were still on board the good ship Oosterdam! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We love Holland America. This was our 3rd cruise with them, second time on Oosterdam. First time was on Eurodam. We are not big party people and like the smaller size of the ship. We enjoy the shows and the ship. This is the first ... Read More
We love Holland America. This was our 3rd cruise with them, second time on Oosterdam. First time was on Eurodam. We are not big party people and like the smaller size of the ship. We enjoy the shows and the ship. This is the first time that we did anything in the spa. The first day on ship they offered a full cruise access pass for $199. I loved the ceramic beds-so relaxing and the water pool in the spa. I also used the steam rooms. I liked having the larger showers available in the spa. It is something I will use in future cruises. The cabin tubs/showers are tight for someone who is a little claustrophobic. I didn't book all my shore excursions thru the ship. I have found more exciting ones that are available through other websites. We did ziplining in Roatan that allowed us to do more that the ship ones did and had a blast. It was our first time and definitely not our last. It was fun seeing Key West on the Trolley. We got off several places and explored. We did a tour in Guatamala thru the ship and enjoyed it. Our stop in Mexico was cancelled because the Mexican government gave away our berth and the captain put our safety first and chose not to take us in where they gave us. I had booked another shore excursion there that wasn't thru the ship and that company had already refunded our money to our credit card by the time we got home. I spend hours reading reviews before I book shore excursions to make sure we will be safe. Can't wait to cruise with Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2017
We enjoy the service on the Holland America cruise lines. Yes, it is an older crowd but we like to chill and rest. Ports were not the best but enjoyed West Bay, Infinity Bay in Honduras. We were able to snag day passes and the resort ... Read More
We enjoy the service on the Holland America cruise lines. Yes, it is an older crowd but we like to chill and rest. Ports were not the best but enjoyed West Bay, Infinity Bay in Honduras. We were able to snag day passes and the resort arranged transportation for us. Bummed out we were unable to dock at Costa Maya. Had been looking forward to our day planned at Maya Chan. Food was delicious and our first time at Pinnacle Grill. Filet was just as delicious as Ruth Chris. Breakfast room service was accurate. Menu options changed but we wrote in special requests and they were honored. No issues. Cabin nice with flat screen TV. We stay in our room resting and sitting on the balcony. Nice to have some TV options. Weather channel would have been nice since some active weather at home. Again, service is what sets them apart. We are in our mid fifties so we're not looking for wave pools, slides, rock climbing, etc. Enjoy mid size ships! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
I am a youthful 52 year old single woman who took this cruise "solo". I have only been on one other cruise and it was on Carnival. I will say that Holland America was definitely an "older" crowd. The vast majority of ... Read More
I am a youthful 52 year old single woman who took this cruise "solo". I have only been on one other cruise and it was on Carnival. I will say that Holland America was definitely an "older" crowd. The vast majority of people on the cruise were 65+ and retired and quite a few had health problems (walkers, wheelchairs, oxygen systems, etc.). Of course, there is nothing wrong with that and I greatly respect people being active and "young at heart" but the reality is that many of the activities and general vibe of the cruise was geared towards older folks. That said, people were very friendly, accommodating of this single lady and the cruise itself was lovely. The ship is older but was definitely in good shape. Everything was clean, public restrooms were plentiful, elevators worked well, etc. I had a balcony cabin which was very nice. It was roomy (by cruise ship standards), the bed was comfortable, the bathroom was functional with both a shower and tub, flat screen tv worked well, plenty of storage space and quiet without a lot of movement. The ship has 2 pools and both of them were nice. They had pool chairs and then plenty of tables/chairs as well for people who wanted to eat by the pool, play cards, etc. My spa experience was just "ok". The massage therapist was nearly a half hour late for my appointment, she promised me an "extra 25 minutes" which I didn't get and she was extremely pushy, trying to sell me unneeded products after the massage and getting hostile when I said "no". She did a great job on the massage itself but the "hard sell" afterwards completely infuriated me and ruined any relaxation I had experienced. I did not go back. I did purchase a week-long pass for the Thermal Suite and used it daily. It was heaven-lay down whirlpool, steam room, sauna, thermal chairs overlooking the ocean (I fell asleep multiple times) and it was great to get rid of aches and pains after the day's excursions. I have read complaints about the entertainment on Holland but I loved it. They had a good mix on the Main Stage of singers, dancers, an orchestra and other acts like a comedian, pianist and even an Oriental show put on by staff members. I thought they were all top knotch. I also enjoyed the "clubs" on what they call Music Row but that entertainment was all sort of similar...I would trade out one of the music clubs for a comedy club. Food was also very good. I ate in the buffett most of the time since I was alone and really enjoyed it. Good selection, food was fresh and warm and they had a salad bar to die for. I ordered room service from the start restaurant The Pinnacle Grill one night and it was a delicious filet mignon and cheese cake. I also had a burger by the pool at the Dive In and it was also great. They had the typical cruise ship shops with jewelry, souvenirs, etc. and an art gallery. Nothing special but ok. Staff was all good (except the massage therapist). My cabin was taken care of very well with nightly turn down service. Everyone was friendly and helpful. I also bought 4 excursions through Holland and enjoyed all of them. Most of the onboard "activties" were really just sales pitches trying to get you to buy things.The only complaint I have is that the Disembark process was rather confusing...the cruise line didn't give a lot of guidance and it was hard to know where to go to get off. Nobody was in the halls and there were no signs with directions. I just followed other people and we found our way off. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
The following are some of our experiences on the Oosterdam 3/10 sailing out of Tampa Florida. The itinerary included the ports of Cozumel, Roatan Honduras, Santo Tomas Guatemala and Costa Maya. We have about 26 cruises under our belt and ... Read More
The following are some of our experiences on the Oosterdam 3/10 sailing out of Tampa Florida. The itinerary included the ports of Cozumel, Roatan Honduras, Santo Tomas Guatemala and Costa Maya. We have about 26 cruises under our belt and chose this particular voyage because it included 3 new ports for us and also gave us the opportunity see family and friends living in the area prior to departure. Admittedly, we weren’t too excited about this trip as the sailing date approached. We were very underwhelmed by our last HAL cruise - September 2014 on the Maasdam and totally “wowed” by our last 3 Celebrity cruises in a row. Pre-cruise: we stayed at the Double Tree, Rocky Point. I wouldn’t recommend this property if you don’t have a car, there is nothing within walking distance. And even with a car, it is still a poor value – it is an old property in need of updating. While it might be OK for business travelers, it didn’t seem appealing to vacation travel. Embarkation/disembarkation: We arrived at the port about 1:30 PM – a short line for security and then suite passenger expedited check-in got us on board in less than 5 minutes. Luggage was delivered about 2 hours later – very efficient. Neptune Suite #7079: this room is in a great location, convenient to both mid-ship elevators and the Neptune Lounge. The room was nicely appointed as always and in very nice condition. The 2 concierges in the Neptune Lounge couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful and professional. We appreciate consistent, good quality service and HAL offers it with a well-trained, committed staff. Food/Dinning: this is always a subjective topic but in our opinion, Oosterdam knocked it out of the park. While Celebrity offers exclusive dining options and venues for suite passengers, HAL does not; but it doesn’t need too. The Oosterdam MDR dining experience is absolutely wonderful. Food nicely presented, delicious and always presented at the right temperature. The menu is creative and offers very nice choices that should appeal to most conventional tastes. The service was prompt and courses were paced very nicely; we never felt rushed at any meal. This is important to us and the sign of a well-trained and observant wait staff. We chose open seating and there was never a wait for a table for two; we had a different team each night and they were all equally good. Sommeliers were equally professional, fun and very attentive. Other dinning venues we tried on this cruise included the Pinnacle Grill for breakfast and lunch (excellent service and great food), room service for breakfast (served hot and on time), Lido for an occasional slice of pizza or piece of fried chicken (always hit the spot) and the Dive-In for a Paddle Dog once in a while (again, very good). Finally, Neptune Lounge offers some nice refreshments and snack choices that they changes out several times a day. If you are a smoked salmon fan, this is the place to score big time! Oosterdam offers lots of choices and in our opinion, the ones we tried were all good to excellent. Service: again and as always, HAL really shines. Service everywhere on the ship was very good to outstanding. Room attendants, although appearing very over-worked and under-staffed, always greeted guests warmly and cheerfully. Our team did an excellent job maintaining our room and responding to our modest requests. Elsewhere on the ship, service staff was usually very polite, seemed efficient and normally engaging. Entertainment: this is where HAL really stood out when compared to our recent Celebrity cruises. Oosterdam offered terrific entertainment venues – absolutely first rate. Although we didn’t see them all, the ones we did experience were great. For starters for those who have seen Danny and Anderson in the Billboard venue, you know what I am talking about. These two singer/piano players are unbelievably good and immensely talented performers. Although they perform 3 times a night, there shows are all different; there is the occasional repeat of a song but for the most part, every set is different. We attended about 2 shows a night and thoroughly enjoyed them all. We can honestly say that these two talented, engaging guys were the best nightly entertainment we have seen on any cruise. They left the ship at the conclusion of our cruise; hopefully their replacements will be equally as talented. The new piano configuration in our opinion is far superior to the previous small (smokey), cramped venue of the past. There was plenty of room for everyone and these guys usually played to a full house. A few other acts we saw were a talented virtuoso piano player/singer Juan Pablo; we really liked this guy who was somewhat old school but very entertaining and had a great Latin flair. A talented comedian Rich Aronovitch did an amazingly funny and creative show; I thought he was hilarious and he kept in moderately clean which is always appreciated. Although we only stopped for an occasional listen, the performances at Lincoln Center and the BB King Club were always well attended and seemed to hit the mark for fans of each venue. OK, now to the things that really misfired for us. Wine by the glass: we are not wine snobs by any stretch but we do enjoy a decent Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc or nice California Pinot Noir. But the choices by the glass (Simi, Formation and Meridian respectively) were fairly low end and lacking. And at $9.50 a glass, they also seemed overpriced. We wouldn’t mind paying more if we could get something decent. However there were some decent choices available in the dining room by the bottle. Casino: the dealers were good – well trained and fun. But the problem was the tightest slots and video poker machines we’ve ever seen, anywhere. Yes I know everyone who plays machines has the same complaint but these things never paid enough to keep you engaged at all, honestly. And what kind of casino only has 4 quarter slot machines? Ports: this is totally my fault for not doing my homework. Although we normally love Cozumel, the first port and have been there many times, it is a much different place on Sunday. Most of the things we enjoy and the places we normally go to were closed or scaled back. I am fairly certain that Oosterdam was the only ship in port, so there was also no incentive for many places to be open anyway. The second port, Roatan, was probably nice if you wanted a beach day but there wasn’t much else in the immediate port area to do. The third port, Santo Tomas, was really, really lacking. Unfortunately I realized this only after I booked this cruise; there was almost no information about the place on CC or Trip Advisor. It is a container port with a big shed set up at one end were merchants are packed together all selling the same stuff. There are bus and boat tours available; but reviews I read and people we talked to that went on them were not particularly favorable. But it’s all pretty subjective and some may enjoy what is available. Finally, we had a nice day in Costa Maya. I thought the port was nicely developed with nice shops and a few decent restaurants. We took the shuttle into town but there wasn’t much to see at all. In summary, except for the few topics we were disappointed with, this was a great cruise and in many ways, HAL hit it out of the park. Thank you to the wonderful staff and officers of the Oosterdam for all your hard work, great humor and total commitment to the passengers. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
My qualification for writing this is that I am a four star member of the HAL Mariners group. That is I have accumulated over 250 days on some 25 different cruises. I have also cruised quite a bit with Princess. A few years ago, I had an ... Read More
My qualification for writing this is that I am a four star member of the HAL Mariners group. That is I have accumulated over 250 days on some 25 different cruises. I have also cruised quite a bit with Princess. A few years ago, I had an article in Cruise Critic comparing the two lines. One finding was that Princess has better perks. I would be eligible for some free internet on Princess, something that is much harder to get on HAL. I could spend a whole year on a HAL ship and still not even be eligible for discounted internet. I noted that the libraries on HAL where much superior to the comparatively small Princess Libraries with fewer books and no librarian. HAL had much bigger libraries with many books, selected by the NY times in a deck ten Explorations Café, with a librarian who knew something about the computers there, and a lot of DVDs, with players in every cabin. That, alas, has changed, changed utterly. On a recent Oosterdam cruise, the library had far fewer books, some paper backs left by other passengers, but no librarian, no DVDs, and no one who knew anything about computers. Front desk person said HAL has abandoned libraries on other ships as well. A major loss. A number of other changes have occurred on HAL, quite a few that seem aimed at saving or making money. They “push” alcohol. In almost every public event, some crew member circulates with a glass of wine or some other alcoholic beverage. They were kind enough to call a gathering of veterans. They used to offer us a free drink; now we pay for it. Although there is an AA meeting on board, it is not a safe environment for anyone with alcohol problems. What used to be free wine tastings, now have a charge. The dining staff work hard for long hours, but there seem to be fewer of them than there used to be, so service is slower. Music is a different matter. Princess has an occasional good music group. HAL, however, has a history of excellent music. Used to have a string quartet on most ships, though that changed over the years to a piano and cello or a piano and violin duo. This year, however, the Oosterdam had a piano quintet assembled by Lincoln Center (New York) that provided excellent concerts for two hours most nights. Plus another “B-B band and two-piano duo on a “Music Walk.” I have heard that the Eurodam and new Konigsdam have similar groups. Some compensation for the lack of a library. HAL still has a troublesome pattern of docking at places remote from the place listed on the itinerary, and failing to provide shuttle service to the place where taxis are available, or to the listed port. They fail to do much, even for the very old or wheel chair people. Princess is not much different on these issues. Both still offer good cruises. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We chose this cruise for the theme. Ship is great. This was our second cruise with Holland. We will be going again next year on this type of theme(The Country Music Cruise)on one of their larger ships.. Our cabin was perfect, large ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the theme. Ship is great. This was our second cruise with Holland. We will be going again next year on this type of theme(The Country Music Cruise)on one of their larger ships.. Our cabin was perfect, large enough and close to everything we do. Plenty of food, all types. The entertainment was fantastic. The shore excursions good and plenty of variety. Our excursion had to be cancelled because of high winds. Thats okay. It was for our safety. That was going to be my first deep sea fishing trip. Maybe next yr. The weather will be better. I used the extra time for shopping. The service was great, very friendly and helpful. If we had a problem or needed something they took care of it. We are in our 70's. If we needed a litlle help we got it. We had a wonderfull time. Wish we were still there. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We chose this cruise because it was 14 days continuous, not a back to back which we hate. Also the price was right for a last minute booking. The ship was in very good condition, cabin clean, not too sure I like the new configuration, I ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was 14 days continuous, not a back to back which we hate. Also the price was right for a last minute booking. The ship was in very good condition, cabin clean, not too sure I like the new configuration, I never saw anybody at the Atrium Bar, cannot figure why it is there. I also question the music walk, at least it is easy to find. the classical quartet was very good, but we enjoyed mostly the Billboard with Anderson and Paul. The entertainment on the main stage was so so except for when the singers and dancers were performing, we have seen enough of jugglers, comedians and magicians over the years. Everybody liked the BBC documentary with the orchestra but the second film "Sully" cannot count as entertainment on the main stage. As a whole we were not overly impressed with the entertainment and the room is too small for the size of the ship. Another point is there is no real area to dance, maybe the R&B but it is not the music for that. The service as usual was excellent and it is mostly why we stay with Holland America. The only exception was in the Lido restaurant where nobody would help with carrying a plate when somebody has a cane or walker, otherwise they were good a refilling water and iced tea. The food became boring after 3 or 4 days, salad bar was great and the service exceptionnel. I really appreciated that they could make Gluten free Pizza and pasta with good knowledge of cross contamination and all that with a nice smile. I have Celiac disease and it is very important for me. The same in the dining-room where they gave me the menu the night before to fill out, the stewards always made sure I had every thing I need. I could have used some Gluten free bread on the Lido. The ports were well chosen and interesting, did not do excursions as we were on the ship mostly to escape the snow and relax. The sailing away were mostly to sell special drinks, they was no Caribbean band as it is to be, maybe the Steel Drums once or twice. What we missed the most was no aerobic classes, no Yoga, no Tai Chi, very little to do that did not involve paying for it. Trivia was nice. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
I love Holland America, classy cruises, good entertainment and good food ! This was my first time on the Oosterdam, even though its a small ship, they have a lot to offer. The reno that was just done was very nice. The ship was clean and ... Read More
I love Holland America, classy cruises, good entertainment and good food ! This was my first time on the Oosterdam, even though its a small ship, they have a lot to offer. The reno that was just done was very nice. The ship was clean and comfortable. After a couple of days, it was like family, the crew knew our names right away and always greeted us. We never had a wait for the dining room even though we chose our time dining. We met some amazing people and really enjoyed our conversations with other guests. Since we were all over 60, this cruise was perfect for us. The entertainment was superb with the exception of the comedian, he was not very funny and was downright rude off stage. But we did not let that spoil our fun. All the ports were great with the exception of Guatemala, nothing to see or do there, scary port. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We arrived in Tampa the evening before the cruise and stayed at the Marriott Courtyard downtown.Basically we chose this hotel due to its proximity to the cruise ship and the free shuttle from the hotel to the pier.The room was nice, the ... Read More
We arrived in Tampa the evening before the cruise and stayed at the Marriott Courtyard downtown.Basically we chose this hotel due to its proximity to the cruise ship and the free shuttle from the hotel to the pier.The room was nice, the people friendly however my major complaint with this hotel is the lack of restaurant facilities. There is a fast food place inside the hotel but I watched them prepare a hamburger which I had ordered. They took a frozen precooked burger out of a freezer, put it in something that resembled a toaster oven. Could not eat that disaster. Breakfast the next morning was no better. Find somewhere else to eat if you stay here. We didn't because it was raining and we didn't want to walk around in the rain looking for a place to eat. The hotel shuttle took us to the pier around 11AM and we breezed right through the embarkation process. No more than 10 minutes until we were boarding the ship. HAL is exceptional with their standard processes and our cabin, 7028 (veranda cabin, port side, front of ship) was ready when we boarded. There is no waiting for your cabin with HAL. We went down to the Mariners lunch which was delicious and by the time we got back to our cabin our luggage had arrived. The great cabin stewards insisted on taking our luggage into the cabin for us and getting a list of any other items we might need or want. I have nothing but praise for Ramos and Dwi as they were always extremely nice, friendly and very helpful. Anything we asked for was quickly and cheerfully provided. ie ice, extra towels, extra lotion. The room was spotlessly cleaned each and every day and any request previously made was continued each and every day. Ramos and Dwi are simply the best in my book. We ate most of our meals in the dining room and the food was delicious. We chose open seating which led to some very interesting table companions. Some I was glad were only at out table for one night.and others were extremely pleasant. OUr first port of call was Key West for New Years Eve and it was great. We did the hop on hop off trolley trip and got a good overview of the island. We made the full circuit and then just roamed around on our own. Beautiful place with lots to see and do. HAL provided the surf & turf (lobster & steak) for New Years Eve and also had all kinds of entertainment on board for the festivities. Our favorite was the BB King Blues Band which is the best entertainment on the ship in my opinion. Next stop was Mahogany Bay, Roatan Honduras. We did the West End tour there as the choices were slim. It was ok, nothing special. The best part was our tour guide. I don't remember her name but she was excellent and did her best to show us a good time. Not a lot to see in this port. Our stop at the town of West End was fun as I struck up a conversation with a server at the Booby Bar who was a hoot. Next stop was Santo de Tomas Castilla Guatemala. Here we did the River Canyon with Gus (Go with Gus tours through Shore Fox). I highly recommend this tour as the boat trip down the river through the canyon is beautiful. Our 4 hour excursion turned into 6 hours and was great. We stopped for fresh fruit, then on to a school where we interacted with the children and handed out school supplies. They were so cute and very appreciative. They sang songs for us and one little boy insisted on giving me a hug. He was adorable. From there we stopped along the river at a hotel for lunch which was excellent and then headed back. Again this tour is well worth the money and shows you how the people really live. Go if you have the chance. You will not regret it. Last stop was Costa Maya and the Mayan ruins tour. There were three large ships in port that day so the shops around the pier were packed out. Not my idea of fun. We took the Mayan ruins tour and thoroughly enjoyed it. You take an air conditioned coach to the ruins and then have a guided tour around the ruins. Our guide was great (think his name was Hugo) and very informative. On the way back we stopped along side the road and purchased fresh cut pineapple from the locals. You get a big bag for $1. Be sure and get the red pepper to go on it and even though it sounds weird, it is delicious. Last day was a sea day and we were ready for some r&r. Just chilled. We only ate lunch in the Lido one time and it was good (did the pasta station) and ate hamburgers at Dive In which were excellent. Had breakfast most mornings in the cabin with room service which is outstanding. If you mark that you want breakfast between 7-7.30, it will be there at 7 prompt. Food was good, and even though they have shortened their breakfast menu if you want something different just write it in. They will do it for you. Disembarkation was a breeze....out of there within 30 minutes with out luggage and on our way to the airport. HAL has their processes down pat and the only problem I had on the ship was in the shops. They had a table set up with a sign that said clearance $29.99. I found an item I wanted and took it to the register where I was told it was $57. I told them it was on the clearance table and rather hatefully was told "that is just the fragrances". Ok why is the other stuff on the table then?????? Anyway, just put it back and said no thanks I don't want it then. Left the shops and didn't go back again. they seem to forget who the customer is there so they can keep their merchandise as far as I am concerned. These were the only rather rude HAL people during the entire cruise. The area where HAL is lacking is the entertainment. The comedian was very good but the HAL dancers and singers are only so so. Prefer BB Kings for most of my entertainment. Would I recommend the Oosterdam and this itinaery??? Yes. It was a delightful cruise on a clean and well kept ship with wonderful staff. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2016
Selected because of sail date giving us one night and the next day before celebrating New Year's Eve. Overall the cruise was great. The ship was clean, well organized and staffed and a good size. However, we found the clients to be ... Read More
Selected because of sail date giving us one night and the next day before celebrating New Year's Eve. Overall the cruise was great. The ship was clean, well organized and staffed and a good size. However, we found the clients to be on average considerably older than us and many of the activities centered around that age group. Entertainment was too structured. For example, the piano bar had three show times each evening, stopping while a show was going on in the main theater. On our cruise prior to this one the Piano Bar was open from seven tip midnight and the entertainer took breaks. Very little lively music was played during the day on the pool deck. Definitely not a "party cruise". However, the overall experience was one that left us with the opinion we would certainly cruise on Holland America again but we will probably pay more attention to the ship's offerings. 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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