1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
This was a charter cruise so most of the standards don't apply. Overall it was nice. I just wish the bow was open all the time not just for special occasions. The buffet was ok nothing to brag about and the staff were very nice ... Read More
This was a charter cruise so most of the standards don't apply. Overall it was nice. I just wish the bow was open all the time not just for special occasions. The buffet was ok nothing to brag about and the staff were very nice and always accommodated us. The ship was clean and reasonably well maintained, but the cherry on top was the cloth towels in the public bathrooms. Each bathroom had individual cloth towels for your hand as well as paper to open the door but 90% of the time I could use the cloth and drop in the towel receptacle. The best part of the trip was the cabin. It was very roomy and comfortable and the staff took care of my request to empty the mini fridge so I could put my own soda in it. It was also nice to have USB charging ports on the desk and night stands for electronics. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Just returned from the 7 day Alaska cruise. This was the first time on HAL but have over 12 cruises on other lines. It been several years since our last cruise so the comparison is from over time. Last cruised Alaska about 8 years ago ... Read More
Just returned from the 7 day Alaska cruise. This was the first time on HAL but have over 12 cruises on other lines. It been several years since our last cruise so the comparison is from over time. Last cruised Alaska about 8 years ago Everything very clean- including cabin- no complaints about ship or cabin. Very satisfied there. Thankful we had great weather- no rain at any port and saw Hubbard Glacier fairly close. Main issues were food and entertainment. Poor entertainment....very little to do during the "at sea" days unless you watched a movie...surprisingly they had a good selection but why pay hundreds of dollars to watch a movie when it can be had for $10 at home. I walked every deck for exercise at night...by 10 o"clock the ship was deserted. Some people in Casino, BB King and listening to twin pianos but all combined maybe 50-75 people out of 2,000 passengers. This is a seniors ship...( note: we are seniors in our 80's but still full of life.) Food was blah. Many of the selections did not appeal to me and you were given small portions. Buffet had same food and if you are into desserts--FORGET IT. Had ice cream scooped for you and 3-4 cake selections and that was it. No great broadway-type entertainment...no steak at all at main meal...no midnight buffet...no tables full of various desserts..no joy of cruising. The 'good old days of cruising" not available here. Probably gone from other cruise lines too. Will go back to Las Vegas where you pay the same or less but get more bang for your buck. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My husband and I are an active couple in our 30's/40's. Last summer, we took an Alaskan cruise on HAL's Eurodam. We really enjoyed that experience (https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=624622) ... Read More
My husband and I are an active couple in our 30's/40's. Last summer, we took an Alaskan cruise on HAL's Eurodam. We really enjoyed that experience (https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=624622) and wanted to repeat it. For this cruise, we got a good price with discounted airfare. We were even able to upgrade from an inside cabin to a balcony for a fraction of the difference. Before the cruise, we spent 3 nights at an Airbnb in Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood. We had a fantastic time visiting the Ballard Locks and Discovery Park! This is a very walkable area, and it's tucked away from the downtown tourists. Also, it was a short drive to Pier 91. My feelings for this cruise were mixed, so I will divide my thoughts between pros and cons. PROS ~ There is only one designated smoking area, and it is located outside at the back of deck 9. For a nonsmoker, this was truly a breath of fresh air! ~ Our room was wonderful, and our stewards were excellent. ~ The fresh floral arrangements found throughout the ship are gorgeous. ~ We absolutely loved Lincoln Center Stage! On our previous cruise, we went to a few concerts. The musicians on the Oosterdam were even better. Besides being talented, they had a special chemistry that made their concerts extra special. ~ We enjoyed the food. There was decent variety, and waiters were able to accommodate special requests. For some meals, we pre-ordered from the vegetarian menu. The fruit selection in the buffet was great for a cruise (apples, bananas, oranges, plums, kiwis, peaches, nectarines, pineapple, melons, berries). ~ Each evening, there were a variety of drink specials (BOGO for $2, $5 wines, $4 cocktail samples). These are definitely a good value. ~ Each morning, we had room service breakfast. Unlike many other major cruise lines, HAL still offers hot breakfast items on their complimentary menu. Also, we would request other items not listed on the menu (e.g. grapefruit, plain yogurt), and these items were always included. Orders arrived on time, and it was relaxing to start each morning with breakfast in our room. ~ We did have one small issue with room service. One morning, the wrong omelet was delivered, and we did not discover the mistake until after the waiter left. I quickly fixed the situation by running up to the buffet and getting a new omelet. Later that day, I told guest services about what happened because I wanted to ensure future orders would be correct. To my surprise, we were sent a bottle of sparkling wine and chocolate covered strawberries. This was a small mistake, and HAL did a great job making up for it. Kudos for great customer service! ~ The Promenade deck was a nice place for walking. Even on rainy or misty days, we were able to enjoy long walks outside. ~ We liked the daily newspapers and puzzles provided each day on deck 1. CONS ~ Entertainment was lacking. Each evening, we would find ourselves wandering around after dinner without anything to do. We don't go to the main shows in the theater. We prefer listening to bands in lounges and dancing. Lincoln Center Stage ends rather early. BB King has talented musicians, but their venue is small and has a poor layout. It felt more like a concert than a dance club. Most nights, very few dancers came out on the floor. There was very little energy and excitement at night. ~ The atrium is tiny and dull. For me, the atrium should be the heart of the ship, but this area is lackluster and often deserted. ~ This is a small ship. When the weather was cold, the ship felt even smaller. There were very few public areas and most of them were clustered together. ~ During the day, there are not many scheduled activities. Computer workshops and cooking demos don't interest me. I prefer more active things, such as dance classes. ~ We did freestyle dining, and we usually went to the dining room between 7 and 8pm. I was surprised at the first set dining time. 5pm seems entirely too early. Since so many people were eating during the cocktail hour, it made time before dinner dull too. ~ The dress code is not enforced at dinner. On Gala Night, I saw people in t-shirts and guys wearing baseball caps. ~ The ports were wonderful, and Hubbard Glacier was awesome! However, the timing in most of the ports is odd. The all aboard for Ketchikan was 12:30pm, and we weren't allowed off the ship in Victoria until after 6:30pm. These short stops make it difficult to fully enjoy these ports. ~ The excursion prices are ridiculously expensive. We planned ahead and did our own thing in each port. If the excursions had been more reasonably prices, we might have gone on one or two. Overall, we enjoyed the cruise because the ports are beautiful and interesting. Shipboard life, on the other hand, proved a little too boring for us. We would consider HAL again if the itinerary is port intensive. If we do an Alaskan cruise again, we will try another line. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We choose this cruise just out of convince and having never tried Holland America in the past we saw the 1 night cruise as a great opportunity to compare it to past cruises on Norwegian, Princess, and Royal Caribbean. Overall they were a ... Read More
We choose this cruise just out of convince and having never tried Holland America in the past we saw the 1 night cruise as a great opportunity to compare it to past cruises on Norwegian, Princess, and Royal Caribbean. Overall they were a nice line to cruise on, however there were a few things that stood out from the other lines. Firstly I have nothing but good things to say about the live entertainment. The jazz club was fantastic and probably one of the coolest things I have experienced at sea to date. Additionally, there was a really good singer that performed a Whitney Houston tribute in the theater who's voice was amazing. For a 1 night cruise that blew me away. One thing that I did notice that I didn't enjoy as much was the quality of food in the main dinning room. It seemed to be behind the other lines (especially Norwegian). The quality of the wait staff was also not bad, but also not overly good. The embarkation in Vancouver was terrible as well. They had the classic here's a number and now wait in the big ball room until the number is called to board the ship. At that point we went to another line before going through customs. With that process I was glad to be a few hours early! We arrived at the port around 10am and didn't make it onto the ship until about 2pm. One bad thing with our cabin was that we were unable to get hot water during the entire duration of the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because it started in Ft. Lauderdale and ended 21 days later in Seattle plus we got a very large stateroom #8140 w a wrap-around deck on the stern. The first day for embarkation we felt the cruise line was not ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it started in Ft. Lauderdale and ended 21 days later in Seattle plus we got a very large stateroom #8140 w a wrap-around deck on the stern. The first day for embarkation we felt the cruise line was not organized and although our luggage was labeled "priority" it was the very last on - not that it mattered but what did is we kept wondering if it would show up at all. But note that the disembarkation was very well organized and fast. Holland America has figured out how to make money - we paid $150 for water, $300 for internet (it is just $150 if you stick to social media only) and they must have saved a lot by purchasing low quality food. The Gala Dinner with filet mignon and crab béarnaise was the worst with crab nearly too spoiled to serve a piece of meat that was not filet mignon but some grass-fed animal's "surprise." Some meals were good but spaced well apart and the Lido food began to taste the same no matter what you took. The crew was very well-trained and friendly. Our Neptune suite was ok but I do not believe this ship was updated in 2017 or 2018 as it was worn pretty well including our suite. The ports of call were good and although many were shipping ports, I understand it is hard to find dock space for a ship sized like Oosterdam. The people we encountered onshore were very friendly. We will use another cruise line for our next cruise maybe we just expected better like we got on the Ruby Princess last year. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Main Dining: food only poor to average. Always sauced up. Not very tasty. Not enough fresh fruit desert options or healthy entrees. Husband found the food poor. The only place to get a decent steak is to pay for the extra restaurants. ... Read More
Main Dining: food only poor to average. Always sauced up. Not very tasty. Not enough fresh fruit desert options or healthy entrees. Husband found the food poor. The only place to get a decent steak is to pay for the extra restaurants. Breakfast was pretty predictable, and closed early (9:00). I miss the smoked fish appetizers, fresh vegetables, and nice portion of fish or chicken for an entree. Lido Market--Pool deck: NOT always open. In fact, their hours were difficult if you were one to eat a late lunch (closed at 2, didn't reopen until 5) or breakfast (closed at 10--no sleeping in here). Only Pizza, pasta and deserts were open all the time -- again not very healthy. Entertainment: absolutely awful. What happened to the steel drum bands, and entertainment on the pool deck? None, ever, and this was a Caribbean cruise with no Caribbean flare. No musical performers on Main Stage at all during trip, only 2 nights functioning with a comedianne and a ventriloquist. Only music available was in Billboard Cafe (excellent piano duo) or Lincoln Center Live (classical music, and the musicians were not that good) or BB King's Jazz club. We ended up entertaining ourselves with trivia, bingo and happy hour. Best thing about this cruise: I got to share it with nephews and brother/sister-in-law. Without that it would have been a no go. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was my sixth HAL cruise. HAL has always been my favorite. I've also experienced Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Carnival. I chose this cruise because the week of March 16th was the best fit for our group of 12 (all ... Read More
This was my sixth HAL cruise. HAL has always been my favorite. I've also experienced Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Carnival. I chose this cruise because the week of March 16th was the best fit for our group of 12 (all women) and the price was good for everyone in our group. I haven't sailed HAL for several years. I know Oosterdam is an older ship (2003 launch) but it had been refurbished in 2016 so I wasn't too concerned about that. I enjoyed a relaxing week in Fort Lauderdale with my husband before joining a group of eleven women (sisters, daughters, aunts, cousins). After dropping my husband off at the airport, I was ready for some fun on the ship. Positives: As always, the staff was superb. Loved our cabin steward who was efficient, and unobtrusive.He seemed to be able to anticipate our needs and never missed a beat with making sure we had plenty of fresh ice and a clean stateroom Our dinner waiters were excellent! Very willing to grant special requests and they catered to the really picky eater we had in our group. She was nearly impossible to please with menu choices but our waiters made her happy. Amazing! It was always difficult to get the attention of the wine steward and we had to ask out wait staff to find her on most evenings. I like to enjoy wine before and during my dinner and it's a little frustrating to receive a glass of wine after dinner has started. Overall, the ship was clean Our room was spacious #5902 Veranda Deck - mid-ship Plenty of storage in the room, lots of hangers and shelves. Bathroom was clean and a decent size Balcony was just okay ... felt old and worn to me and I didn't spend a lot of time on the balcony Embarkation and Debarkation was quick and easy Disappointments: Entertainment. On past HAL cruises the number of activities offered each day was excellent. Evening entertainment in the theater offered Vegas Style shows that kept us coming back for more. On this cruise, we had a comedian (twice), a magician, and Post Modern Jukebox (twice). While good, these were certainly not in the same class as previous offerings. BB King Lounge. Loved the music and dancing but this was only one of two options for music entertainment all week. Shows were short with 15 minute breaks in the music. I usually found myself going to bed early rather than waiting for the next set to start. Would have preferred a longer set and a 30 minute break. Billboard - two talented piano players who played a wide variety of songs and sang beautifully. Relatively small open area along with walkway across from the casino. Always crowded... but there really weren't any other options other than the casino and BB King. No disco for late night dancing No long list of activities during the day to keep me entertained. No traditional piano bar which is what I missed most. I love the intimate setting of a piano bar where you can visit with the piano player and other guests, sing along and request songs. Billboard offered some of this but it was more like a show with little audience interaction. No Karaoke! This has always been popular on cruises I've taken even for those who don't sing. Big disappointment, especially for those who like to participate in activities rather than just watch. Dining: The Lido lounge always had long lines and less "help yourself" style options. While I recognize this is more healthy and safer, it was frustrating to either wait a long time or be forced to choose something else. Options weren't as plentiful as past cruises. The dining room offerings were also more limited. I enjoyed every meal but the choices were less elegant than I remember on previous cruises. I didn't see escargot on the menu once. Ports: Not much to say about the ports. Love Halfmoon Cay! Grand Turks and Amber Cove (Dom. Rep.) were a little disappointing but I knew what I was getting when I chose the itinerary. All in all, it was a good week but boring! Not enough to do, not enough activities to help guests interact and participate. Where were the games by the pool? Where were the fun activities like the Newlywed Game in the theater which always drew hundreds for great laughs. While I applaud HAL for offering changes to keep things fresh, I think they gave up too many of the best opportunities for entertainment and participation. Based on many conversations with other cruisers, I'm not alone in this opinion. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Oosterdam Review My wife and I had sailed on the Oosterdam about 10 years ago and were not hesitant about booking another vacation aboard her. The cruise was acceptable but I was a little disappointed with some things that Holland ... Read More
Oosterdam Review My wife and I had sailed on the Oosterdam about 10 years ago and were not hesitant about booking another vacation aboard her. The cruise was acceptable but I was a little disappointed with some things that Holland America had decided to economize on. I want to be fair with this review. There were some really good things on this ship and cruise, I just seemed to notice what had changed and not for the better of the cruising experience. The embarkation was fantastic. I have been through this terminal umpteen times before and this time we just timed it perfectly. From curb to cabin in under 15 minutes. Awsome. The ship has just had a refit recently. I was hoping that they had improved the buffet experience. Previously the ship had a normal layout for the buffet, but had instituted a policy to have the staff serve you (when the Norovirus first started getting headlines). This just didn't work and caused long backups during meal times. The revamped buffet now has the staff behind the counter serving, but the layout is terrible and no china is provided till you get to where the staff is working. This would be fine if it weren’t for the fact that some food is self serve before you get there, which causes you to either hold the food in your hand or backtrack and barge into the line to retrieve whatever you wanted. Not optimal. The new water/ice dispensers are a disaster. They employ a no touch proximity sensor to activate them that just doesn't work. The comedian/magician even added it into his act derisively. The buffet also closes at 8:30 and doesn't reopen till 10:30, well past having a snack after the show. This wasn't a huge deal for me as I really don't use the buffet if I can help it. What I found really chincy on this cruise was that they wanted 10 dollars if you ordered a second entre in the dining room on gala nights. Now some might say that “you don't need it.” Well I would like to reply that when you are on a vacation where you paid for your all inclusive food, I expect that if you want to try two different entrees or have an extra lobster tail, then you should be able to. No questions asked. It just was something that left a bad taste in my mouth. The do provide a decent “free" room service if you have an urge for something late at night or breakfast in the cabin. My wife really lamented the disappearance of the Library. That is the first place she always goes to when we board. The movie theater is now not part of the ship, not sure if it was popular with the general crowd, but my wife loved it. The entertainment is definitely not as extravagant any more. This cruise had the prerequisite comedian, magician (a very small show), a former Olympic gymnast and a BBC Earth2 presentation. I will emphatically state that the BBC Earth2 show was absolutely fantastic. That doesn't take away from the fact that it didn't cost Holland America much to stage. If you like the singers and dancers on the main stage, you are out of luck. The rest of the cruise was more than fine, I enjoyed my vacation as usual but next time I will go back to their corporate cousins Princess. Much better rewards program, the daily tips are not $14.50 per day and you can still order what you want (for now) in the dining room. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
This is a review of the Oosterdam's 2/2/19 Tropical Caribbean cruise. We chose this cruise for the itinerary, four ports in the Caribbean that we had not previously visited, as well as the competitive cost that allowed us to step up ... Read More
This is a review of the Oosterdam's 2/2/19 Tropical Caribbean cruise. We chose this cruise for the itinerary, four ports in the Caribbean that we had not previously visited, as well as the competitive cost that allowed us to step up to a Signature Suite, when we typically purchase a balcony stateroom. We, a 50ish married couple, are experienced cruisers who have sailed on Celebrity, NCL, Carnival, RCCL and Princess in the past, but this was our first with HAL. While I am only giving 3 stars, please note that I am a rather picky reviewer and this is really a 3.5 star review with the positives definitely outweighing the negatives. Embarkation was flawless, very quick and painless despite showing up right around the 1PM start time when I thought it would be crowded. Our bags were brought to our stateroom quickly. First impressions were that the ship is clearly older, but in generally good repair. The ship is classy and traditional. It was much nicer than the RCCL Jewel of the Seas that is of a similar vintage, on which we took a somewhat disappointing cruise a couple of years back. What stood out from a design perspective right off was that the ship lacked a bit of drama due to no central atrium as most ships seem to have these days, but I liked the rear dining and bar area where we spent sail away; larger than is typical in my experience. I strongly prefer ships with wraparound promenade decks and the Oosterdam's traditional teak one did not disappoint. The cabin was quite nice, while it was renovated last year there was a lack of information on just how far the renovations had gone. I would say that perhaps 50% of the cabin was updated with significant original elements left intact. So, there was a mix of the older light-colored wood and the newer darker wood. The shower and tub seemed original but the hardware appeared new. The couch seemed new but was already showing some wear, and the carpet was new and in good condition. The toilet was new, but the flush control mounted on the wall was old and cracked. There was some visible rust in the balcony area, but not too much and overall the balcony was great. The bed was very comfortable and the TV the largest I've experienced at sea. The separate shower would not drain properly so we just used the tub which also had a shower. The toilet stopped working briefly but was fixed promptly. All in all the cabin was a plus, and good value, and I would book it again without hesitation One positive thing that really stood out, I think as a mixture of calm weather, the cabin's central location and perhaps the ship itself, but this was the smoothest and quietest cruise in memory when in the stateroom. Very little motion overall until post-Grand Turk when the ship hit the Atlantic unless one was up in the EXC lounge or far astern, and even then while noticeable it was minimal compared to many past cruises. We did not attend any shows in the main hall, as they were not to our tastes. We did attend two shows at BB KIng's and two at Lincoln Center and found them to be above average to very good. We also enjoyed the daily trivia games in one of the bars, and some of the available games as well. A thing I absolutely hated about Oosterdam was the horrible piped in music in the common areas. Just awful, probably heard 2-3 decent songs all week. I don't know who they think they catering too, but it's neither their older clientele nor anyone of any age with any discerning taste whatsoever. This is typically a weak point of cruises, but Oosterdam took it to a new low. Dining was the big negative for us on this cruise. I would put the Oosterdam, despite its top 10 ranking among mid-sized ships in this area per CC, as below average. The buffet was slow, and I think the fact that they serve you vs. you serving yourself on many items is a big culprit there. The buffet staff often seemed overwhelmed, frequently running out of coffee cups and being MIA for drink orders. The buffet offered a relatively meager variety of food choices, and hours of operation were slightly more limited than some other lines. Quality was spotty there as well as in the MDR. In the buffet the best options were the pasta bar, the omelettes and the salad bar. The MDR service was good but the food was poor to good, never great. On two occasions I didn't bother eating more than a couple of bites of the MDR entrees they were just so underwhelming. Dive In and the Taco Bar were nice pluses, definitely above average for what they are. Rudis sel de Mer was pretty good if perhaps not quite worth the $49 tab. Still, I'd book it again. Pinnacle was a disappointment, the ribeye simply wasn't of true premium steakhouse quality and the sides were just OK. The lobster bisque was pretty bad. We hit all the bars multiple times and had good service. Beer selection was lacking as is typical but they did have several IPAs on offer so that was a plus. Drinks were weak, but they always are at sea unfortunately. Service was excellent throughout, probably our best in all of our cruises except for the buffet area and the outdoor seating adjacent. Our cabin steward Gede was outstanding. I can totally see why many people return to HAL primarily for the service as it was clearly a notch above in most areas. Disembarkation was completely painless, HAL really has this process down. We used the service where HAL checks your bags and gives you boarding passes in advance and it was worth it. We would have been at the airport in time for a 9:30 AM flight had we been daring enough to book such a time, though as it was we had a lot of time to kill. Key West was a great port. Plenty to do on your own. Lots of options. Amber Cove was fun with the Iguana Mama City tour that included the cable car, fort, cigar factory, rum factory and a good lunch. Grand Turk was a relaxing day at Jack's Shack surrounded by friendly local beach mutts and I would do it again. Half Moon Key was just OK, with a crowded beach, expensive clamshell rental and poor food at the barbecue. Definitely bring water shoes to the beaches in both Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay. All in all it was a very good cruise and HAL has a lot going for it. I liked the ship overall, the itinerary and the service. The value was good. While I would book another HAL cruise again if the itinerary and value were standouts like this time around, there were enough negatives that Celebrity is still preferred everything else being equal, with HAL and Princess my second choices. HAL was a better experience than NCL, Carnival or RCCL for sure however, and unless you are as picky about your food and your music as I am you will likely find the Oosterdam to be a great choice. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
This was our 48th cruise overall, 8th HAL cruise and 5th in a Neptune Suite. It was casino rate promotion and at the time of booking we were informed it had to be a Guarantee and we couldn't select our Neptune Suite as we have been ... Read More
This was our 48th cruise overall, 8th HAL cruise and 5th in a Neptune Suite. It was casino rate promotion and at the time of booking we were informed it had to be a Guarantee and we couldn't select our Neptune Suite as we have been able to do previously with the casino rate bookings. I balked because I have some mobility issues and never book Guarantee cabins. The agent said she would send a message to the Inventory Dept. to let them know I needed a Neptune Suite between the forward and aft elevators. I also contacted the Special Needs Dept. to ask them for assistance in the cabin assignment. We found out our Neptune Suite assignment a week before the cruise and it was in the most horrible place possible for me - 4180 way aft. I called HAL and was given the fax number to the Inventory Dept. and told to explain my situation and ask for another Neptune assignment. No change in our assignment. This greatly impacted my cruise in a negative way due to my issues getting around the ship even with a rollator. Also, the Neptune Suite was much smaller than the "regular" ones and with so much furniture we were constantly bumping into the bed or chairs. Entertainment was marginal and no more singer/dancer production shows. The magician was so-so. Did enjoy the Lincoln Center Stage musicians. The female Billboard singer was horrible and couldn't carry a tune and loud. The male was okay. Best entertainment was the America's Test Kitchen programs. The casino was tiny and crowded, but good to me as I brought home all the casino cash I brought with me. Everything I wanted to do was either forward or mid ship and I had difficulty navigating around.. Lesson learned: never book a HAL Guarantee again even after 3 contacts with HAL telling them of my mobility issues. We won't be sailing HAL again soon. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Chose this cruise mainly for the itinerary, never having been to Grand Turk. Unfortunately weather did not cooperate, and we were re-routed to San Juan. Not the cruise line's fault, but disappointing. This was after bypassing Half ... Read More
Chose this cruise mainly for the itinerary, never having been to Grand Turk. Unfortunately weather did not cooperate, and we were re-routed to San Juan. Not the cruise line's fault, but disappointing. This was after bypassing Half Moon Cay completely and changing Cap Cana to Samana DR. Embarking and disembarking were relatively quick and easy, as were the tendering to shore. Unlike some of the other posts here, I had no issues with the food. On the contrary, found most things to my liking. A lot depends on the choices you make. The band at BB King's was good, and entertaining. The Lincoln Center Stage was fantastic. Skipped some of the main stage show, but the BBC Planet Earth film with live soundtrack was really good, as was the comedian. Also enjoyed the casino, and the America's Test Kitchen presentations. The biggest flaw was that a full 50% of the ship were there as part of a Christian music pilgrimage. As a result, we were frequently proselytized, and subject to many conversations that people really should have been having in private. Shame on Holland America for not informing the other half of the guests in advance of this. The onboard experience suffered greatly due to this group. They have been non-responsive on my complaint so far. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Our family (14 of us) headed out on a cruise to celebrate a major birthday over the Christmas holiday. We did well overall. Balcony staterooms (category SY, cabin 8054 and similar) are lovely, spacious and very attractive. Bathrooms are ... Read More
Our family (14 of us) headed out on a cruise to celebrate a major birthday over the Christmas holiday. We did well overall. Balcony staterooms (category SY, cabin 8054 and similar) are lovely, spacious and very attractive. Bathrooms are particularly comfortable for this class accommodation. The ports were unexceptional. Of the four scheduled ports, the stop for Holland America's cay was cancelled, attributed to windy conditions. Food was satisfactory although main dining room service was slow. The ship converts a portion of the breakfast buffet to a specialty restaurant in the evenings.. Having small fry along and wanting to hold a quicker event than dinner in the main dining room, we scheduled the big birthday celebration there. We reserved the space at the very start of the cruise (the earliest reservation allowed under the Holland America playbook). A big mistake! The dinner really dragged on: After two hours we had not reached coffee, tea or dessert. The children became itchy (adults too), our requests for better service got us nowhere, and so we left without beverages or the pre-ordered birthday cake. The restaurant staff agreed to send the birhday cake to one of our cabins. But that was clearly not part of the Holland America master plan for that dining room. The cake never came. A post-cruise extra: six months after paying for the cruise and three months after it ended, Holland America discovered a four-figure mistake in our favor the amount taken from our credit card, and insisted on payment. My bottom line: Holland America offers a nice product for its price, but don't expect anything to be customized. You get what the brochure offers and that is that! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise because friends had already booked. The ship recently went through a renovation but it was clear the renovation was only in certain common areas. Our stateroom was filthy, old and very tired. Overall the food was ... Read More
We chose this cruise because friends had already booked. The ship recently went through a renovation but it was clear the renovation was only in certain common areas. Our stateroom was filthy, old and very tired. Overall the food was good except in the Lido area. I'm attaching some pictures of our stateroom so you can see how neglected it is. The overall entertainment was sparse, however, the cruise director was very friendly and asked for suggesions on how to make things better. Most of the staff was very helpful and attentive but the overall feeling we got from the cruise was there wasn't enough to do unless you wanted to go and sit and listen to people speak about different topics. We knew going into this cruise that HAL caters to a much older crowd but even older people enjoy some live music by the pool and clean updated accomodations. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
This is my 12th cruise, but the first time cruising with HAL. The cruise was a 7-Day “Western Caribbean” tour from/to Fort Lauderdale with stops at Half Moon Cay, Falmouth, George Town and Cozumel. I selected this cruise with MS ... Read More
This is my 12th cruise, but the first time cruising with HAL. The cruise was a 7-Day “Western Caribbean” tour from/to Fort Lauderdale with stops at Half Moon Cay, Falmouth, George Town and Cozumel. I selected this cruise with MS Oosterdam as I found a very good Suite offer for this cruise during the thanks-giving week. Ship: MS Oosterdam is a mid-size ship that has space for ~2500 Passengers & 800 Crew. The ship (Fincantieri - Vista Class) is a standard sandwich built with cabins in the lowest decks, public areas including restaurants, shops and casino right above, again cabins in the middle decks and finally the open public area including Lido restaurant, swimming pools / bars and spa in the upper open decks. Special: This ship has a nice lounge, called Crows Nest in the fully forward upper section above the navigation bridge. Cabin: I booked a “Guaranty Signature Suite” and received SY Suite 5001. This Suite is located at Deck 5, fully forward. It is a very nice and spacious suite with a window in the ships front and a little balcony. The suite 5001 is an accessible suite, means it is bigger than normal suites and the bathroom has only one sink (normally, suites has double sink) and there is next to the toilet a shower area for wheel chair passengers. The furniture in the room are “old style” but fully functional. Due to the fact, the suite is fully forward located, the wind deflecting around the bow can generate a huge under-pressure and in this case, the balcony door is whistling like hell. As the ship is already at a certain age, the door has some gaps that can’t be really closed even not when the balcony door is locked with the key. This permanent whistling is disturbing from good sleep. I had two nice cabin stewards, which serviced the cabin twice per day and tried their best to close the balcony the best as they can. Dining: For me the most disappointing item on this cruise: As I had a suite cabin, for dinner, I was privileged to open your time dinner seating in the main restaurant at deck 2. Anyway, every day, a register at the restaurant entrance was required. Twice, I had to wait at the entrance with a device like at a steakhouse in the US. Ones, I waited 30min until my device has flashed and a table was available for me. The service in the main was very slow. Often, up to 2 hours were required for a starter and a main course!!!!!!. Dessert would require additional time that make me then to skip this. Eating in the Lido Buffet Restaurant had like on other ships a lot of disadvantage. Often, there were ques to get the food and at the end, the meal is cold when you receive your table to eat. New for me: Chefs served the Buffet. Means, you have not collected the food you like by yourself, always you need to explain to somebody (mostly a Chef) behind the desk what you want and how much you want. Hence, it was not possible to task a bit and if you like it take more or less of this item. Entertainment: The ship offers different kind of entertainment during the night. There is a Jazz club, Piano entertainment and classic music which offers programs on different evenings (but not every day). Further is the theatre with productions and the casino. During the day, there is no entertainment at all. Neither at the pool nor in the adult serenade area is live music offered. I heart, that there were games trivia & quiz offered during the day, but I haven’t participated at these events. Ports of call: The ports had absolutely nothing special. Half moon cay is nothing than a beach with one Lunch self service restaurant and some bars. Falmouth, George Town and Cozumel are heavily overcrowded ports with up to 6 big cruise ships together in the port. Resume: Cruising with HAL is different to every other company, I was cruising with before. Cruising in the Caribbean area is boring, as all destinations are similar and there are always too many cruise ships who are at the same time in the same port. Anyway, the experience on the ship, beside the poor dinner, was nice and I enjoyed this out time. Wouldn’t mind to select again HAL, but not again for a Caribbean cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise because of the extended time in Malta. The embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly as did the process for boarding tenders in ports that required them. The crew was fabulous- the ship not so much- ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the extended time in Malta. The embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly as did the process for boarding tenders in ports that required them. The crew was fabulous- the ship not so much- disappointing really- badly in need of updating- carpet worn in public areas, many lights out on the observation deck, bathtubs should be removed as ours was so scratched it appeared to be filthy although it was not dirt. Our cabin stewards worked non-stop doing their best, but you can only do so much with what you have. The staff in the dining area also were attentive and courteous- unfortunately the food looked amazing but was tasteless for the most part- very disappointing when you consider how much food matters when on a cruise. We did find the entertainment to be excellent- nice variety of comedy as well as classical musicians and Broadway worthy entertainers. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
My husband wanted to go on this cruise to go back to many of the spots we had visited while he was in the army. We have sailed on several different cruise lines, but have always preferred Holland America. This cruise offered 2 days in ... Read More
My husband wanted to go on this cruise to go back to many of the spots we had visited while he was in the army. We have sailed on several different cruise lines, but have always preferred Holland America. This cruise offered 2 days in Venice before embarkation. These were very successful. We accidently found out that some tours were offered besides the evening cocktail party at a Venetian Palace. That was also very enjoyable with Bellini’s and heavy appetizers. I told a couple we met who had never sailed on Holland America how they would be impressed as it was a classic cruise line. I was embarrassed as we boarded the ship. There were no wheelchairs, which I needed at embarkation. There was a 300 foot walk. All elevators in the ship had scars and small tears on the walls. There were several broken windows around the public areas. Some windows also were clouded and did not give a clear view. The dining room was half empty when we would eat at the early dinner hour; the food was fine, but seemed to be better in the Lido which offered the same as the ding room with many more additional items. One excursion was changed from moderate to strenuous, and we were graciously refunded our money for that We were given a complementary dinner in the Canaletto because of my husband’s complaints about no wheelchairs at embarkation and a huge lack of help and care for handicapped cruisers during the lifeboat drill. One crew member said they were there for only emergencies. We had an early flight home. One wheelchair was available for debarkation, so another couple let me take it. At the airport we were just left with the piles of baggage in the terminal and there seemed to be no directions on how to find your airline. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise because it offered good value for money compared with Celebrity our favourite cruise line. They were the same priceleavu g the same port on the same date but HA seemed to offer more pre cruise ie. 2 nights ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it offered good value for money compared with Celebrity our favourite cruise line. They were the same priceleavu g the same port on the same date but HA seemed to offer more pre cruise ie. 2 nights accomodation in Rome and transfers. In saying that after flying for 32 hours from Australia our HA transfer failed to meet us at Rome airport. On reflection we would choose Celebrity over HA. I must say our suite was divine accomodating our teenage daughter, my husband and I and it was very comfortable and large and our room attendants were both fastidious and fantastic but that’s where it stops. The food was very average and the wine we selected mostly was sold out! We like to drink champagne and this was either sold out or you could only purchase at the Restaurant when dining for dinner if it was in stock. Leo our sommelier was always very helpful and patient in making recommendations but HA should be accountable for ensuring stock is available. Activities were almost non existent or of no interest and the entertainment ( in house) was very average. Thankfully our ports of destination were beautiful and I could cruise the medditereanean over and over but not with HA. We have cruised with Celebrity, Carnival and RC and would choose these cruise lines before HA. We cruised RC 2 years ago from Barcelona to Cittavechia and that cruise was approx $7500 cheaper than our recent HA cruise at the same period and quite honestly with the exception of our beautiful cabin on HA I can’t justify the difference. All I can say is explore options and reviews before booking your cruise with HA if you really want to ruise with them. I think the icing on the cake for me was we were in the middle of Europe and HA chose not to telecast the World Cup which was very disappointing for many guests!!!!!!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We choose cruise based on ports of call. Entertainment was very poor as to compared to other cruises i have been on (over 80). The activities on board were similar most days. The computer classes were scheduled the same time as dinner ... Read More
We choose cruise based on ports of call. Entertainment was very poor as to compared to other cruises i have been on (over 80). The activities on board were similar most days. The computer classes were scheduled the same time as dinner 5:30, Test Kitchen sessions were great and so was the BB Kings show times. The ship did have a wonderful in room selection of movies to watch in the evenings, since there was poor shows. The cruise director was average at best. Food in the dining room and lido was great. Service was wonderful. Purser office staff were average. Ship captain and staff were wonderful. I have never had a Captain think of passenger safety during a thunderstorm and advised guests to stay indoors and safe. He also backed the ship up from several islands and i have never seen this before. He was a great Captain. The ports of call for the 24 days were GREAT, that was reason we choose this ship. We were unable to go to Gozo due to rough seas for tendering. Venice, Croatia, Albania, Montenegro, Katakalon, Greece; Athens, Greece; Rhodes, Santorini, Mykonos, Herakilon, Crete; Chania, Crete; Malta, Naples, Sicily, Civitechia (Rome). 21 stops in 24 days and each stop was wonderful. The ship tours were very expensive and we choose to do on shore excursions on our own. Hop on Hop Off buses were in most cities at around 20 Euro to 25. City tours were plentiful in taxis and minibuses. anywhere from 10 to 15 Euro. We did take one ship tour in Corfu to 3 cities and is was average and we felt rushed during this trip. I would have rather found a local tour person and done it on our own. Be prepared in each city you visit to walk on uneven, cobblestone streets and cracked pavements, so a good walking shoe is necessary as well as a good hat to shade you from the sun. Staying hydrated is very necessary while walking in the cites and restrooms are far and few and they charge a Euro or more to use, but they are clean. So the cities are wonderful, beaches great and seas beautiful. It was the ship that i found to be average at best. The Med. is beautiful place filled with ruins, history and beautiful scenery. Enjoy the Med just think twice choosing Oosterdam. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We wanted the ports and we loved everyone of them. Three women between the ages of 58 and 64 stayed in the cabin. Beds were comfortable and even the couch was fine. Word of advice is to bring one of those portable lights with you and also ... Read More
We wanted the ports and we loved everyone of them. Three women between the ages of 58 and 64 stayed in the cabin. Beds were comfortable and even the couch was fine. Word of advice is to bring one of those portable lights with you and also an extension cord to use your hairdryer in the other room because its extremely dark in front of the mirror and in front of the last closet. It took 3 days of hounding customer service and the room steward to get the head of house keeping to look at the room and remove a light fixture and give us a mini flash light. The ship had two bars near the pool but only one of them had the happy hour special at 4:00 to 5:00 pm every day so we had to keep walking back to the other one. Seemed rather stupid that both pool bars didn't have the same specials. Food was very good. Extremely boring at night as the ship had no comedians and broad way shows as other cruise lines offer. You did get your refined cello and violin performances and art auctions or quiet wine bars. The BB King lounge had an excellent band but after a week it was over kill. Gala nights were are real disappointment We dressed up expecting to have appetizers, meet the captain, have champagne and instead it was just the regular dinner in the main dining room. Also, the ship had workmen installing rugs on some of the floors so we had to keep walking around to another stair case. Excursions were not very good so we were glad that we hired private tour guides seen on Trip Advisor for some of them. . In fact, the excursion desk people were always rather rude at the desk whenever we waited for at least 40 minutes to check about one tour that was wait listed. When we asked at customer relations what time the excursion desk employees would be back, we were informed no need to keep going to the desk for wait list status, you can go to the kiosk and do that or book tours. Wish we knew that in advance. We did book one tour in 2 minutes by the kiosk but it was cancelled due to rough seas. The spa was okay. They do pressure you to book more treatments. My first day I spent almost $200 for the same thing they offered for $149 at the end of the trip. Two of the travels had charges that were improperly charged and it took several calls to fix the bill. We have all had way better customer service on other cruise lines and the disembarkation process was extremely disorganized. People were standing in the halls for over an hour and quite a few were complaining. I felt sorry for the elderly ones. However, the ship is mostly seniors over 75 years old. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We loved the itinerary and decided to book for this reason. We thought the ship was tired looking in any area that was not renovated by the time in Dry Dock. The new areas were beautiful but did not do justice to the fact that the ship was ... Read More
We loved the itinerary and decided to book for this reason. We thought the ship was tired looking in any area that was not renovated by the time in Dry Dock. The new areas were beautiful but did not do justice to the fact that the ship was not ready. The pool was closed for the first 2 days out of port with painting and drilling going on. Shops were also closed. We had painting continuing for the cruise length in other parts of the ship. Veranda's and windows needed washing. Center elevators did not work properly at times (doors not closing or trapping people) as well as looking very shopworn. Suite was very poorly laid out (see cabin review). The exploration lounge was beautiful, however, for first 3 days, I could not get a decaf cappucino since the electric had to be set up (which they did). The food service, the cabin service and the bar service was excellent however. The internet was a nightmare to utilize after paying for it. I did get partial credit for my frustration and lack of abililty to use but was not a happy camper. The spa service was good, however part of the additional steam room was not in working order but they did not offer this service w/o paying per day (it should have been complimentary since main part was inoperable). The musical shows were excellent. The Pinnacle Grill and "Rudi's"were excellent as was the service. This was a very long time on board and we were quite disappointed .We also like to get room service on our trips and due to configuration of the suite, we were extremely uncomfortable with this (service was excellent). Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
This was a our first cruise on a HAL ship and longest itinerary of the 10 previous cruises we have taken. Overall the Oosterdam was quietly average, but disappointing for several reasons: 1. Guests demographics and mobility issues ... Read More
This was a our first cruise on a HAL ship and longest itinerary of the 10 previous cruises we have taken. Overall the Oosterdam was quietly average, but disappointing for several reasons: 1. Guests demographics and mobility issues were a big surprise. We knew HAL drew older guests, but had no idea this would feel like are floating "retirement home". We are active 65-67 year olds yet we felt like "spring chickens". A majority of the guests appeared to be 75+. A large number were unsteady on their feet, used wheelchairs, canes and mortorized scooters which made it a challenge at times to move about the ship. 2. Electronics were horrible. The Navigator Intranet site is a good idead poorly executed. Our devices would not stay connected for more than a couple of minutes... extremely frustrating. TV channels were not always available... tended to come and go. Glad we didn't buy the internet package... heard from another cruiser it was the worst he had ever experienced. 3. Though the Oosterdam had recently been in dry dock for refurbishment recently, the pool deck furniture was awful. The sling lounges were stretched, worn, ripped and extremely uncomfortable. On the good side cabins were good size and well serviced by the cabin stewards. All service was friendly and for the most part efficient. The food in the Main Dining was good with a large and varied selection. Both the Pinnacle and Canelleto specialty restaurants were very good with excellent service. I do not recommend the Hawaii itinerary during this time of year if you are looking for sun. Of the 18 days we had maybe 5 good days. We had monsoon type rains in Hilo... our best day was Ensenda, Mexico. Overall a very average cruise with disappointing weather and guest atmosphere resulting in a low value vacation. Heading back to the Caribbean on Celebrity next year. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
I chose this 25 day trip to Mexico and Hawaii because though Costco Travel, it was a chance for fun in the sun during January and less expensive than booking a hotel for the same period of time. The ship was not as nice as Celebrity or ... Read More
I chose this 25 day trip to Mexico and Hawaii because though Costco Travel, it was a chance for fun in the sun during January and less expensive than booking a hotel for the same period of time. The ship was not as nice as Celebrity or Norwegian ships I had been on. San Diego has a lovely harbor location. It was cold everywhere and even though many complained, the ship remained cold in public areas. Mainstage evening performances were not good! Out of about 18 performances I attended, I counted 3 worth seeing. Lincoln stage was outstanding! And fortunately they often performed 3 times a day. I had requested diabetic menu before departure, but when I went to Dining Room first night, was told by attendant I just should order vegetarian. My daughter was on a Disney cruise the month before and requested Vegan and had the best meals ever night after night by their Indian Chef who was happy to accommodate their request. I did not receive that courtesy. Food was inconsistent. I saw Tiramisu prepared 3 different ways. But the dining room crew members were superior! They just served the food, didn’t prepare it. I used the fitness room daily, but the treadmill rarely had internet access. The fitness instructor gave the same speech for every class it seemed! Our Lahaina harbor embarkation experience was a nightmare. Stood in line in the harbor for 1 and 1/2 hours and treated poorly by American Guard Security. The Captain never said a word about it. All passengers who disembarked were affected. And everyone was outraged. This was a ship with predominately seniors with wheel chairs and walkers and canes. Most conversations after that experience were in relation to how the captain never apologized or offered an explanation. Overall, this was the worst cruise I had ever been on and that seemed to be the general consensus amongst passengers when visiting with them. But I liked being with friends and making new ones and getting some sunshine! I want to give a big shout out to Jose Rosales Housekeeping Director and Dining Room crew for 210; Agus and Willy for superior service. And for Angga for such kindness! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We chose this particular cruise for the perks offered (OBC, free gratuities). We cruised with friends and we've all been on the Mexico route many times. My major negative is the loss of the music on the ship, especially in the ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise for the perks offered (OBC, free gratuities). We cruised with friends and we've all been on the Mexico route many times. My major negative is the loss of the music on the ship, especially in the evening on the way to dinner A pianist on deck 3 doesn't reach those of us on deck 2. The Adagio Strings was lovely. We always enjoyed having music on the Crow's Next in the evening but now it's just a big meeting area. Still, you can't discount the views. The MDR was hit and miss as far as service went. There were major areas where people were being served promptly and others received tepid food, as we did one of our three times. We were not alone - other table groups were experiencing the same thing. We requested coffee with our dessert one night and dessert came but coffee never did and our waiter didn't check back. The food itself was very good. Perhaps they had a new group of waiters? Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I've been on a lot of cruises and this was my first Holland America cruise. I had heard such great things that I was really expecting an amazing experience. I was seriously disappointed. Our cabin staff and a few other staff members ... Read More
I've been on a lot of cruises and this was my first Holland America cruise. I had heard such great things that I was really expecting an amazing experience. I was seriously disappointed. Our cabin staff and a few other staff members were very nice but we also encountered a lot of rude employees. Every other cruise I've taken I've always been so surprised at how kind everyone is. People make an effort to get to know you and what you like. I can honestly say no one made that effort on this ship. I even had a few members roll their eyes at me after making simple requests. I ordered a drink and got the wrong one. I wasn't mad, it was a simple mistake and when I tried to kindly tell him I had gotten the wrong drink he was really rude to me. Taylor the cruise director was THE WORST! I spoke to several other people on the ship and no one had anything good to say about him. He's rude and very bossy. He took his games very seriously and often scolded people for talking while he was talking. One time people went up front to get papers to play a game and he scolded them for being late and told them to sit down and listen to the rules. I was shocked. I honestly couldn't believe this guy has a job. The assistant cruise directors were much kinder. Overall service was really subpar. It took us over 45 minutes to get burgers at the drive-in. The shows were just ok. The comedy show was HORRIBLE. We walked out, as did many others. The ship seemed like it needed some updating. The carpets were tearing on the stairs. There were a lot of areas that just seemed dated. The club with DJ was open only for 30 minutes every night, what's the point of that? Some positives: The food was amazing, I really enjoyed dinner every night. I also like learning dances from the Mexican Ambassadors, they were great. The cooking shows were fun too. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Ratings Guide: A - Awesome B - Good C - Adequate D - Should not happen F - OMG! Awful Factors reviewed (comments below): 1. Embarkation/Disembarkation - Embarkation - F - 2-ship effect - F - San Diego Port - ... Read More
Ratings Guide: A - Awesome B - Good C - Adequate D - Should not happen F - OMG! Awful Factors reviewed (comments below): 1. Embarkation/Disembarkation - Embarkation - F - 2-ship effect - F - San Diego Port - F - Luggage Damage - F - Disembarkation - A (see why below) 2. Ship - C 3. Cabin: - Availability - A - Cleanliness - B - Size - B - Storage - B - Bathroom - B 4. Food: - Main Dining Room - D - Lido market - C - Canaletto - A - Pinnacle Grill - B - Exploration Café - A 5. Entertainment: - Singers/Dancers - C - BB King - A - Billboard Onboard - B - Productions - D - Xmas Celebration - D - Main Stage Design - D 6. Staff: - Cabin Stewards - A - Guest Services - A - Wait Staff - A - Luggage Damage Handling - A - Captain Involvement - A - All ship staff - A Group Ratings: 1. Embarkation - F 2. Ship - C 3. Cabin - B 4. Food - C 5. Entertainment - C 6. Staff - A Overall Cruise Rating - C Comments Some background - I believe that all reviews should be placed in proper perspective so that the reader can better understand the comments. My wife and I are mid-60s. We are not drinkers (sorry, no reviews of bars) and we are not heavy party folks. We do not mind kids or enjoyment going on around us so that is not a factor in these evaluations. We have cruised before on NCL, Royal Caribbean, Princess. The general age of folks on this cruise trended more toward seniors rather than youngsters. 1. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Embarkation, in a word, was a NIGHTMARE. There is no other way to describe the situation. We were unlucky enough to experience the dreaded "2-ship" effect. Every HAL employee we encountered in the process was very quick to blame the whole thing on that. The 2-ship effect - basically, the Oosterdam & the Amsterdam (both HAL ships, in case you don't get it) scheduled to depart from the same small port at EXACTLY the same time on the same day. Really!!! The narrow pier between the 2 ships was a sea of passengers, luggage, shuttle buses, tour buses etc.. There were no HAL employees in sight to direct the passengers to the correct luggage drop off line - which, by the way, was endless in both directions. The luggage handlers were rough. From the long luggage line, we went to the longer security line. More on the 2-ship effect - the Amsterdam was on a 15-day Panama Canal Holiday sailing. The 2 ships sailed together for 2 days, reached Cabo San Lucas at the same time. Passengers tendered off the 2-ships at the same time and the nightmare continued. I do not think that the San Diego port is meant to handle this kind of traffic. One hopes that HAL addresses this situation instead of continuing to schedule to, what one assumes, is their convenience. Our luggage was delivered ripped apart. However, in fairness, HAL did rectify the problem - more on that later in the Staff comments. Disembarkation was a breeze because we elected to carry our own luggage off the ship. That is not optimum for 2 seniors but, hey, it was infinitely preferable to what may have been. 2. Ship - the Oosterdam is a dated ship. It is not horrible by a long shot. It is a decent ship but it does not sparkle. My wife and I were comfortable enough. But, if you are looking for a dazzling, new ship experience, obviously, you need to look elsewhere. 3. Cabin: We were very pleased with the cabin - clean, good size, good storage, cabin safe for valuables, good size bathroom, excellent shower. It was available when we boarded - and that was quite a few hours before departure. Cabin 6001 is at the very front of the ship looking to the front. That was a unique experience for us and we enjoyed it. 4. Food Generally, food was a disappointment. Without a doubt, it was less enjoyable than any of the other dozen or so cruises we have taken on NCL, RCCL, Princess. It was not so much that it was consistently bad but that it was INCONSISTENT - some times, quite enjoyable, and then pretty bad. Main Dining Room - was the main culprit of the inconsistency. It is telling that, later in the cruise, we were more apt to go for the mediocre buffet food in the Lido than go for this promised "5-course gourmet dining experience" in the main dining room. The Lido Market - as mentioned, not brilliant food but not bad. Great range of choices and, for the most part, well prepared. The ice cream station, the Dive-n burger joint, the taco bar are welcome additions. It is very busy so finding seating was problematic. Canaletto - a "specialty" Italian restaurant. You pay $15/person. This could be one of the best, if not the best, restaurant we have dined in. Absolutely superb! Food excellent. our waitress was beyond compare. Her knowledge of the offerings, her service, her personality were top-notch. Truly enjoyable experience. Pinnacle Grill - another "specialty" steak restaurant. You pay $25/person. It is worth it. The steak & the dessert were stupendous. The rest was so-so. The seating was atrocious. In an empty restaurant with proper tables available, we were seated in this side room with low sofa-style seating. I was not quick enough to recognize the situation when we went in but, if I had seen the regular seating, I would have demanded a table. The Exploration Café - of course, you pay but the setting is very, very nice. Overall, you will not go hungry, of course, but the food left us clamoring for more. In the interest of full disclosure, we dined with another couple and they enjoyed the food. So, take my comments with a pinch of salt - which (the salt I mean) would have helped some of the preparation. :) Just kidding. 5. Entertainment - a disappointment. The Oosterdam singers/dancers group was enjoyable in one show, disappointing in another. The B B King group was excellent as were the pianist duo at the Billboard Onboard venue. The main stage productions simply cannot compare to what we have seen on other lines. For a "Christmas" cruise, the Christmas celebration was distinctly understated. And, I cannot believe the main stage design on this ship. Multiple pillars throughout the theatre totally block the line of sight from quite a few seats. 6. Staff - by far, the best strength of HAL. We were very impressed with the courtesy, friendliness, effectiveness of EVERYONE on the ship's staff. Well done, HAL! The Captain, Rens van Eerten, is very personable. He was visible and he stays involved with the passengers. Our cabin stewards were excellent. The wait staff in the dining venues is well trained. The Guest Services desk was very courteous and effective. They arranged for our damaged luggage to be stitched back into shape. Really, all HAL employees whom we came in contact with were impressive. A beef - the "communication" (Internet/Wi-Fi) costs are exorbitant - but, then, every line is the same. It just leaves an unnecessary bad taste in the mouth. Finishing up - overall, the experience was okay but nothing extraordinary. Would I do it again? Yes, one more on HAL but JUST out of fairness. Perhaps, this was not a typical HAL experience. It certainly was the most disappointing of all of the cruises we have done. Read Less
Oosterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.5 3.6
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.2

Find an Oosterdam Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise