23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We enjoyed our cruise very much but were very disappointed with a couple of things. Pros: Upgraded to an ocean view stateroom and also had a reduction of $1000 each on the original cost of the cruise -Stateroom 1044 had a bathtub! A ... Read More
We enjoyed our cruise very much but were very disappointed with a couple of things. Pros: Upgraded to an ocean view stateroom and also had a reduction of $1000 each on the original cost of the cruise -Stateroom 1044 had a bathtub! A very nice surprise! -The best stateroom attendant ever...Ronald...a very cheerful disposition and always ready to help -Great bed, wonderful selection of movies on TV -very clean and neat stateroom -Great crew -Lincoln Centre had high caliber musicians Cons: -Piano Bar: not a separate room anymore, shared with the noise of the casino, very amateur piano players, the guy sang out of tune often. Where are the Jim Fischers and the Don Alexanders? (in other words, Are you not paying for experienced very talented pianists anymore. I heard that all HAL piano bars will now be in the same room as the Casino-Crazy! - Internet - do not pay for this. I paid $100 and was only able to send 3 emails. I complained but they don't really care.I have done 7 HAL cruises - this was the worst for wifi - Price for shuttle busses - $16 US per person for a 12 minute shuttle to Marseille. We waited over an hour for a return shuttle in high temperatures. Everyone was upset! Huge lineup. Probably paid around $60 US each for the various shuttles from ship to city. -Announcements - have to get out of bed at 8 am and open the door to hear the announcements. Why can't they pipe them into the room or put them on a TV channel? - Activities - Trivia 3 or 4 times a day, come on now...very few activities - Tours - VERY Expensive...organize your own tours at half the price or less by going onto Cruise Critic and finding your Roll Call. Always great tips here too. -Pinnacle Dining - Now you pay an added $10 for lobster, their Caesar salad dressing was terrible...much better dressing in the Vista Dining. Not impressed this time. The Gala night meals in the Vista are better for the filet mignon and lobster and Caesar salad AND you get a whole baked potato, not half of one. TIPS: Don't buy the ship Wifi - found that the terminal buildings in Spain and Italy had very good free internet. - Menton - if you have seen Monaco before just hop on bus #100 to beautiful Menton for 1.5 euros. It is a 45-60 minute trip there and back, but so well worth it. Even the bus trip is beautiful along the sea coast. Bus gets crowded so excuse yourself to the back of the bus for a seat. Ride to the end of the line and walk to through the new to the charming old city. Explore the Basilica St. Michel. Great photo ops. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Just back from a wonderful yet very busy cruise aboard the lovely Oosterdam. We took the second upsell offer (half the price of the first one) and enjoyed our first Neptune suite and the perks associated with it. Our stewards Tri and Kadek ... Read More
Just back from a wonderful yet very busy cruise aboard the lovely Oosterdam. We took the second upsell offer (half the price of the first one) and enjoyed our first Neptune suite and the perks associated with it. Our stewards Tri and Kadek were wonderful at keeping the cabin spotless and well stocked. This was the O's third cruise after dry dock. There was still some work being completed but it did not impact us at all. Our friends were in the new cabins on Deck 10 and were told they were the first to use the cabin. We enjoyed listening to the talented musicians. There was music for all tastes from the Lincoln Centre (more classical) to the pianist to the B B King Blues Club, to the piano duo at Billboard to the Oosterdam's own singers and dancers. I was a bit upset that I could not hear the cruise director's announcements on the tv,,as I had done on previous cruises. I did look under Services but perhaps I was not looking in the right place. It was the same with the Port Talks. When asked if her talks would be available on TV, the presenter said no. There are now kiosks near the front desk where you can check your statement. Although hubby and my accounts were linked, I could not check. It had to be the credit card holder. This was a port intensive cruise with only 2 sea days, the first being almost a week after boarding. The Cruise Critic group met after muster, which was at 4:45 and over by 5:05, for an informal gathering in the Crow's Nest. This was our chance to meet our fellow travellers and firm up the tour arrangements. I am just going to highlight some of the things we did or learned in each port. Hopefully, the info will be useful to others. Civitavecchia. We stayed again Hotel Traghetto which is close to the shuttle bus stop. The Todis grocery store close to the hotel has a limited wine selection but we did find a Trebianno d'Abruzzo, (Brecciola) which we enjoyed. We took our 2 allotted bottles but no one checked them. Livorno. We went to Lucca/Pisa with others from Cruise Critic. The cost was €40 per person. Our van was equipped with WIFI, so we all enjoyed checking our email. FYI...Although we did not use it,,there was a shuttle from the ship. I believe the cost was €5. Monaco. This was a tender port since the Historique Car Race was being held the day we were there. It was quite the bumpy ride to shore at Fontvieille and at one point, they actually stopped the tenders. We asked about getting to the palace and were told by the gal from the tourist office that there were lots of stairs, no bus or taxis. Well, we discovered a series of escalators and elevators (near McDonalds, the supermarket Carrefour, and an indoor shopping mall) and then a short walk took you to the bus stop where you caught the bus to the top. Cost was €2. We waited almost an hour in the rain for the tender back to the ship. St. Tropez We were there on a Sunday and it was very busy. We just walked along the boardwalk admiring the multi-million dollar yachts, enjoying the sunshine. Corsica. We were tendered in Ajaccio, something I was not expecting. It was market day with lots of olives, dried fruits, produce etc. We took the bus tour €10 for 1.5 hour ride. The ticket booth is very close to the tender spot, just opposite Place Foch. The train and the bus go to similar places. Be sure to check the hours for Napoleon's house. It did close for part of the day. The beaches looked great. Almeria. We had hoped to go to the Alhambra with a group from CC but were unable to secure tickets. Although some people did walk, we took the city bus (€1.05) up to the Alcazba, the old fortress overlooking the city. Beautiful views and ruins and a fair bit of climbing. We took the bus back down although our friends did walk. After lunch, I took the tourist train (€5) which started/stopped right by the ship. It went around the downtown area but the commentary was difficult to understand and was out of sync with the tour. There were no photo stops. Ceuta. We had thought of doing a ship's tour here but left it too late to book. The ship was docked fairly close to the main sights. I found a supermarket a five minute walk from the ship where I stocked up on water and pop. The tourist office, near the Plaza of Africa, was not open first thing in the morning ( it was on our way back to the ship). Free WIFI at McDonalds, which is near the Pillar of Hercules. Marseille Here we did a private tour with CC members. We met Delfina and after her papers were checked by the police, we were off to Aix en Provence. It was market day and we strolled through 4 markets. Again, beautiful flowers, produce and smells. Then it was off to Cassis. We went up to a panoramic look-out and had a fantastic view of the town. After a quick lunch, we took a little boat tour to see 3 of the picturesque calanques. Then it was onto Marseille where we visited Notre Dame de la Garde Church. We were able to park quite close and there is an elevator for those who cannot climb the stairs. A quick drive around the port area and then back to the ship. Sete. We did not dock where the map said we would. We had to cross a floating pontoon bridge/gangway to get to shore. It was quite windy but there were crew members available to assist. There were free shuttles which took you closer to the main area. We took the Tourist Train around the city. We inquired about going up to Mont Saint Clair and were told to take bus #5. Unfortunately, we never saw a bus (maybe they don't run on Sunday) and ended up walking up and down. The view was worth the hike. Barcelona. I had arranged a tour to Montserrat for 8 members from CC. After a short delay, sorting out missing names and picking up 2 other couples at their hotels, we were off to Montserrat. There were many groups there that day. The queue to see the Black Madonna was quite long. Two of our group did go up the funicular while others listened to the choir. Flight Home. We were off the ship very quickly and arrived at the airport before the wickets opened. Once they did, we were informed that our flight was delayed until 9pm, 12 hours later. We stayed on that main level for a while but when we tried to go through Security, we were were told our flight had been cancelled. We learned what Air Canada was going to do for us about 12 pm and we were driven to Sitges, a lovely seaside town about 30 minutes from the airport. Others on the plane were put up at other hotels. Those who had gone through security very early did not learn of the cancellation until 6 pm. No one heard any announcement about the cancellation. We chose this cruise because of the different itinerary. It certainly was a great way to explore some different ports in the Mediterranean. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Nothing really negative to say about this cruise.We got on and off without any problems,the cabin was was great and the service thruout the ship was the best. We toured each and every port and had a great time in each.The only thing we ... Read More
Nothing really negative to say about this cruise.We got on and off without any problems,the cabin was was great and the service thruout the ship was the best. We toured each and every port and had a great time in each.The only thing we found not to our liking was the Food.This was our 31st cruise and I would say the selection and quality of the food was poor. We ate more food in ports then ever before,the meat and pork on the ship were overcooked.One night they had brisket that was like shoe leather. By the way the BB King band was the Best!!!! New policy -No Smoking in the Casino-Saved me a lot of money cause my wife wouldn't gamble .Be advised that as the fleet goes in for updates(which were good) there will be a no smoking policy enforced in those casinos. Last fall we were on the Niew Amsterdam and the food was to die for,maybe they should hire their cooks Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Many of us were surprised to find that this was a big band cruise with the "Harry James Orchestra" playing nightly. Those who like big bands were in their glory with the 12 instrumental musicians, a bandleader and a female ... Read More
Many of us were surprised to find that this was a big band cruise with the "Harry James Orchestra" playing nightly. Those who like big bands were in their glory with the 12 instrumental musicians, a bandleader and a female vocalist. HAL really nailed music on this one, with a great group creating Nashville sounds in the BB King club, "The Band" in the Ocean bar, the Adagio Duo, and the piano bar. The biggest plus on this sailing was that everyone seemed to be a "happy camper". I didn't find anyone who was a complainer in 13 days. This is rare indeed. I'm sure that the better than average weather and calm seas helped. The ship was going to drydock and unfortunately the work started a few days before the sailing ended. The nice sun deck outside of the Crow's Nest was torn up days early, and on the final day, the gym area was "off limits" in the late afternoon. Outside of those things, the sailing offered what HAL does best, and the repositioning cruise remains one of the true bargains of sailing. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We chose this transatlantic repositioning cruise for its value. We don't mind being at sea for 8 days before landing at a port. This cruise stopped in Funchal, Portugal; Malaga, Spain; and Cartegna, Spain and finally terminated in ... Read More
We chose this transatlantic repositioning cruise for its value. We don't mind being at sea for 8 days before landing at a port. This cruise stopped in Funchal, Portugal; Malaga, Spain; and Cartegna, Spain and finally terminated in Civitevecchia, Italy. Embarkation and disembarkation was quick and efficient. Our Signature Suite was lovely. Our stewards and the dining room staff service was excellent. The food was delicious and always served hot. We appreciate HAL's commitment to service. We had a great destination port guide on board and Tom was knowledgeable and interesting. The other speaker who spoke about the history of our ports, was very dry and boring. That aspect of the program needs to be updated and the speakers vetted more often. This man had been around too long. We enjoyed the Harry James orchestra and the comedian from England was extremely funny. The BB King lounge is always a highlight. The piano bar would be better if it didn't dissolve into karaoke. We have encountered this on another of their cruises. The piano players are very good but the singing is just so/so then people start grabbing the mic and it devolves from there. The Adagio is nice as well, players are technically very good but lack some emotion in their playing. It seems that they are going through the motions, so to speak. Our only downside was that this ship was going in for a 2 week refit and workmen started dismantling things on deck 10 while we were on the ship so this outdoor area was not usable and while they were cutting and sawing metal off the deck it was very, very noisy in both the Crows Nest bar, library and Spa area. We would like to see the ship after the refit and would sale with HAL again. our stateroom was 8053 mid ship under the buffet area. Not as noisy at night as being under the pool area, but in the future I would pick a deck that is sandwiched between 2 stateroom decks. This cruise needed a refit to update the furnishings, carpets and drapes and put in better TVs. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: My cruising history - this was my 16th cruise (1-Carnival/1-Celebrity/3-Norwegian/11-Royal Caribbean). I decided to try HAL because I was looking for a little "step up" from RCL for things like ... Read More
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: My cruising history - this was my 16th cruise (1-Carnival/1-Celebrity/3-Norwegian/11-Royal Caribbean). I decided to try HAL because I was looking for a little "step up" from RCL for things like service, food, entertainment, etc. I believe I have found it. My biggest concern was that I've always heard that HAL tends to be a older crowd (I've heard it referred to as the "Q-Tip Cruise Line") and while I found it to be true - there were many more "younger" people than I expected (I'm 55). I was traveling alone on this cruise (as I am finding that's the way I want to cruise more and more these days). I was happy to see that HAL tends to be less on the single supplement than most others which certainly helped my buying decision (and will help future buying decisions). SHIP INFORMATION: I will start by saying that I know this ship was going straight into dry dock after this cruise so I won't spend any time on how it needs to be refreshed. I was pleased with the layout of the ship. Everything was easily accessible and laid out nicely. While I have sailed the larger mega ships, I tend to like the mid-sized ships better and this was no exception. Things like the teak wood flooring on the promenades/pool deck and upgraded furniture outdoors was a nice surprise. The decor choices are certainly reminiscent of the time it was built, but I feel sure that this will change with the facelift. One thing I noticed that there is much less "open" space on this ship compared to some of the newer ships. Many of the passage ways (halls) from one part of the ship to the others felt dark and claustrophobic as opposed to open and bright. Overall, it is a lovely ship and the down sides did not get in the way of enjoying the ship that much. ACTIVITIES: There were many activities available on the ship and I took part in some of them but not all. The things that were a highlight for me were 1.) The Screening Room 2.) The Destination lectures 2.) The Fitness facility 3.) The sauna was nice (I wanted to purchase the Thermal Suites but they only sell 40 per cruise and I waited to long [day 2] to purchase it and they were sold out) 4.) I got a haircut in the salon and it was great and well priced ($25). I didn't try any of the cooking activities but heard they were great. SERVICE: This was one of the things I was hoping would be great and it was. I have sailed on so many other lines where crew members have a hard time doing something as simple as saying hello when they pass you, but overall, this crew gets it! Service across the board is better than on any other cruise line I have sailed. It's not just about DOING your job, but being genuine while doing it. I felt like I was special more times than not because of good service. Not every line can say that. My cabin stewards were the best Ive ever had on any line (Putu and Kadek). PORTS & SHORE EXCURSIONS: I loved each of these ports but did not do any shore excursions. I tend to like to just get off the ship and explore myself. Each of these ports allowed me to do that. EMBARKATION PORT: Since this was my first HAL cruise and I don't have "frequent floater" status with them like I do with RCL, I was concerned about the board process. I have to say that my worries were unfounded. The process of being in GROUPS to board was incredibly easy and I only waited about 30 minutes to get on board once arriving. I loved it! CABIN: I traveled alone on this cruise and had an inside room (6075) and loved it. The layout of this room was more "square" than long and skinny and it offered much more space. I think it was a Large Inside (Category I). The closet space, the bathroom, the bed position - everything felt oversized. The quality of the linens was wonderful and the bed was very comfortable. The room had a DVD player under the TV which was nice. There were 4 electrical ports on the desk (2 for U.S. and 2 for European). I brought 2 currency converters so I ended up having all the plugs I needed (4 U.S.). The only thing that would have been more perfect was if there were outlets by my bed. I liked the fact that my cabin steward brought ice into my room each day without me asking for it. I also loved the complimentary shoe shine service from my cabin. DINING: I ate in ALL of the outlets and loved everything. The quality of food, the presentation of it and the choices were very good. There seemed to be lots of option, even for vegetarians and folks who need gluten-free. There were plenty of sugar-free options and I even tried some of them and they were good. I had read in previous reviews about the "pre-packaged" sandwiches and how people didn't like them. I tried them and found them perfectly fine. Overall, the food in all the outlets I tried was quite good (Vista Dining Room, Dine-IN, Lido Buffet, In Room Dining, Caneletto, LeCirque, Pinnacle Grill). CHILDREN'S CLUBS: I didn't see them, but I met some folks who had kids (3 & 5) and they loved every aspect of the service they got for their kids. The kids wanted to spend more time in the Club than they did with their parents!!! ENTERTAINMENT: I found the entertainment to be equal to or better than any other line I've sailed. Shout out to the FLYBOYS - a group brought on board for this cruise. They were 4 guys from the UK who took contemporary songs and laid a decidedly 30s-40s feeling on top of them. There was also a special orchestra on board for this cruise called the Harry James Orchestra which was a 16-piece band that were AMAZING! The only down side to this group was their female singer. Being a trained musician myself, I tend to be a little hard on entertainers and she was flat most of the time and struggled to stay on pitch most of the time. You could tell she knew her stuff, but was just having a hard time (every time I heard her). The ship's singers were amazing - some of the best Ive ever heard. I liked the variety of entertainment around the ship. There could have been a little more entertainment, but overall, what was there was good. DISEMBARKATION: Very easy. I liked being asked to wait in my stateroom instead of some public lounge until my number was called. I didn't have to wait long at all once I made it to the embarkation deck. Overall, I loved it. OVERALL: I was very happy with HAL since this was my first cruise on them. I look forward to cruising them again and would highly recommend this line to anyone who is used to the level of service and quality found on RCL or NCL. HAL takes it up a notch and made it work. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We chose the cruise since it was the first, non-luxury cruise to leave for Europe. We had plans that were fixed on us arriving before a scheduled event. My husband had arrived in the U.S. on the Holland America Rijndam in 1956, from ... Read More
We chose the cruise since it was the first, non-luxury cruise to leave for Europe. We had plans that were fixed on us arriving before a scheduled event. My husband had arrived in the U.S. on the Holland America Rijndam in 1956, from Europe when he and his mother left Austria to meet up with his dad who had gone ahead to get a job, place to live, etc. So, it was a nostalgic trip and the cruise company was informed of this before we left, so at one of the Captain's Club receptions, my husband was called up to be recognized for his 60th year anniversary of crossing the Atlantic on a Holland America ship! We were very pleased with the Oosterdam, a good size for us, and love that it did not have too many "bells and whistles" (no climbing walls, wave pools, or too much organized activities) while it did have good music- Jazz, blues, swing, big dance band & this really appealed to us. The lecutres about the ports left a lot to be desired, since it was purely tuned to those going on scheduled tours. We always want to explore on our own, so we had to do our own research when we got off the ship at each port. They can do a better job of that. The excursion desk was less than helpful and less frirendly about it than they should have been! I give the ship itself, the captain, crew and Holland America an excellent rating, since they were the most personable crew, the ship was a perfect size and we had the best table mates ever. Everyone we met was interesting, seemed informed and very open. the food could be a bit more exotic, such as Riistafel with some spices. The variety could have been more so. It was good food, but we expected a bit better variety.Too much like all the other cruise lines in the dining room. The buffet had some more far eastern dishes each day and that was good for lunch. The cafe in the library area should be larger to serve the specialty coffees. One or two servers were there and the space should be enlarged to handle more than one customer at a time. We are planning on a 2nd Holland America cruise in 2017, we really like the "class" of passengers who seem to choose HA. At the embarkation we had to sit down and wait for our group. I had never experienced that before with RCCL, Celebrity or Princess, but it worked well and luggage was delivered very quickly to our cabin. All in all a wonderful experience. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
This was our third transatlantic crossing with Holland America and our favorite (the others were April 2014 on the Noordam Lauderdale/Barcelona and Oct 2014 on the Nieu Amsterdam Barcelona/Lauderdale). This was a short-notice decision, ... Read More
This was our third transatlantic crossing with Holland America and our favorite (the others were April 2014 on the Noordam Lauderdale/Barcelona and Oct 2014 on the Nieu Amsterdam Barcelona/Lauderdale). This was a short-notice decision, taking advantage of an incredible fare published a month before sailing, for a balcony stateroom just off mid-ship, We booked directly with the cruise line and embarked on what we are calling our "Pilgrimage to Rome". As Catholics, HAL is our preferred cruise line because a priest sails on every ship celebrates daily mass. This being an extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, we wanted to travel to Rome, to St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City and go through the Holy Door opened only during jubilee years.Timing was such that we spent Easter on the ship and enjoyed an Easter Brunch second to none in the main dining room. The second reason HAL is our brand of choice is the Filipino and Indonesian crew delivering excellence in service and customer satisfaction on every ship, every voyage. We've sailed on Oceania, Royal Caribbean and Princess prior to HAL and believe the pie dedicated crew sets HAL apart from the others. This trip was no exception. The food in the main dining room was fantastic - there was no need to try any of the specialty restaurants. We had incredible waiters (Teddy and Enri) - table 39, second seating and dinner was the highlight of our day. Staff went over and above to accommodate my request for daily low fat/low calorie menu selections, offering alternatives not on the regular menu, if desired. Shows were terrific, both the HAL singers and dancers as well as the guest performers. An unexpected treat: this was a big band themed cruise and featured the Harry James orchestra, playing daily in 4 different venues. The Microsoft lab was a personal favorite, while my husband enjoyed the guest lectures. The gym is well equipped and maintained and an added bonus is exercising on the Promenade Deck (3 laps is 1 mile). The only drawback on this voyage, was the overall condition of worn and stained carpeting and upholstery in our stateroom and throughout public areas on the ship. This definitely missed the usual HAL standard and is the reason why we did not rate the trip as "excellent". Having said this, upon arrival in Rome, the ship was going into dry dock for a 2-week refurbishing. For context, we are a retired couple, and enjoy the smaller to mid-size ships (under 2,000 passengers). Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
A week off the Oosterdam and thought I should finally write my first review/story, since I read a lot of other people's experiences. Firstly, we are a family of three, early fifties with a teenage daughter who will be attending ... Read More
A week off the Oosterdam and thought I should finally write my first review/story, since I read a lot of other people's experiences. Firstly, we are a family of three, early fifties with a teenage daughter who will be attending University this fall. This would be our 6th cruise as a family, 7th for the Wife and I, 3 with Princess, 2 with Norweign and 2 with Holland America. We don't expect a lot on our trips, just good food and clean surroundings. We flew in a day earlier and stayed at the Hilton Marina Hotel. This is our second time there and will be the last only because it is not worth the money. We left the room around noon, cab fair was six bucks each plus the bag guys at the dock we were generous and spent 25.00 bucks already. Holiday spirit I guess. Embarkation was incredible as usual with HA. Line up for check in wasn't too long. We dropped bags in our room, headed for lunch at lido. It was exactly 1:18 when we sat down with food and drink. One hour and eighteen minutes from hotel to Holiday I think is fast.....and away we go. Half Moon We pre-booked a clam shell which we could not do without. Very hot first day. I proped the back of it up with a rock to get a bit of airflow. The one we had was set up on a sand/rock ledge so you could see over the chairs in front. Clam shells are first come when you get to the beach. Find a yellow shirt and give them you ticket. Facing the ocean, the ones on the right are in a single row, go left, one behind each other and further from the water so get there early. Beach is beautiful and clean. Another HA ship was also there but the beach didn't seem crowded. Lunch was very good. The only complaint, which will probably be posted several times was the smoke from the BBQ. There were times it was so thick you couldn't see, eyes watering, it was terrible for everyone standing in the line. You just have to laugh about it, nothing they could do. Watching everyone leaving with tears in their eyes, running down there cheeks, you would have thought we were at a funeral. I love holiday's:)We have the all inclusive drink package, 15 drinks a day under 8 bucks which covers beer and mixed drinks. Didn't work on the island. Had to charge to the room. I'll wait to see if they are on our bill at the end. Grand Turk Started off doing some shopping at the port and then lunch at Margaritaville. We just ordered some nachos and drinks. Didn't stay long though. I can't stand country music, especially in the Caribbean. Headed down the beach to Jack's. The girls found lots of sea glass on the way, mostly dark but some yellow and blue. When we arrived at Jacks we were greeted by his famous dog and then Jack himself. Jacks dog searches for sand crabs so when he starts diggin don't get behind him. Sand flies everywhere. Great entertainment. We spent the afternoon here then stopped back at the shops to get some snacks; small selection on ship; before boarding. Samana I wanted to go back to the beach on the mainland, just outside the town but I was outnumbered and it was decided we would pay the 45 bucks each and go to Cayo Lavendato instead. Great people here. Chairs are free but there was an older guy who would clean them and set them up for you. Gave him 10 bucks. He immediately thanked me and ran to get the beachtender who would get our drinks and food. For 10 bucks these two guys gave us great service, with huge smiles, stories and jokes that made our day. Beach time was only three hours as we were told to meet the tender at 2:30 to return tho the ship. We spent the rest of the day by the pool as we departed. At Sea First full day at sea was pretty quiet. Breakfast, lounge chair, lunch, lounge chair and drinks, pool then more drinks. Time flies when ur hav'in rum. I can't or maybe won't comment on the food. I have never thought the food was anything special on any cruise. It's not bad or anything like that It's just buffet style stuff, quantity. Even the main dining room, food is good, but not "wow was that good" kinda food. That being said we will be dining at the Pinnacle on the next sea day so we'll see. Bonaire I reserved a truck so we could do our own tour. I would advise against renting a golf cart to do this. Very very hot and it's far enough to travel. Tried to book through some of the businesses mentioned here but were either not available or wanted 3 day day rental. I ended up reserving through Budget, which is at the airport. Booked with Vanessa for 69.00 fully insured with no credit card required. They picked us up at the pier and brought us to the airport where we filled in the paperwork and off we went. Headed straight south to see the salt, slave huts, lighthouse. We saw a total of 3 flamingo's. Not many but they were really close. There is security where you stop to look at the salt so don't bother trying get over to the piles. If you walk under the conveyer system you can find pieces there. Local fella says 90% of the salt is shipped to Florida and is made into water softener salt, not road salt. The remaining is used locally. We then followed the road around to Sorobon Beach. Not much to see between the Lighthouse and the beach, six wild donkeys,very rugged along the coast. Had lunch at Jibe City. Very good salads and chicken. It was fun watching the wind surfers while enjoying our lunch. Next stop was the Donkey Sanctuary. We were greeted by a very nice young lady who explained the reasoning behind the sanctuary and quickly charged us 6 bucks each to drive through and feed the "sad faced" donkeys some carrots at 3 dollars per bag. Sounds fun doesn't it. So camera at the ready we proceeded into the reserve. Oh, we were told to keep the windows down as the donkeys might get hurt because they can't see the glass, something like that. We crossed a little bridge like thing and then it began. Donkeys everywhere and they all wanted carrots. Picture driving through a herd of cows that were starving. Two sometimes three heads through each window and I mean into the truck. Remember these vehicles are small. Could barely move with donkeys everywhere around the vehicle. Couldn't go around them, large stones on either side, could barely weave my way through them. Sound like fun? This went on for about 500 meters. Finally there was a brake and I sped up to get away. Big mistake, they ran beside the truck, head still in window. Bent mirrors in, donkey slober everywhere. There was a bang at the back of the truck, no I didn't run over one although it's amazing I didn't. Way to aggressive to call it fun. We made it to the far end of the park, donkeys in tow, no carrots left. I swear they had a plan. A few would stand in the middle of the road and make you stop while the other fifty surrounded you. As we rounded the corner for the home stretch everything calmed down. Put her in second gear and let's get out while we can.We stopped outside the main donkey part to see them feed two baby donkeys. The youngest was rescued when the mother was hit by a car. Was it fun, sure, after the fact. I would recommend getting full insurance and if something does happen don't tell the rental agency where you were because it probably won't be covered. When we mentioned our experience to the locals, they were upset and were actually petitioning for the closer of the "Donkey Prison". Back on the road we headed to Rincon to get some rum. Beautiful drive, lots of cactus and iguanas along the way. We arrived at the Cadushy distillery and were quickly welcomed and treated to some samples. Very tasty and unique. The process of extracting the alcohol from the cactus was explained then back for more samples, rum this time. This is a small place, very personnel and accommodating. They don't cater to tours or tour busses. In the past they felt like a free drink and washroom break stop, not for what they really are. If you enjoy liqueurs, rum or whiskey, this is a must. We bought a small selection of the liqueurs and a bottle of there private 5 yr aged rum which Eric was kind enough to personally sign for me. Mission complete, we headed back to town. Quick note, you can't travel along the coast, heading south from Rincon,one way only, so we had to back track the way we came. Dropped truck back at airport around 2:30. Cost of vehicle was around 69.00 with insurance, gas was 5.00, left airport at around 9:30. Pretty cheap self guided tour. Then drove us back to town. Remember the bang I herd, no dent just scuff marks at the back of the truck. Budget let it go. Whey! Had a bite at Karl's on the water, decent food, slow service, nothing special. Did some shopping, some nice shops and vendors then headed back to ship. Fantastic Day. Curacao Shopping day. Promised the Mrs. Wandered around Punda for the morning took pics at the Dushi and the Curacao sign, then back across the bridge to the Steak and Ribs at the Riff Fort. We have been here before and were looking forward to the crab salad here which is delicious. Lunch and drinks complete we shopped around then headed back to ship around 4. We had reserved a table at Scampis for supper and arrived at 6:30 to eat and watch the sun set. Very nice setting with decent food. Service was excellent. Dinner complete we headed back past the Casino/ Hotel on the point and as we turned the corner there it was. Queen Emma bridge, neon lights, ship in background, simply beautiful. Got some pics and hung around for a while before heading back to ship around 9. Aruba Last port. We planned on a bit of beach time and some shopping but it turned out to be National Flag Day. A local lady greeted us and welcomed us to her beautiful island. She encouraged us to explore the island and see all the natural beauty. We agreed with her and mentioned that we had visited previously and agreed her island was indeed beautiful. Most stores were closed except the ones on the main drag, and the vendor market. Good thing for us. There was a parade. I don't mean just any kind of parade either. Hundreds and hundreds of people, kids, marching bands,Boy and Girl Scouts, swimming club, cars, motorcycles. Absolutely beautiful. I think we stood in the sun for well over an hour and a half watching all this. Every kid on the island had to be in this parade. There were folks from Curacao and Bonaire in the parade. That changed the day pretty quick. We had lunch at Mojitos, poor food poor service, maybe because it was a holiday and everything was supposed to be closed. Did a bit of shopping before heading back, 4:30 departure today. Met the same lady when we left and I mentioned to her that all of her island beauty was downtown today. She smiled and very proudly mentioned she had grandkids in the parade. Told us we were welcome to come back anytime. Enough said. Sea Day 2&3 Nothing much to tell. Lounged around, played bingo and relaxed. Deck 3 is my favourite. Shade, old time loungers and you can see everything, no glass, tankers, other cruise ships, some private vessels and even some whales.Dinner at the pinnacle grill. Filet Mingon, lobster, crab legs, ceasre salad, shrimp cocktail, all excellent. Should eat here every night. Impeccable service. Each course was served to each of us at the exact same time. Salad prepared at the table. Lettuce was tossed, amount of dressing at your discretion, then placed on the plate. Croutons were individually placed around the outside of the plate. I do mean placed, each piece of the salad. Impressed the heck out of my daughter. Well worth the extra dollars. Lasted two hours. Ft. Lauderdale Disembarkation was a breeze. There was a line up but of no significance. We stayed another day at the Westin Beach Resort, thinking we could have another beach day. Nope, very cold today. All in all this was another great cruise for us. Ship was clean, staff friendly and always greeted you with smiles. Islands felt safe and people were friendly. The ship was not noisy with no vibrations to speak of. We were on deck 6 forward.I don't know about worn carpets because I don't walk with my head down or did I notice fading paint on the walls or ceiling as I don't walk with my nose in the air either. If the ship is getting old and a bit ragged, it really doesn't concern us. Good food, cleanliness, safe ports are more important. The majority of the cruisers were older, some elderly which would frustrate some people with their slower pace and inability to figure out the ice machine, hand wash thing, elevators. Too bad actually because we should all be going their speed. It is a holiday after all... Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
This was a "collector cruise" We went to the Southern, then a short trip to the Western Carib, with a stop in Ft. Lauderdale after 11 nights. The first 11 days the ship had many, many elderly people, lots of wheelchairs, ... Read More
This was a "collector cruise" We went to the Southern, then a short trip to the Western Carib, with a stop in Ft. Lauderdale after 11 nights. The first 11 days the ship had many, many elderly people, lots of wheelchairs, walkers, etc. This is not an issue for us, just to note. The ship was very full. We have cruised the Caribbean before so we are not interested in ports, just the cruise experience. The staff and crew of this ship are exceptional, friendly, professional and efficient. We really enjoyed the first 11 days. The second 10 days were completely different!! The crowd was much younger and seemed to be more of a "party" group. It seems from some conversations we had that there were a lot of last minute Florida cruisers signing up. The ship became more crowded and a lot noisier. It was ok, just a bit of culture shock from the first 11 days! This was the last trip for the Oosterdam before it left for Rome and a complete refit. The stateroom, a VF, was very tired looking. Our room stewards were very good and kept it clean for us. We would board the Oosterdam again anytime! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2016
This was a very nice cruise with some ports we hadn't visited before. Everything was as we expected, very good food and nice accomodations. On this cruise the Oosterdam was recovering from a norovirus outbreak and the staff was ... Read More
This was a very nice cruise with some ports we hadn't visited before. Everything was as we expected, very good food and nice accomodations. On this cruise the Oosterdam was recovering from a norovirus outbreak and the staff was stressed--pleasant, but stressed, After the first few days when they didn't know if the outbreak was going to reoccur, cabin service and buffet service were a little ragged. By day 3 everything was back to normal. What never got back to normal was mini-bar service and all we wanted from the mini-bar was bottled water. By day 7 I had to have words with the front desk over this. Some front desk personnel were either new or poorly trained. They did not follow through on what they said they would do. It wasn't until I got to the front desk supervisor that we were able to get bottled water in the room. She was most professional. This is the 3rd time we've had norovirus problems on Carribean cruises, so I really doubt we'll be doing another Carribean cruise. Will and have cruised elsewhere. HA handled this outbreak much better than some cruise lines. FYI, we will never sail with Princess again. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
Background: Us: middle aged couple Husband very active and fit, wife recovering from knee surgery - so not so active or fit Pre-Cruise Hotel: 1 night at Rodeway Inn. I am not sure why so many people complain about the Rodeway. ... Read More
Background: Us: middle aged couple Husband very active and fit, wife recovering from knee surgery - so not so active or fit Pre-Cruise Hotel: 1 night at Rodeway Inn. I am not sure why so many people complain about the Rodeway. We found it quite adequate for a 1 night pre-cruise stay and a post cruise day room. It supplies free transfers too and from the airport and cruiseship port and a free adequate continental breakfast. Embarkation: It went pretty well. I required wheelchair boarding and that was well-handled. Our cabin was ready for us. Cabin: 4136 - Verandah cabin. We LOVED having the verandah and made good use of it. The location was great - quiet and near the elevators. Our cabin steward was excellent - unobtrusive and very efficient. He kept the cabin clean and well supplied. The ONLY problem we had with the cabin was when the seas were up a bit, it tended to be noisy - lots of rattling and creaking. I would get this cabin again but bring ear plugs for nights when the ship was rolling a bit. Service: really good expecially from the excellent efficient Astrid in the Lido Buffet. All the Lido staff were good. Dining: We pretty much confined our meals to the Lido and were satisfied. Only one night did we find the choices somewhat less than adequate and that was only for my husband. We LOVED Caribbean night. Entertainment: The staged show we went to was really pretty poor - boring and not well-staged. We liked the BB King All Stars and we loved the classical violin and piano duo (Adagio) who played in the Explorer lounge. Only one major complaint and it left us very annoyed: We had booked loungers and a clamshell for Half Moon Cay (a number of months in advance). We arrived on Half Moon Cay (WELL within the time-frame given for getting your clamshell). As instructed on our tickets, we went to the shore excursions desk on Half Moon Cay. They told us to go to the rental desk for Clamshells. We went there and in spite of having our tickets, we were told NO clamshells were left. The woman there sent us back to the shore excursions people (on Half Moon Cay). Their whole attitude was "not our problem" . No apologies, NO explanations. NO attempt whatsoever to rectify the situation in ANY way. "Take it up with shore excursion on-board the ship" was their entire response AND they took our tickets (luckily I still had my original receipt from booking the excursion). We were furious and nearly turned around and went back to the ship. Luckily we cooled down a bit and after much wandering around (bearing in mind I am recovering from knee surgery and found wandering around painful) we found a decent spot with some shade and a bench to park ourselves (I would NOT have been able to sit in the sand). So the day was not a total wipe-out. We got back to the ship and of course there was a huge line-up at the Shore excursions desk. My husband marched over to the main desk and basically insisted that they deal with our complaint (which they did after trying to send us back to the Shore excursions line). They promised to pass it on to Shore excursions - which they did do. We received a refund of what we had paid for the clamshell and a phone call from Shore excursion - a just barely adequate response. I did not expect major compensation but I DID expect at least a written apology and an explanation that made sense. As a result, I cannot recommend Shore excursions booked through HAL. They are NOT pro-active when anything goes wrong and they do not accept responsibility. Other: There was a smallish Norovirus outbreak while we were on-board and we thought it was VERY well-handled. Very pro-active and we were kept informed by the captain. This impressed us. Disembarkation: This went very well in spite of some passengers having problems with following instructions. Since we had assisted disembarkation, we confirmed the night before where we had to go and at what time - no problems So overall it was a good cruise with one highly irritating Shore excursion experience. We would not hesitate to do another cruise with HAL but I would be VERY reluctant to purchase another Shore excursion. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
Ship: I was aware of the upcoming dry-dock so worn carpets and loose wall coverings were to be expected. I was not pleased to have workers scraping paint and varnishing while I was eating breakfast outside by the pool. Workers were wearing ... Read More
Ship: I was aware of the upcoming dry-dock so worn carpets and loose wall coverings were to be expected. I was not pleased to have workers scraping paint and varnishing while I was eating breakfast outside by the pool. Workers were wearing face masks to protect them from the strong odors. Cabin 5023: Very small – smallest inside cabin we’ve had in over 30 cruises. Other inside cabins we have had on this same class of ship are configured similar to the outside cabins, but this one was sideways and has awkward floor plan. The cabin steward kept it very clean and towels were replaced daily. Bed sheets were good and bed comfortable. This cabin has a noise problem, the back wall must back up to a storage room. On nights where the sea was rolling there was a loud banging on the wall next to the bed. Something in the storage room behind it needed battened down to prevent the battering noise during rolling seas. Yes, we mentioned it to the cabin steward and he asked his supervisor to check out what the cause of noise was. We even asked the captain about the noise on his Q&A session but nothing was done. Entertainment: Loved the steel drum player, Junior, and the accompaniment from a great vocalist! I took advantage of several steel pan lessons. Comic had the same routine that we heard on the Noordam a year ago. Mentalists – 2 different mentalists, one for each segment, both were rather boring for the length of the show. Ship’s singers and dancers – Don’t miss the “Roadhouse” show if it is offered on your segment of the cruise. Filipino Crew Show – Best show of all! Piano Bar – We attended Piano Man Van every night and especially enjoyed his farewell show in the underutilized Crow’s Nest. His replacement for the second cruise was Piano Man James and we only attended one time on that segment. Adagio – Although the room was always full with people waiting, with buzzers, for their dinner table; the strings always seemed to be on break when we wanted to listen. Can’t comment on if they were good or not. (We loved a different duo that played on Prinsendam a couple years ago and listened every evening back then). Lido Pool – The piped in music by the pool was obnoxious and loud. It would be so pleasant to eat breakfast and just enjoy the sunshine and waves rather than being subjected to the “Beach Boys loop”. The steel pan & vocalist were great when they played and sang their live music by the pool. B.B. King Blues Club – First segment of cruise the group was mediocre, but they left the ship and a new group came one. The second group was fantastic – especially Adam, the trumpet player, and both the male & female vocalists. The group needs to play more different songs so that they don’t repeat the same sets so often. Very talented group. Entertaining indeed. I recommend “Impact Noise Reduction Earplugs” to attend all musical shows. Holland America seems to believe louder is better even after continued complaints about the volume. We bought our ear plugs specifically because we loved the B.B. King Blues Club group last year on the Noordam and wanted to better enjoy them. Good music ear plugs add to your enjoyment. Age of Cruisers: Their niche is older people even if management is in denial. Average age is mid – 70’s. Dress: Well dressed crowd! Some seemed unaware of the new dress down “gala” nights. I left my tux at home and just wore a sport jacket and tie for gala night. You could enter the dining room with just a collared shirt but I was glad I had my tie with me. There were many guys in tuxes especially on the first leg of our cruise. Lido: Pasta made to order is excellent and hot. Ice cream – ask what else they have if you don’t see many flavors listed or if you want a sorbet and don’t see one listed. Caribbean Fish Chowder very good! First cruise the Jambalaya was great but on second leg it was like glue so take a chance on it and maybe it will be a great batch. Made to order omelets were good and selections were listed which seemed to speed things up. Another thing I liked was that there were now 3 burners instead of 2 for the skillets and 2 worker omelet teams that really speed up the process nicely. Had salads for lunch on port days – would have liked more variety on the non-lettuce selections. Dining Room: We had 8:00 Fixed Seating. Appetizers were better than entrees. We liked cold fruit soups. Our waiter was very good. Lobster was good on the first leg but not so much on the second leg. The waiter did have to deal with a “special” table that was far from us that night so we understood the situation that one evening and the rest of our meal was good. Mariner’s Brunch – much ado about nothing. Last cold quiche for me. Skip it. Teas: Indonesian still nice. Dutch tea – nothing special anymore. Embarkation – Ship was very late getting in but that was not HAL fault. Wife only had a yogurt for breakfast in anticipation of the ship’s lunch. Was starved by the time we finally got to board the ship around 3:00. We got to salad bar and some food on our plate and the announcement came for the mandatory lifeboat drill so could not enjoy the salad, wolfed down just enough to hold us until after the drill. Not a great start to wait in a holding area for hours. Pre-Cruise Hotel: Recommend the Rodeway Inn as they found out about the late arrival and called the rooms of everyone scheduled for the shuttle to the Oosterdam to tell us that they would extend the checkout for free to everyone that was on Holland America. They also notified us that our free 10:00 am shuttle to the pier would be transferred to the 1:00 time that would still be a free shuttle. Other people told us they had to wait in the terminal from 9:00 because their hotel checkout & hotel shuttles didn’t accommodate the late arrival. Kudos to the Rodeway Inn, we arrived at the pier at 1:30 and our wait was much less! Disembarkation – They got everyone off the ship early and quickly so they could do a deep cleaning because of Norovirus that had been a problem the last 5 days of the cruise. Norovirus: Remember even though the ship promotes Purell, it does nothing against Noro. Use soap and water and wash your hand often! Summation: We were overall happy with this cruise and would do it again. Liked the ship and the itinerary. Their crew is very friendly and the waiter and cabin steward always called us by name. Good memories. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Pros: - Impeccable service staff (one exception - see cons) - Great food, nice variety of dishes and chef discoveries - Nice destination ports - Professional and very entertaining artists, musicians and dancers Cons: - 2 ... Read More
Pros: - Impeccable service staff (one exception - see cons) - Great food, nice variety of dishes and chef discoveries - Nice destination ports - Professional and very entertaining artists, musicians and dancers Cons: - 2 of 3 excursions booked on board were not up to the standard (one had false info in the HAL pamphlet, the other is a tourist trap and had a very rude crew during the tour) - excursion manager did not really care about the problems - wine selection, especially the package, contains mostly uninteresting "soft" and "flat" wines - cinema room needs to be revamped: more seats, better sound and picture Overall great cruise. We might travel again depending on how the guest service takes into account our excursion problems, but even then, not sure we'll book the excursions on board the next time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
The other reviews are correct in stating that the ship is due for dry dock. My understanding is that it will be refurbished this Spring. Yes, there was a threadbare patch on our stateroom carpet. With that being said, however, we had ... Read More
The other reviews are correct in stating that the ship is due for dry dock. My understanding is that it will be refurbished this Spring. Yes, there was a threadbare patch on our stateroom carpet. With that being said, however, we had a great time. We didn't encounter one bad staff member. Everyone was competent and respectful. The food in the Vista Restaurant was probably better or at least on par with every other cruise line we have sailed on (over 30 previous cruises between my husband and myself). Although other reviews mentioned being disappointed with the portion size, I had no complaints. The Lido was as expected for Lido deck buffet. The hamburgers near the pool were about the best hamburgers I've ever eaten, so they were a great alternative for lunch. The Lido buffet never had the "mad rush" pushing and shoving that we've experience elsewhere. We did, however, experience extremely long waits for "anytime dining." We were routinely waiting about one hour. It was definitely the low point of the cruise. Once we realized that the wait for the Vista Restaurant was going to be so long, we arranged a nightly reservation for 7:45 (way later than we would have liked but the only time available) and at least there was no wait. I would suggest you either sign up for assigned times OR put in a nightly reservation on the anytime dining side as soon as you board the ship(there is a way to make reservations in the Caneletto area that is right in the Lido restaurant). The cruising itinerary was really great. There was a nice variety of islands. Excursions: I would STRONGLY recommend AGAINST the Westin hotel package prior to embarkation. The trip from the airport to the hotel took almost an hour. The trip from the hotel to the port took over an hour. The hotel is in the middle of nowhere and there were no restaurants within walking distance. You can definitely do better on your own. The 5 Star Catamaran in Barbados, although a nice excursion, was not really staffed properly. My husband and I were just remarking that there was no help for people coming back onto the boat after snorkeling when a man fell coming up the steps and required medical attention. There should be a staff member helping people up onto the boat. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
I was looking forward to this cruise for over a year. We were originally booked on Eurodam in November but had to be rebooked on Oosterday for some reason. (I think the Eurodam was chartered, perhaps?) In return, we received a cabin ... Read More
I was looking forward to this cruise for over a year. We were originally booked on Eurodam in November but had to be rebooked on Oosterday for some reason. (I think the Eurodam was chartered, perhaps?) In return, we received a cabin upgrade, a healthy onboard credit, as well as some other niceties. We three were in cabin 8043, a "signature suite". Of course, our cabin might have been larger but I know that is a common criticism. Even with the size, it wasn't bad. Each morning, we ordered coffee and juice for the cabin. One morning, before going on a relatively early shore excursion, our order did not appear. The order was lost. Granted this is not a monumental thing nor did it ruin the cruise but it was noticed. The other days, the order was brought on time. Our room steward was Han and he took care of us every day. The cabin did have an issue with air conditioning as it was rather warm even though the thermostat was set to the lowest setting. Holland America does try to cater to the older population, nearly to the exclusion of younger folks. Having said that, I received an invitation to join a pub crawl held during the trip. It hit four of the bars onboard and we had a ball, especially when Stone and "Barry from Boston" did a duet in the piano bar to the dismay of the apparent regulars there. A low point in the trip came when we received notice that the Concorde Experience shore excursion we booked had to be cancelled. Embarkation was rather smooth. Disembarkation was relatively smooth, despite all the folks who refused to heed the crew directions. Food was fantastic almost all over the ship. I did not care for Canaletto...Just my opinion...It wasn't for me. The dive-in hamburger spot was tops. Lido deck restaurant food was good but, in my opinion, Patrick was trying too hard to be memorable. The young woman who worked with him in the mornings making omelettes did have a fantastic singing voice and she sang as she prepared food for us. Overall, I had a good time. HAL is good for the older crowd, but not so much for the younger folks. HAL is the polar opposite of Carnival and I'd love to find something in between. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
After some negative comments on previous reviews we were pleasantly surprised at our Oosterdam experience. The ship may now be 'older' but it has been renovated and we found the décor and layout comparable if not better than ... Read More
After some negative comments on previous reviews we were pleasantly surprised at our Oosterdam experience. The ship may now be 'older' but it has been renovated and we found the décor and layout comparable if not better than some other cruise lines used (Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, NCL). Embarkation was efficient and relatively painless. Food in the main dining room was consistently good with plenty of choice. We used anytime dining which worked well on most nights with only 1 or 2 waits of 10 - 15 minutes. Entertainment was generally of a high standard, with the Oosterdam singers and dancers, a magician and an American comedian all giving excellent performances. Most sea days were spent on deck as weather was fine - only complaints would be lack of shade when required and unnecessarily loud music around pool on sea deck. The small screening room was a good idea for those who wanted to see a film but on the one night we tried it I sat on a wet seat! Someone had spilt a full glass of water (we think!) which resulted in a hasty return to the stateroom to change trousers. Although this was reported to staff on duty no immediate action was taken. All it needed was a towel to placed on the seat or a notice stating that the seat should not be used, until it could be attended to. Nothing was done and inevitably another patron came in later and sat in the same seat! but overall a very enjoyable cruise. Shore excursions. We did not use any of the official ship tours as they all seemed too expensive, St Maarten: We took water taxi from port (easily found) to downtown ($7 return) Good beach in Great Bay nearby with sunbeds at reasonable cost. Quaint town . St Lucia: We had pre-booked island tour with Cosol Tours. 10 in minibus. This was the best tour of the holiday. Included visit to banana plantation, stop for excellent breakfast, drive in volcano with mud baths and waterfall, swim/snorkel between the Pitons. Barbados: Plenty of taxis at port. We went to 'The Boatyard' beach club ($15 entrance) included sunbeds and shade on excellent beach, café/bar, a free drink and taxi back to ship when ready. Martinique: Our stop was on a Sunday when most shops are closed but we had heard of French style village Pointe du Bout where shops and restaurants are open and there is also access to small beach. This is reached by ferry from the port . No details of this ferry were given on the ship and we just managed to catch the 8.45 ferry as it pulled away from the quay, but they turned around and came back for us when we waved! otherwise it was one hour before the next ferry. Well worth the trip. St Kitts We had an excellent private tour with Thenford Grey tours to Batik factory and Brimstone Hill Fort St Thomas We had pre-booked a taxi tour with Godfrey Tours which had been recommended but this was a bit disappointing. He was 15 minutes late in arriving. The original plan was stop for shopping and then afternoon on the beach at Megans Bay. As he had only 2 other customers he changed ths to beach first and then shopping. This gave us only about an hour on the beach after which he returned us to town and left us near the shopping area, handing back $4 each he told us to get a taxi back to the ship as he had another tour to do. rather unprofessional! Half Moon Cay. BAHAMAS: Beautiful beach with sunbeds and barbeque lunch provided by HAL. Shade was a bit hard to find for those who wanted it. Good beach day but too short - last tender back to ship was 2.30. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
We are experienced cruisers (both in our 60s) with our two grown children and thier spouses. To review this trip you really have to look at two separate things - the land portion and the cruise portion. We did the land portion first. ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers (both in our 60s) with our two grown children and thier spouses. To review this trip you really have to look at two separate things - the land portion and the cruise portion. We did the land portion first. Definitely a good idea. It was a lot of travelling and pretty exhausting - with not overly comfortable accommodations or very good food. It was good to do it first, and then be pampered during the cruise. We stayed at the Westmark Hotel in Anchorage for two nights. I would give it a C minus. Adequate but nothing more. It was in a good location. Anchorage is small enough that you can see virtually everything on foot. The train to Anchorage lived up to its expectations. Great scenery, interesting and fun narration, nice drink service upstairs and pretty good food downstairs. It was a comfortable ride, but it was LONG. every bit of nine hours. No alternative of course, but After 4 or 5 hours, there are only so many trees and mountains you can look at. We stayed at the Chalets in Denali. Very unimpressive. Those that like camping will think it is luxury. Those - like us - used to higher end properties think it was pretty rustic. Service was not great either. Trying to get a straight answer about times for the shuttle were impossible. Coffee shop for was supposed to be open for breakfast at 6 - staff showed up at 6:15 and said they would open " in a little while". (This on a day we had a tour leaving at 7:15. The included tour into Denali was very nice. But again, I wish an 8 hour bus trip lasted 4 or 5. We also did a tour to the Iditarod puppies (a very nice and interesting time) and the raft trip down the river (wonderful!) The bus trip down to Seward was a mystery, I had no idea what to expect. Here is what I posted after the trip: "You are assigned a time for your bus from Denali to Seward once you get to Denali. It can be anywhere between 7 AM and 9 AM. Our time to leave was 7:15 The trip is approximately 10 hours. The bus is a nice tour bus. Comfortable seats, smooth ride and a small but adequate bathroom. The driver also acts as a narrator. I found him annoying, others liked him. There were a couple of travelogue type videos shown on TV monitors which I ignored. There is one rest stop about 2 hours in. It is a highway rest area with portapotties. Not very nice. There is a very meager snack bar. About 5 hours in, you stop at a restaurant. A lunch buffet is set up in a side room. It is free and all you can eat. It includes breads, lunchmeats, salads and cookies. Soft drinks are also provided. There is also a bar where you can buy other drinks. The total time of this stop is about an hour. The food is decent and the bathroom facilities are clean. You find an open table to sit and eat. There is a very nice outdoor patio with tables if you want to take your food outside. After lunch, there is about 4 hours to Seward. There is another rest area stop planned about 1 hour from Seward. The driver asked if we wanted to stop, but everyone said keep driving. The scenery for the first 4 hours is just trees. We did see a couple of Moose running along the side of the road. The second half of the trip you ride along an inlet (on the right side of the bus). But really, not much to see. We pulled into Seward about 4:30 and were dropped off right by the front door of the embarkation building. Basically, this trip is something to be tolerated. Not much fun at all. " Once on Board, the cruise was excellent. Room was a typical veranda cabin and service was efficiently invisible. Food in the main dining room was consistently good (B plus to A minus). My daughter in law had significant dietary restrictions and the worked with her every evening to plan her menu for the following night. My only complaint about the dining room is the drink (wine) service. I would give it a c at best. Slow. We also had one dinner in the Pinnacle grill - excellent - as well as the LeCirque dinner in the Pinnacle (very good, not over the top great). Only complaint about the Pinnacle was an obviously scorched lobster bisque that was virtually inedible. Four of us agreed about that on the next morning, but none of us wanted to send it back. We should have. We ate most mornings and lunches at the LIDO. I am not a buffet person by any means, but I really did enjoy these meals. Fresh, served nicely, nice variety no trouble finding seats. We loved the piano bar and the player Jimmy. Incredibly talented and we closed the piano bar down at midnight each night. I enjoyed the casino while my wife and others went to the shows. No rave reviews, but they report they were enjoyable. Our cabin (5077) is a great location - just about equal distance from the bow and the back. Typical balcony cabin. I liked having the tub /shower - much better than the small shower stalls. Adequate storage for a week's cruise. Lifeboats are one deck down, so no obstruction looking out, but you can not see straight down to deck below or ocean. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
We enjoyed our cruise and would recommend the ship. It is older as others have mentioned but the food and service are very good. People do care about making you happy. I do have a few comments: 1. Vista fixed time seating is great ... Read More
We enjoyed our cruise and would recommend the ship. It is older as others have mentioned but the food and service are very good. People do care about making you happy. I do have a few comments: 1. Vista fixed time seating is great with great service. Open seating is less attentive. 2. HAL club really isn't for kids under 5. They have almost no toys and the activities are not that entertaining for those under 5. Also, they are very strict on the potty training so keep that in mind. Also the teenage area with video games was closed. 3. The entertainment was good. We enjoyed the Piano Man and Blues Club. 4. The Boat spends too little time in Ketchikan which is very disappointing. CELEBRITY arrived before us and left after us and still got to Vancouver before us. HOLLAND should adjust the schedule. 5. Holland does not advertise enough of the activities and excursions in the Seward area. We liked that area and Alyeska better than Denali. 6. The excursion people are not as knowledgeable as you would want. Make sure you book your excursions within the first 24 hours and adjust after that. Things fill up quickly. 7. The suites with verandah are very spacious. We loved our room. 8. As an aside the 4th of July celebration was disappointing. There really wasn't one. They could have at least had a band. Also, they were not prepared for how many people would want hamburgers. This cruise is for an older crowd but we had a great time. Alaska is beautiful. This was our second Holland cruise and I am sure we will do another one but maybe when our son is older. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2015
My first time on cruise.Generally satisfied but taken by surprise that had to pay for plain water even from my room fridge. Alcohol OK but water? Also charges of 15% for service in bars or to servants-low ball. HAL charges enough for ... Read More
My first time on cruise.Generally satisfied but taken by surprise that had to pay for plain water even from my room fridge. Alcohol OK but water? Also charges of 15% for service in bars or to servants-low ball. HAL charges enough for trip. Dinners also could be better, chef was slipping at work. Attention to travelers problem from designated staff, poor. Long lines to service desk. And end of trip was the summary. We had to leave room at 9 am and waited until 12.30 to board bus to Anchorage, totally wasted time. Specially that after arrival to Anchorage was to late to go anywhere. My baggage was lost on the way to hotel and nobody know what happened, they have flyer blaming road construction for delays or lost baggage.I got my bag in Denali 30 h latter. Hal need big shake-up Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
Wow, After reading some of the recent reviews, we were a bit concerned. But no need. Has cruising changed in 20 years, absolutely, is it for the better? Mostly not, so let me tell you what we liked and what we feel could have been ... Read More
Wow, After reading some of the recent reviews, we were a bit concerned. But no need. Has cruising changed in 20 years, absolutely, is it for the better? Mostly not, so let me tell you what we liked and what we feel could have been better. Could have been better, The ship, Oosterdam is old, it has been painted and varnished, updated etc., but she shows her age. It is not as clean as as newer ship, not as many neat features, etc. This is the main knock on this ship. The help on the ship isn't as friendly as we have seen in the past. I believe much of this is the culture of where the people come from. Nice enough, just not outwardly friendly, kind of quiet, keep to themselves. The boarding process was painful, the embarkation was a mess, they tried to get everyone checked in on the train, this worked well enough, but all it succeeded in doing was creating a massive traffic jam at security, where we waited for an hour anyway. Since we were traveling with my 85 year old parents, it was not a pleasant experience. We were staying in a Neptune suite and would have boarded much faster by refusing the train check in, taking the suite check in line at the port, much, much faster. As many people have noted, there is not much entertainment on this ship, but it wasn't what we were here for anyway. We were a bit disappointed that B.B. King blues club never seems to actually play any blues, the band was decent, just a bit loud. And lastly, they lack a bit of common sense, when it is raining, and it is close to all aboard time, maybe they could find a way to speed up the process? Hundreds of people standing in the rain, there has to be a better way to make sure the ship is secure, and the passengers are dry. Maybe two security check points? What we liked. The Neptune lounge, unlike the previous review, we loved Steph and Roxy, they were awesome, patient, and willing to help at any time. We had them change many of our reservations and every time they came through with a smile. One of the big advantages of being in a Neptune suite, is the lounge, food available all day, Roxy and Steph to help you, and much better coffee available here than elsewhere. A side benefit is you get to eat breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill, fresh, brought to you, excellent menu and service, we ate there almost every morning. Our waiter was Francisco and he was amazing, on the spot, always with a smile, a great way to start the day. Loved the food in the Grill, night or day, it is very good. We liked the crew in general, the Captain was very good at communicating where we were, what was going on etc. We liked our room, huge balcony, and it was nice to have 2 sinks and room to shower in the garden tub. We loved the Crows Nest lounge, up front, on top, spectacular view. We spent a great deal of time just watching Alaska go by as we sailed along. We enjoyed the main Vista dining room, two formal nights, two regular nights, food was good, true, it was not overly spiced, but they are cooking for 2000 mostly older adults, and I suspect they have learned to be easy on the spices. My parents are fussy eaters and they loved the food, we thought it was just typical for a cruise ship. The service was faster than many ships we have been on and we were thankful for that. We do not want to take 2 plus hours to eat. I have read about the south bound week having issues with fresh fruit and vegetables towards the end of the cruise, but there were no issues on this trip, plenty, right up to the day we got off. We bought most of our excursions from Holland America and they were all well managed, and we were happy with them. Getting off the ship went very well. If you are getting off or on for that matter in Vancover, the train station is right across the street, $2.75 to go to or from the airport, about 20 minutes, quick, clean trains, highly recommended. There is a luggage service at the port that will take your luggage for the day and you can then pick it up at the airport, very easy to use and to find. Summary, HAL is not the HAL of the past, particularly the food. More like NCL or Carnival, so I would not pay more to be on HAL, as you should know, it is an older crowd, quiet at night, and they can be a bit more demanding, service wise than younger passengers. Very few children on this ship, maybe 20 if that. I would recommend the Oosterdam to my friends and family, we have a wonderful time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
Stayed in aft cabin 4176 on a surprise for DW's 60th. Had only cruised with Celebrity before this, but this cruise worked out best timing wise. I want to make a disclaimer with an overarching point: If you can't be happy and ... Read More
Stayed in aft cabin 4176 on a surprise for DW's 60th. Had only cruised with Celebrity before this, but this cruise worked out best timing wise. I want to make a disclaimer with an overarching point: If you can't be happy and enjoy yourself on a cruise, you just ain't trying. This is an awesome way to travel and a privilege to be able to do so. I really appreciate all the planing and work that went into making a cruise like this possible. The criticisms that make their way into my points below are just quibbles. I get it that I have just been treated very well and am very blessed. ALASKA. A+ It is huge and vast, the largest US state by far, yet only about 1% is privately owned land, so it is the least densely populated US state. Of all the actual countries in the world, only 18 are larger than this US state. It is the northernmost point in US, westernmost point in US, and even the easternmost point in US (the Aleutian islands cross the international date line). There are a double digit number of mountains taller than the highest point in the lower 48. It is bold, raw, and a place of extremes and simplicity mixed together. Many places people were people live here are inaccessible by roads, including the capital city of Juneau. One can see the planet actively being shaped and recently having been shaped. Seeing all this made me feel small and humble and yet also elevated by having been made to feel so. Even now in early sumner, the weather varied a lot. We were lucky to have had sunny days permitting far away views, and mostly warm temperatures (60s and 70s), sometimes enough that I was sweaty with just a t shirt. But we had fog and rain too and at one point we had chills enough that I needed several layers with my winter hat and earmuffs and gloves. Most of the time the sun set well after 9 PM and often after 10 PM , usually light starting outside well before 5 AM. Alaska for a cruise was very beautiful. Having grown up Oregon, the types of trees and some of the terrain reminded me a lot of home in some ways, especially Vancouver BC to Ketchikan. The Inside Passage had always sounded underwhelming to me compared to the "real" Alaska interior to the north. That was a wrong perception. There is nothing minimalist about the Inside Passage. It is easy to see and there is so much nature, culture, and diversity in terms of how to see it. While excursions offer profound experiences, one could also see a lot by the sailing itself and then do stuff on your own in each town, easily rewarding a car rental and/or some advance planing, and a willingness to seek out small town life. A bonus in the Inside Passage is just sailing from place to place. The water journey itself is almost constantly exposed to scenery so there is almost no time you are not seeing good stuff. And although we had profoundly lucky sunny and warm weather most of the time, the times we had rain and fog and cold did not change any of the above. I do think that this means the Vancouver departures/arrivals have an advantage because the part between Vancouver BC and southern Alaska is mostly nonstop scenery whereas Seattle has a day at sea between it and southern Alaska (tempered, sometimes, by a stop in Victoria, but even then the sailing route is mostly just open sea). I would consider Seattle though because the cost would be less both for the cruise and the airfare from the US 48. Still want a way to come in the winter to see northern lights (obviously a cruise would not be the way to get here in December or January!). I really loved it here and hope to return often, like a song you can enjoy over. HAL VS. CELEBRITY wait for it ... SEATTLE - VANCOUVER HAL SHUTTLE B Worked well, it was easy, and I'd do it again. But a bus ride is a bus ride so this can only get so good. I must say I would have liked to spend some time in Vancouver so next time might just go there first. I liked that the coach was arranged with HAL so if there had been a snafu, the ship would have waited and would have taken care of us. Made me feel less stress as soon as I got on the bus, and kinda felt like the cruise had started. EMBARKATION (VANCOUVER) B- Took under an hour, fairly efficient, but again, how "good" can something like this be? Also, would have liked a more dramatic place to step onto the ship with, a grand foyer or something to feel that "not in Kansas anymore feeling." Quibbling points to be sure. DISEMBARKATION (SEWARD) C+ A bit chaotic. Long cues, not clear where to go at times. All worked out in the end. The coach arranged for us through HAL was a bit too close in time to the fight arranged for us through HAL, but, again, all worked out in the end, and we were at our gate and waiting in a very nice Anchorage airport terminal by 10:30 AM for our 11:35 departure. AFT CABIN LOCATION A+ We had cabin 4176. Maybe best thing about this cruise, other than Alaska itself. I had read complaints that the engine would be too loud or the vibrations too much. Not so (though could hear and feel it sometimes). Remember that the dining room is in this area too, and lower and closer to the engine that the cabins are, and the dining room is OK with respect to these issues. Some feel that this end of the ship rocks too much. Though I have a tendency to sea sickness (and carry scopolamine patches with me for this reason), I felt fine compared to walking around rest of ship (and never needed my patches). I had read that soot gets on balcony. Yeah, some, but not enough to matter. The view of the wake and the 270 degree view of both port and starboard were super. And, the sound and changing waves of the wake was like sitting on a beach and experiencing the changing sight and sound of waves; became mesmerizing, sitting before a log fire. Sitting on our veranda with same view the historic sea captains of old would have had from their quarters gave the feeling that the cruise was somehow privately here for us. In fact, a channel on the in room TV gave exactly this view 24/7. I'm totally hooked. (and, ruined -- these are hard to get!) CABIN ITSELF A- Comfortable beds and big comfortable pillows. Lots of space and appreciate several things about layout. The metallic walls allowed magnets to hang things up. Art on the walls was a nice touch. Layout of lighting was good and effective and liked having switches by bed. Extra chair and fold out couch gave good sitting room. Small desk was adequate. TV worked, few channels to choose from, and did not care. Veranda had two comfortable chairs one with stool, a small table, and a recliner. Storage was abundant and very well conceived. My wife and I are one bag each travelers so we did not need a lot, but nice to have had it. Even the stool for the desk is hollow with a top that lifts to use the inside space for storage. Can store several bags under bed. Three standing closets, one with lots of shelves and a locking safe, and the others for hanging clothes each have larger shelves that can fold down or not as you wish. One even had a rack for belts and ties. Several shelves in bathroom too, for toiletries. Shower with good water pressure, massage head, and was a tub-shower mix. Clothes line for drying clothes over tub. Cannisters of self serve shampoo, conditioner, soap in shower worked well. Room decor and materials a bit dated and worn, but everything very clean and working well. FOOD B Not the high point, which saddened me, but some was outstanding, especially Le Cirque, and I would pay for that again. Most food at MDR was good to very good. Pinnacle grill was very good but not the first rate special meal I was expecting and do not think I'd pay for the experience again. I found buffet sometimes disappointing in both variety and quality, but choosing wisely allowed me to stay with options that were good. I'd more or less skip the buffet next time if I could. Room service was efficient though missed items were not rare. Still it became our preferred mode for daily breakfast and was a great option for us, always on time after ordering in advance the night before. Also, room service for dinner one night was a great experience, ordered off the MDR menu (though in part it was a great experience because of our veranda and the view that night)). On the whole, the entire food experience was decidedly above average, but not best most special category, and so a solid and appreciated "B." ENTERTAINMENT A Went to one show which was illusionist and fine. But really enjoyed classical music every night, a pianist and violinist duo self named "Adagio," played several hours each night, in Explorer's Lounge. Became popular and packed. Though this is highly subjective, that one venue and these performers made evenings a real joy each day for us. Stayed till they finished at 10 each night (usually still light out, because .... it's Alaska!). There did not seem to be a lot going on when we returned to our room after that but really was not looking. I do not know if others would have found as many options as they might have wanted. For me, though, this was excellent. Some of the other offerings good too, such as the live cooking demos, but missed most of these because we were out seeing Alaska! PUBLIC SPACES A- The ship goes to dry dock next year and I assume it will have a face lift. The vessel looks older than the super duper new sips coming out in recent years, well used but clean, in good repair, and just fine. It looks used and loved, not used and abused. But, it looks used, and used hard in some places, with some fabrics and furnishings worn, some styles dated. The spaces are very well attended to, and clean. I like the deep blue or warm earth tone colors that felt calm and welcoming. The ship has many pleasant public spaces to spend time. I especially liked the flow from one space to another, and in particular the use of curved and rounded passages and rooms, giving the illusion of more space and not one rectilinear box overall. I especially liked the look of the dining room which felt more like a nice restaurant than a cafeteria. INSIDE PASSAGE, VANCOUVER --> KETCHIKAN A Captain chose a more inland route and the wall of forested greenery on either side of ship was sublime. Sat out on deck all day. Felt like time had stopped. KETCHIKAN, WILD WOLF TOURS EXCURSION A- Competent though unspectacular private tour made better by excellent guide Tracy, whose personal stories of growing up here and her native family heritage made this much more special. Enjoyed spending time in town, especially lunch and view from Cape Fox Lodge. JUNEAU, TRACY ARM FJORD HAL EXCURSION A+ A town with a bit of size has some more to offer. Enjoyed walking into town and meeting people. Some very good food near the pier. HAL excursion from here into Tracy Arm fjord was best of trip and a huge life long remembrance. I think this is the best port of the trip with the most options. If you re going to splurge on n excursion, here is the place to do it. SKAGWAY, FRONTIER ADVENTURES YUKONER EXCURSION A Deceptively substantial town for its very small size, walkable with some good food, a few nice excursions possible. Would rent a car next time and go up into Yukon. GLACIER BAY NATIONAL PARK A Stunning commanding beauty. Another world feeling. History and geology and scenery conjoin. Liked having the forest rangers' input and that of the Tinglit native -- gave it a very special feel. Glaciers were not as impressive as the small boat experience at Tracy Arm but still very imressive. SERVICE, STAFF A- Very well trained. I appreciated their uniformly hard work. Friendly, but in a politely restrained way. Even if formulaic, everyone said and did all the right things. The theme seemed to be to make me feel warmly welcomed and taken care of when I asked, else not intruded upon. The result was a nice balance. Very little of the more intrusive effort to sell drinks, photos, etc such as on Celebrity. To some the style might seem so laid back as to give a sedate and hands off feel, but I felt this was instead a contentment to let me have a good time but still remain open and ready to serve me. A tough balance. Smiles and friendliness whenever I passed ANYONE. Often saw workers carefully cleaning public areas each day. Stateroom cleaned and resupplied daily and reliably. I would summarize the theme as hospitality rather than sophistication, and it makes for a serene and relaxing feeling that marks the experience better than any one single other element. HAL vs. CELEBRITY I have liked Celebrity a lot, and did not intend to consider other mass market lines before this. My initial feeling on this ship was a bit disappointed, seemed less luxurious, less exciting, food less good. While I think those impressions were true to some degree, I warmed to HAL each day, and I would now temper my initial feelings. The HAL experience is more like going to a hotel in the US National Register of Historic Places than a modern glass and shiny new hotel. I appreciated the feeling created on ship. I would sail HAL again if I can. I will still like Celebrity too. Much has been written about the smoking policy. I did smell smoke from cigarettes and some pipe / cigar on our deck from time to time. I would have preferred that it were not so. I prefer Celebrity's more restrictive policy. That said, this was not a major theme of the trip. Which line is better? I think the question is unanswerable. While I can see some people having a clear preference, I think it's more correct to say that they are both good in somewhat different ways. Just as an apple and an orange are good foods, or New York and Chicago are good cities to visit, I don't think one can say one is objectively better than the other. There are so that hate apples or Chicago, most would find plenty of merit in all these choices. Celebrity I think had better food, and feels more shiny, splashy, and HAL feels nice, calm, relaxing, warm, contented. I'm glad to have extended to be in the HAL family now. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We will keep this brief! We are a couple in our mid to late 50's with a number of cruises behind us. Oosterdam was in great shape, extremely well maintained. The stateroom (signature suite) was well designed and incredibly spacious. ... Read More
We will keep this brief! We are a couple in our mid to late 50's with a number of cruises behind us. Oosterdam was in great shape, extremely well maintained. The stateroom (signature suite) was well designed and incredibly spacious. Mega large balcony, great storage. Food in the dining room was above average...but there was limited opportunity for specialty dining (one and a half restaurants). Our only complaint...social activities were non existent. Ship "went to bed" at 11 pm. A few good shows, excellent band in the bb king lounge, but when they laid down their instruments..it was over...as in,,,dead. HAL needs to put some effort into after hours cruise activities...take a lesson from celebrity on this one. Good itinerary... Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
This was our 9th cruise to date, all on Holland America. The weather was very nice, the ports were lovely & all in all we had a great time. We had a Signature Suite stateroom, on the starboard side of the ship. It was lovely and we ... Read More
This was our 9th cruise to date, all on Holland America. The weather was very nice, the ports were lovely & all in all we had a great time. We had a Signature Suite stateroom, on the starboard side of the ship. It was lovely and we were very happy with it. I'll start with the positives: - excellent service, from our stateroom stewards and from the staff in the dining room. A special "shout out" to Havat, our dining room steward, who was very helpful & made us feel like honored guests. - overall service on the ship was very good. - lovely stateroom - despite comments in earlier reviews, we found our stateroom in an excellent state of repair - BB King Blues lounge - this was our 1st Holland cruise where the ship had a BB King Blues lounge. We went several times & enjoyed it very much. - nice, quiet lunches in the Pinnacle. - on one occasion where many people were coming back late from activities, the ship staff kept the LIDO open so people could still have a late lunch But there were several negatives: - most importantly for us, the overall quality of the food in the main dining room (MDR) was ordinary at best. One of the members of our party used the term "cafeteria style". Holland used to promote its culinary program, with links to several celebrity chefs. These chefs would not be "happy campers" with the food served. On one of the formal nights the main course that we each ordered was inedible & one person returned it to the kitchen for something else. which was also disappointing. That has never happened to us before on previous cruises. This is a big issue for us. We used to look forward on every cruise to our dinners in the MDR. Not so much any more... - even food in the Pinnacle was good, but not excellent as we had found in the past - we rated it as 8/10 on this cruise as opposed to 10/10 on previous cruises - additional charges - don't get me going on this! We are already paying for lattes & cappucino's. It is really an insult to now charge a 2nd amount for "premium Arabica coffee beans". We also saw, for the 1st time, certain items on the Pinnacle menu for which you have to pay a supplement, over & above the amount you pay to go to the Pinnacle in the 1st place. - price of Holland excursions was too high & non-competitive. On past cruises we have virtually always taken Holland excursions. On this cruise we only took one (in Hobart). We booked all other excursions on our own. We found that the Holland excursions were terribly expensive & not good value-for-money. Example - in the Marlborough region, the Holland excursion to wine country included a stop in 2 wineries for tastings & in 1 garden. Excursion was 4 hours long & cost about US $150. We booked a whole day, small group wine tour with stops for tastings in 5 different wineries and other interesting stops during the day. Total cost was about 1/2 the cost of the Holland excursion. - on At Sea days, there was a lack of interesting educational activities and many activities either were tied to things that Holland was selling or cost something. The only thing of value for us was the port talks. - there were several At Sea days at the beginning of our cruise. It was really difficult to get a table in the MDR or Lido for breakfast & lunch on At Sea days at "normal" meal times. Either there is insufficient capacity or Holland should offer more options. - tender process - we only had to tender in 1 port (Akaroa). But the tender process was long & poorly organized. In that we weren't on a Holland excursion, we had to line up & get tickets. We arrived 15 minutes before the announced time & still only managed to get a tender off the ship about 1 hour after the tender process began. As a result we were late for our planned activity. - we only had one minor plumbing problem during the trip & that was quickly resolved. However our friends, who had a suite similar to ours on the port side of the same deck, had multiple problems. That is unacceptable. - for breakfast we like having a quiet table for 2 - just want our coffee & not engage in major discussions. In 2 cases the maitre d'hotel in the MDR requested that we sit at a table for 4, in 1 instance even though the MDR was almost empty. Clearly that is for their benefit, not the benefit of the guests. We enjoyed this cruise a lot but given the various issues we weren't altogether satisfied with Holland. As a result, when we take our next cruise, we will look at different, perhaps more upscale &/or all-inclusive alternatives. We had always been happy with the quality of Holland cruises in the past, including our previous cruise in the Fall, but on this cruise we were not as happy with things. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
An amazing experience, given that Pam and Nathan were in the vicinity. We were very fortunate to have a great captain (Capt. Peter Bos), who kept us all informed of the risks and dangers of Cyclone Pam. We had to abandon one port, (Port ... Read More
An amazing experience, given that Pam and Nathan were in the vicinity. We were very fortunate to have a great captain (Capt. Peter Bos), who kept us all informed of the risks and dangers of Cyclone Pam. We had to abandon one port, (Port Vila), pick up another (Isle des Pins), and were not able to access another, due to cyclone's wave damage to a pier. Our stateroom was always very clean and tidy, and nothing was too much trouble for our room stewards. We were still able to participate in shipboard activities, shopping, presentations, shows etc., given that we gained an extra sea day due to the Cyclone. The greater majority of staff who served us in the various dining rooms were very courteous and helpful. There were also some staff who 'stood out' from the others due to their passion and expertise in service, wine service and menu knowledge etc. We arranged a mixture of HAL and private tours, and found we saved money by arranging them onshore. The range, quality and experience of both invited and HAL entertainment staff was impressive, diverse, and enjoyable overall. Our disembarkation was smooth and went like clockwork. 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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