6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I did this exact same trip last September and boy, the things slipped a bit. Still enjoyed myself but Holland America Line really needs to look at making some changes. Generally, I really enjoyed my Neptune Suite. It was large and ... Read More
I did this exact same trip last September and boy, the things slipped a bit. Still enjoyed myself but Holland America Line really needs to look at making some changes. Generally, I really enjoyed my Neptune Suite. It was large and bright and had a great balcony. The Concierge Lounge is a huge benefit. Enjoy coffees and small plates in the morning and afternoon. Food for the most part was very good, I think the dining room tries too hard to serve fancy dinners. I would rather just calm down and made nice dinners that weren't too fancy and under two hours. My biggest problem with this ship is regarding the hours it keeps and the buffet service. The buffet seems to be closed more than it's open leaving only room service if you want something to eat. Sounds great, but the problem with that is with 2,000 passengers it really isn't a great idea. Sometimes you had to wait on hold for over 10 minutes. My first night it took an hour and a half to get a club sandwich. They need to keep something open 24 hours where you can go sit down and eat. Coffee shop style, anything but just relying on room service so many hours of the day is a terrible idea. Why is the buffet closed so often? Worried about food waste? This was the most disappointing aspect of the trip. And while we're on the subject of hours, why does it seem like they roll up the sidewalks right around midnight? If you do the late dinner you're not going to get to do a show afterwards the last show is at 9:00.. Really? Why so early? How about a midnight comedian?Something for the people that want to stay up past 10:00. They have a couple bars and the casino open late and that's really it. If you're doing a late dinner you really can't catch a show after you eat. I also felt the service wasn't as good as in the past. A lot more of the crew seem to have bad attitudes. Especially the bartenders. I think the reason for that is because they know they're getting 15% and nothing more, so why do they have to try? Having that policy is really terrible for customer service, cuz they basically just rolled their eyes and make you a drink. After this Cruise I'm probably moving on and going to try Celebrity or somebody else. Some of these policies Holland America has implemented seem like nothing but cost-cutting measures and really hampered our experience. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Sailed HAL for 10 of 12 cruises. Last cruise 34 years ago. First vacation in 8 years and first vacation with wife in 28 years (never had honeymoon and always had kids)?? Basically, the shore system didn’t match the onboard system. I ... Read More
Sailed HAL for 10 of 12 cruises. Last cruise 34 years ago. First vacation in 8 years and first vacation with wife in 28 years (never had honeymoon and always had kids)?? Basically, the shore system didn’t match the onboard system. I bought 4 indulgences and packages and none were ready for us. We never received the excursion tickets or most of the Add-ons without multiple trips to Guest services. They never notified us of Port Valet services or shopping specials that were supposed to be delivered to room. HAL completely missed our anniversary. They were quick with ‘I’m so sorry’ but slow on resolutions. Missed several onboard events while waiting in line at Guest Services. They don’t answer the phone so don’t bother. MDR was nice but if you share a table, they may make you wait 30 minutes until the table is full. Lincoln Center Stage was the best. I wish they would let me throat punch the drunks and obnoxious passengers that walked by and disrupted the performance. Weather was rough 1 day (18’ swells) and passengers felt the need to vomit on the common area carpets instead of staying in their cabins. Everything is an add on. Better meals in MDR ($25+ extra), candid photos ($20 each or 5 for $60). Portraits at Gala, $40 each or $160 for 5). Bingo was about $40 plus the $2.50 dauber. Staff was always pushing drinks, pictures, spa treatments, etc. Had 2 of 8 days without problems and trying to get what we paid for. Well possibly travel on HAL again if they fix their problems. I’m a 3 star Mariner and have a long way until 4 stars. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Probably I took my last cruise on Holland America last month. The cruise was a 7 day cruise on the Oosteram round trip from Seattle to Alaska. Here is an explanation of why I feel as I do: Pros: • The Hotel staff was nice and ... Read More
Probably I took my last cruise on Holland America last month. The cruise was a 7 day cruise on the Oosteram round trip from Seattle to Alaska. Here is an explanation of why I feel as I do: Pros: • The Hotel staff was nice and provided good service; the room was clean and comfortable; the ship was clean. Our cabin staff remember my name after the first day. • The bow was open for viewing and picture taking when at a Glacier; the naturalist’s narrative was helpful. Since it was cold out, hot beverages were served during the sightseeing on the bow. • Regular Coffee was better than the coffee on many ships I’ve been on. • Bar service was reasonably priced, and we were not constantly bombarded with someone trying to sell us a specialty drink. • The string quartet was very good in the Lincoln Center venue. Cons: There is a list of cons: Food: • Food and Food Service: Food service in the main dining room was spotty at best and on several occasions we had to flag down a server after a long wait. One of our party ordered a soda and it was never delivered. When we complained, he no longer wanted it as we were through with our meal although it was offered at no charge. At Breakfast the portions were very small, much smaller than what is normal in a regular Diner. In the main dinning room I ordered lamb chops, medium rare. I was served two very thin, too thin to cook medium rare, chops. I sent them back and got 3 chops, 2 of which I’d call medium, 1 close to medium rare-it was the only thick enough to be able to be cooked right. • In the extra $35 charge specialty restaurant there was an extra charge of $10 for a lobster tail with a steak, something I have not seen of other lines I’ve been on. In fact on one cruise two of the party I was with had three or four lobster tails, one after the other, in the specialty dining room at no extra charge. One of our party asked if it was possible to get a side dish of the mac and cheese entrée and was told she would be charged $15 for an extra entrée. We asked to speak with the dining room Captain and he approved it for no charge. I have never before been told on a cruise that a second entrée was an extra charge in either the regular or specialty dining rooms. Although the steak I ordered was very good, the sides were smaller than usual portions. • In the specialty Italian Restaurant the food was good, but again the service was slow and the portions smaller than I’ve seen on other ship. • The Lido buffet was a big disappointment when it came to service. Although the food was good, the lines were slow due to a lack of adequate staff, especially in the sections that required some preparation. Staff was slow to clean up tables during busy times and in one case only cleaned part of the table. I ordered two eggs over easy and the yoke on one broke and I was served this unappealing glob with one yoke whole and the other a yellow spot on the plate. When I saw an supervisor and mentioned it to him he said he would take care of it, took my plate and returned with only one egg where part of the white was still uncooked. On another day that featured poached eggs, I asked for two eggs and was given one. The portion of corn beef hash was smaller than I have ever seen before in any food venue, shipboard or on land. Other portions were also smaller than usual. As a side note, the Taco Bar by the pool was tasty, but often the bins were empty and the shredded beef was put out with so much juice that it was hard to get to the meat. • As a coffee lover, there was no place for specialty coffee drinks, even at an extra charge, on board other than in the main dining room. Entertainment: • Understanding it was Memorial Day weekend and there were a number of Vietnam Vets and families on board, the ship closed up early in the evening. The piano bar, which on every other cruise I’ve been on was always open in the evening was usually without a piano player, there was some dancing in BBKing Blues shows, but that’s because the shows were more Motown than Blues. The other bars were also pretty dead with almost no entertainment. • The first night had no entertainment venues other than BBKing that I found open. • The big production show had fine dancers, but I found it loud and the fantastic electronics took away from the talented performers. Some people said they liked it, most I talked with found it annoying, loud and overproduced. • Was there a lack of activity because the ship felt the passengers would not take advantage of it or was there no activity at night because the passengers give up trying to find a place to dance or do anything other than buy drinks. I don’t know the answer, but my guess it was the second reason. If you look at other reviews I’ve written you’ll see I tend to be positive in what I see and I’m sad that I am writing such a disappointing narrative. My other Holland America cruise a number of years ago did not have any of the problems I describe here. Hopefully the other passengers had a better experience than I did, but I’ve read where Holland America is playing with charging extra fees and cutting back in order to get a better bottom line. It’s unlikely they’ll see me again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My wife and I have been on two other cruise lines so a friend of ours invited us on a vacation to Alaska on the line HAL Oosterdam. The staff was very friendly but when we needed some guidance we couldn't understand what they were ... Read More
My wife and I have been on two other cruise lines so a friend of ours invited us on a vacation to Alaska on the line HAL Oosterdam. The staff was very friendly but when we needed some guidance we couldn't understand what they were saying and they didn't even know the answer to our question so make sure your staff who works on the ship knows everything about it like where's the nearest bathroom . While going down the hall to my room it smelt like sewage that was just not normal and it wasn't just my hall... we made a shore excursion n Ketchikan as soon as we were down we had 2 go back 2 the ship we had no time to explore Ketchiken cause we only hade 4 hours to stay. Now the food in the restaurants were EXCELLENT but n the lido deck buffet u couldn't serve yourself , same food every day , when they served you they gave you little portions . Now my main concern on my list is the ENTERTAINMENT !!! To talking to some of the other passengers there was nothing 2 do. Sure they had the comedian which who was hilarious and the magician which who could of had did something more than what she did if Lance Burton is her idol. Every day u should have some kind of ENTERTAINMENT it doesn't have to be something big but just something. Hope this helps cause I will not be recommending this cruise ship 2 anyone Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We booked this cruise with 2 other couples to celebrate 2 Birthdays and for the itinerary which included 4 port days. This is our 7th cruise on Holland America. We had praised up our previous cruises and the quality of service, cuisine ... Read More
We booked this cruise with 2 other couples to celebrate 2 Birthdays and for the itinerary which included 4 port days. This is our 7th cruise on Holland America. We had praised up our previous cruises and the quality of service, cuisine and attention to detail with our friends. It soon became apparent, that this cruise was not going to compare in any way with our previous experiences. Pros: The Oosterdam was in very good shape in all the common areas having recently undergone a refurbishment. Many of the hard working staff we encountered were very pleasant and smiling. We met many wonderful folks on the cruise, but sadly, most of our conversations were regarding this cruise compared to others. The ports of call were wonderful, providing lots to see and do and wonderful beach time! We enjoyed the ports and the time spent with our friends. Disappointments: It began at embark/check-in. As we entered the port area, there was a gentleman "hearding" people thru the line calling out "Passports!!! Get your passports out" As we approached him, he hollered at me "Where is your passport?" I explained that we held Enhanced licenses from the state of Vermont. We were pulled from the line. He then proceeded to tell us that we couldn't sail that day without a passport. I explained to him that I had called Seattle and researched the website and that we could indeed travel with an enhanced license and a Birth Certificate if needed. He then let us back in line. Our friends had also stepped aside to wait for us. We proceeded to check in where the woman never asked for our BC or wanted them even when I offered them. We checked in and proceeded to board and were told our staterooms were ready. All 3 couples had inside staterooms side by side- 8125, 8129 and 8133. We went to the cabins to leave off the items we had carried on board. I went into the bathroom and found numerous hairs on the vanity and floor and upon leaving the bath, saw and empty water bottle under the edge of the closet. Since we were meeting the others for lunch, we proceeded to the Lido deciding to try and talk with our cabin steward later. Upon meeting up with our friends, we learned their bathroom had also not been cleaned sufficiently. They had to ask their steward twice to clean the bathroom. We actually had to leave a note for our steward as we never saw them for the first 2 days- that our bathroom needed to be cleaned and the cabin vacuumed as we found nail clippings, hair and other small objects on the carpet. We also had a remote for the TV that was difficult to use due to worn buttons, but as we never saw the steward, it was impossible to get it replaced. We had ordered a gallon of distilled water for my husband's bi-pap machine and that also wasn't delivered. During the course of the week I was called down to Guest Relations 4 times for issues with my Birth Certificate information which no one wanted to see when we checked in. I was denied getting off the ship the first day in Key West and had to take my ID to Guest Relations before disembarking. They then said that when I returned to the ship that afternoon, I had to come back with my BC! Which I did. However, I was summoned 3 more times to Guest Services regarding my BC. Other issues: $25 beverage cards we were all "comped" never were activated. We had to go to GR and have them activated, then they still didn't work. When I returned to GR, they said it did work and a drink had been charged to it. However, that same drink had also been charged to our cabin. For the duration of the cruise, every attempt to use the beverage card was denied. Tall tropical drinks were served without straws. If pressed, the bar staff would finally give you a straw cut in half. Bar staff coverage in the Sea View pool / bar area was almost non-existent. They seemed to cater to the smoking crowd on one side of the pool - who also had all the very nice comfortable chairs for lounging, cards and reading. If we wanted to order a drink you had to stand and wave a server over, and then it could be up to a half hour before they returned. They were not familiar with the bar menu in regards to non-alcoholic drinks, but if you ordered the daily special or a beer, they knew those. I ordered the same exact non-alcoholic drink 3 different days and got a different drink each time. Only the first one was as described in the bar menu. Entertainment: one of the biggest disappointments. Our previous HAL cruises had wonderful, quality shows, and entertainment. This cruise had one musical show that actually played 2 nights, a comedian whose show lasted all of 45 minutes and he played entirely off the first row of the audience, and didn't seem to have an act other than that. There was a magician who also had a short show. One evening was actually BBC photos shown on a screen along with the orchestra type music. BB King's was always packed as there wasn't much else going on. Their sets were short with frequent breaks. The dueling pianos were stuck in the hallway next to the Casino and very loud. The male singer/player was OK, but the woman singer was definitely not the caliber of entertainers we had seen previously. We miss the other piano bar. There really wasn't much to do in the evenings, the casino games were not as plentiful or entertaining, no place to dance, no Karaoke or guest involved activities such as games etc. No pool games during the day. We did appreciate the movies in the cabin, as this is the first cruise we have spent any amount of time in there! Normally there is so much going on, we just shower, change and sleep there. Years ago, they did away with the Hal Cats- the live music at the pools, but last cruise they did have a steel drum player. This cruise nothing. There was some DJ played music during sail aways, and on St. Patrick's Day, but not the same atmosphere at all. My husband did attend the Windows Workshops which he enjoys, but he was very disappointed to find the last one (that we came back from Half Moon Cay early for) was cancelled. No notice, just a hand written sign on the door when he got there. We were very disappointed that the Sea View Aft pool is no longer Adult only! The pool and the hot tubs were crowded with kids even though the signage stated children needed to be accompanied by and adult. They weren't! Young boys were throwing a Nerf football and running and jumping, splashing and such every day. Small children were in the pool with arm floaties on with no adult with them. We asked several times for ship staff to do something, but they just shrugged their shoulders and did nothing. We seldom ate in the Lido- the different stations mostly featured ethnic food choices, other than deli sandwiches and the salad bar, not much for american cuisine. We actually felt like we were a minority in this area! Sushi, Thai, Chinese, etc. There was always a long line for the ice cream station, and our friends stated that on other cruise lines, it is set up differently so it doesn't cause a clog in the Lido line movement. We noticed a distinct difference in the menu offerings in the main dining room as well. The line for the Dive In hamburger stand was extremely long, but we attributed this to the large number of children onboard -225 we were told. Though we cruise this same week every time, we have never encountered this many children on board our cruises. The ship doesn't have all the water slides, and bells and whistles other kid-friendly ships have, so I'm sure the kids were bored as well. We had originally had fixed dining at 8 p.m. some of our party didn't want to eat that late so approx a month before sailing I called Seattle and relinquished our fixed seating and they assured me we could make dinner reservations "at any time". They advised we make 2 days at a time, as we boarded. As soon as we were in our cabin, we called to make dinner reservations for 7:00 p.m.. We were told that reservations were only for 5:45 and 7:45 p.m. We were told to go to the diningroom at 7:00 and get in line. We did get a table around 7 that first night. However, we didn't leave until 2 1/2 hours later! 4 other tables around us sat, ordered and ate before we got our entrees. We also had requested 2 Birthday desserts for that evening for the birthdays in our party. They never arrived. We missed the show that first night, and advised the Dining room manager and thru the app Navigator about our issues. The Diningroom manager more than made up for the first night the rest of the week and other than my getting an allergic reaction to Cilantro, the rest of our dining experience was good! We were surprised to see shrimp cocktail only offered one evening and none of the cold soups we had loved on previous cruises. Also, no baked Alaska, no chocolate extravaganza or parade of the diningroom staff. In all our HAL cruises, we have never encountered the issues we had on this cruise! We saw our cabin steward 2X - after leaving a note for him. The woman in Guest Relations was not pleasant and not helpful in anyway. She seemed peeved that I asked for the drink charges to be compared/reviewed, and that I questioned an onboard credit that wasn't showing. There seemed to be far less staff than previously, and those that are there have more cabins to care for, more guests to serve. It seems HAL is cutting corners in all the wrong places. I think passengers would be willing to pay the going rate for the quality of service we used to receive. This is the first cruise we have been on, where I didn't feel like I was a special guest of Holland America. We were unable to attend the Mariner's luncheon as it conflicted with 2 other events we wanted to attend. Previously, we have received our HAL tiles in our cabin. This cruise nothing. We had saved up for our cruise, we have to fly down from Vermont, and it was my first vacation in 2 years. Though we enjoyed the ports, our friends and the fun we made ourselves, it was not the typical Holland America experience for us. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Ship was dated and not attractive. Very crowded because it was spring break so lesson for me don't cruise the Caribbean during the March/April time frame. Cabin was verandah on the 8th deck and noise came from decks above and ... Read More
Ship was dated and not attractive. Very crowded because it was spring break so lesson for me don't cruise the Caribbean during the March/April time frame. Cabin was verandah on the 8th deck and noise came from decks above and below us. Complained to HAL since I asked if this would be noisy and was assured no prior to booking - gave me a $150 credit when I complained. Cabin was not cleaned properly prior to our arrival - bathroom floor was nasty. Noisy and dirty cabin. Entertainment and activities were minimal. The same Planet Earth has been on every HAL cruise I have taken in the past two years. Service in the Dining room was great. Dining was good but small portions. Ports OK - Half Moon Cay was great but Amber Cove was a disappointment. Will not be sailing HAL for awhile. Used to be great - this cruise was a wake up call that the line is not keeping up its previous standards. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
My wife and I are 3* HAL loyalists. We have gone a winter Caribbean cruise every year for the last 25 years or so. Over the last 15 years we have only sailed on HAL as we enjoy the traditional cruising style of HAL as opposed to the ... Read More
My wife and I are 3* HAL loyalists. We have gone a winter Caribbean cruise every year for the last 25 years or so. Over the last 15 years we have only sailed on HAL as we enjoy the traditional cruising style of HAL as opposed to the mega-ship vibe. We chose the Oosterdam western cruise this year. Have not been on the Oosterdam previously but have been on Zuiderdam and most classes of HAL ships over the years. For the first time we were disappointed in HAL. We were on the March 2 sailing. We splurged for a Neptune Suite. Embarkation was a breeze. It was probably 15 minutes from Lyft ride to boarding the ship. The ship itself was impeccable. Our suite was in perfect condition. Here is a list of our disappointments: 1. Food - we had fixed dining 2nd seating. As always the service was great. I have always defended HAL's food quality over the years - but not this time. Examples included a pepper pot soup that consisted of over cooked bits of yesterdays short ribs covered by a dilute beef broth. A cat fish fillet that you could find in your Krogers frozen food section in a box and the fillet part of my "surf and turf" was an embarrassment - must have 3 oz and a hamburger patty would have been more flavorful. 2. $10 surcharge - My wife wanted the veal chop the night of the surf and turf but asked for a lobster tail to go with it. We were charged $10 for an "extra entree". Really? Felt like a slap in the face. 3. Promenade deck - we enjoy our walks around the deck. 90% of the time it was closed off for some maintenance such that you could not circle it completely. 4. Food - back to food: no chilled soups, no smoke fish, no baked Alaska. HAL food seems to be becoming very homogenized and bland 5. Shore excursions: overpriced as usual. The one we took in MoBay included being jammed into a small minibus to the point where I had to sit on a jump seat for an hour. The advertised 4 hour trip to a plantation house took us 6 hours. 6. Ports of call: why do they stop at Montego Bay anyway? Absolutely nothing to do there that did not involve and excursion. Cayman was cancelled. Cozumel - tourist trap. 7. Entertainment: there was no mainstage entertainment the first night out. No production shows. On the plus side, the crew and waitstaff were as friendly and gracious as always. The ship was in impeccable condition. The Lincoln Center shows and BB King were excellent. The America's Test Kitchen was great HAL seems to be getting rid of the things that made them different. With declining food quality and never ending surcharges, we are thinking about doing something different next year rather than a HAL cruise. And we are sad about that. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
I was so disappointed with this cruise on the Oosterdam. Have been on many Holland America cruises, but this was the worst. We had a signature suite (8091). The toilet did not flush for 5 days. Called for a plumber 6 times and had to ... Read More
I was so disappointed with this cruise on the Oosterdam. Have been on many Holland America cruises, but this was the worst. We had a signature suite (8091). The toilet did not flush for 5 days. Called for a plumber 6 times and had to wait on many occasions. Passenger service desk would place the call on hold for minutes at a time when water was coming over the top of toilet and we never put anything in it. we used bags for our paper and placed it in the wastebasket. The shower had mold. The carpets in cabins were old and dirty. The food was mediocre at best. Pinnacle grill was another upsetting evening. food was served cold and the crab legs were few to be had. The desert tasted old and like refrigeration. such a disappointment. the sea view pool was out of commission for 10 of our 14 days due to a malfunctioning pump. The ship needs another dry dock and bad. such a disappointment. not sure I can cruise Holland again. Have been on Carnival and Princess recently and I must say that they are way above Holland. The staff were friendly for the most part ,but passenger services just did not care about any issues that we had. Holland has a long way to come to make this right. Our cabin stewards were excellent, but the two of them had 29 cabins. unreal!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We tookk the cruise as we got a fabulous rate for our suite for three. We had drink pack for 2. paid taxes and grats for 2 and 1 nite dinner at specialty.we padi tax and grats and din for son. The cruise had a more diverse age group ... Read More
We tookk the cruise as we got a fabulous rate for our suite for three. We had drink pack for 2. paid taxes and grats for 2 and 1 nite dinner at specialty.we padi tax and grats and din for son. The cruise had a more diverse age group than usual. Te cruise line attracts seniors but this date had more folk younger. The activity choices were AWFUL. If you like Bingo and Mahjong you were in paradise. Limited ne class for exercise and a handful of day activiies which included shore excursion lectures etc. Very discouraging. The food choices were POOR but the prep averaged a "C". The sommeliers encouraged drink pack holders to get bottles of wine NOT included on package(I knew that) and purchasing 15 dollar glasses of wine. It would be O but it was unrelentless no matter whether MD anytime dinign etc.Discouraging! Not once. twice but three times our beverage bill was charged for a drink at Billboard lounge their addition nest to casino.It was corrected bu once should have been enough.we played trivia theer daily as ONE thing we could do when NOT in a port. Billboard dueling pian disappointing. Talented pianists but their voices less than average. The BB King lounge FAB> Many empty seats at ALl shows .Troupe there was Hopping and Popping and WOW. The quartet in the lincoln lounge was extraordinary.Kudos to each musician and their professional talents and presentations. Yuo were a gleaming beam on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We were going on a family vacation with twelve people in 7 cabins including 4 teenagers and wantedall ages to have fun. The ship’s public spaces were tired looking and needed repairs. The breakfast, lunch and pool areas were ... Read More
We were going on a family vacation with twelve people in 7 cabins including 4 teenagers and wantedall ages to have fun. The ship’s public spaces were tired looking and needed repairs. The breakfast, lunch and pool areas were understaffed. Our cabin had ongoing problems with the shower that they could not seem to fix. We could not use our cabin for 3 days while they were trying to fix old plumbing and so we could not relax in our cabin during the day. The management shrugged their shoulders at our discomfort. When we wrote to the head of Holland America after the cruise, they said we had a minor inconvenience and offered us 4 bottles of wine and an upgrade on a future cruise. No one ever said “sorry”. We will never sail on Holland America again. To us, it was not minor. We spent a substantial amount of money taking our family away and expected a relaxing, good quality cruise, not what felt like being on a cargo ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
People and service were good to great.however the food and entertainment were weak at best. There were never this many kids aboard and many parents did not control them and allowed for them to run on the dance floor at BB Kings. Both my ... Read More
People and service were good to great.however the food and entertainment were weak at best. There were never this many kids aboard and many parents did not control them and allowed for them to run on the dance floor at BB Kings. Both my husband and I were ill from the food one night. Despite earning another Mariner star for loyalty this will probably be my last Dam cruise Because of weather we missed one port. It was my favorite port too as I had purchased a new scuba mask. I understand that for safety measures we could not tender but there were no real interesting options on board. Holland is owned by the Carnival enterprise and is taking on a lot of its character. Drinking is heavily pushed and the serene elegance of former days is gone. Gala night had men dressed in short sleeve shirts with women in all different types of garb. A dinner companion commented that this now reminded her of Holiday Inn. Some people just don't know how to act in polite situations too. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We sailed on the Oosterdam in December 2018 for 7 days. This was the quietest trip we have ever been on. We aren't looking for a huge party, but a little activity around the pool would be good. It was about as exciting as being at a ... Read More
We sailed on the Oosterdam in December 2018 for 7 days. This was the quietest trip we have ever been on. We aren't looking for a huge party, but a little activity around the pool would be good. It was about as exciting as being at a funeral home. The food was only ok, the entertainment in the theater wasn't great. The best part of the trip was going to B.B. King's and watching the All Stars play. They were great! The ship itself is old and looks a little dated. The ceilings in almost all the hallways are low, which makes it look dark. The pool area is well organized and well layed out, there just isn't much going on around there. The specialty steak restaurant was fairly good. The food in the main dining room was very average. I would only recommend going on a Holland cruise if you are looking for absolute peace and quiet. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We picked this cruise to celabrate my wifes birthday and to enjoy the relaxing ports of call. We are currently a 3star mariner status. We have not been on a Holland ship since 2012. This was the second time on the Oosterdam over ... Read More
We picked this cruise to celabrate my wifes birthday and to enjoy the relaxing ports of call. We are currently a 3star mariner status. We have not been on a Holland ship since 2012. This was the second time on the Oosterdam over the years. Very disappointed in the food quality in the dinning room. Average variety of selections on menu, just not much flavour in any of the meals. Dining room service... As you wish dining, in the evening was the worst we have had in 22 cruises...will not rebook with Holland America. Good service in all bar areas that we visited with friendly staff. Most evenings, coffee or tea never offered. Entertainment, wasn't worth going to the lounge, yet another disappointment. Didn't use the pools but other commented water was lovely and warm. Used and enjoyed the Dry Sauna but very small and only approx 4 to 5 can enjoy at one time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Never take a back to back cruise again. The evening entertainment was almost identical on both of the voyage legs. Watching a video in the main theatre while an orchestra played is not our idea of "entertainment" on a cruise ... Read More
Never take a back to back cruise again. The evening entertainment was almost identical on both of the voyage legs. Watching a video in the main theatre while an orchestra played is not our idea of "entertainment" on a cruise ship, Could have stayed home and watched it on some TV or You Tube channel. The comedienne, while being good, repeated her act on second week. Other cruise lines can do a 14 - 15 day trans Atlantic cruise and never repeat the entertainment. The service in the deck 2 dining room was terrible. 2 hours to get an evening meal??? and not much better at breakfast. Laying carpet in the common areas during the day was a total inconvenience to the passengers. This could easily have been done during the night, or could the workers not work the night shift? The embarkation process really sucks. Being held in a large room until your number is called is not a welcoming experience after you have had a long day of travel. Most of the above concerns were also voiced by other passengers. WE have been on many cruises but this has been our worst experience. This was our first cruise with Holland America and will probably be our last with that cruise line. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
As a seasoned traveler, I was always under the impression that Holland America was a cut above other mid-tier cruise lines like NCL and Carnival, justifying HAL's higher fares. Based on my experience on the Oosterdam Mediterranean ... Read More
As a seasoned traveler, I was always under the impression that Holland America was a cut above other mid-tier cruise lines like NCL and Carnival, justifying HAL's higher fares. Based on my experience on the Oosterdam Mediterranean cruise July 23-Aug 4, I would have to say that this assumption is totally incorrect. My major complaint? I was in a balcony cabin, 8134, that had a completely inadequate air conditioning system. During the day, there was virtually no air coming through the vent but at 2-3am frigid air would begin to pour out. My complaint to customer services on the very first day brought a response of "keep your drapes closed." Service technicians tinkered with it but there was absolutely no improvement. When I continued to complain they brought me a box fan!!! Really? I paid a premium for a balcony cabin and I'm expected to keep the drapes closed and use a 1960s era box fan to keep cool? Outrageous. To add insult to injury, there were disgusting black particles being released out of the air conditioning vent all over the bed. The first few days I came down with a bronchial infection and hacking cough that I still have to this day. If you read through Oosterdam's reviews on this site, you'll see that air conditioning issues are mentioned quite frequently. HAL must know that this ship has air conditioning problems but they are so unconcerned with their customers' health and comfort they refuse to spend the money to repair or replace the system. Shame on you, HAL. They gave me a whopping $400 credit as compensation for my discomfort, inconvenience and compromised health. This amount was completely inadequate given that I did not have a decent night's sleep in 12 days and, in effect, the entire $5000 cruise was ruined. Here are some of my other observations: -Embarcation in Barcelona was easy and efficient. The Barcelona cruiseport is lovely- spacious, well lit and plenty of seating. We arrived at 11:30am and were in the cabin by 12:15. Disembarcation also was efficient with a time slot assigned for departure that allowed you to stay in your cabin until the designated time. -The ship is on the small side but none of the public venues seemed crowded (except the Lido on sea days.) In fact, the Mainstage theatre and smaller music venues were never even close to capacity. - We took 3 HAL excursions. One was very good and two were all right. All were VERY expensive. The EXC staff conduct interesting port talks before each port but they are at inconvenient times. It's beyond me why HAL doesn't videotape them and make them available on TV in the cabins. -The cabin is strangely configured with the closets jutting out into the hallway across from the bathroom creating a very narrow, dark passageway into the room. Balcony was a decent size with room for two lounge chairs and a small table. Balcony furniture was old and dirty. -The ship is showing its age with ugly, patched, mismatched carpet throughout. -The pool on the Lido deck is tiny and was always occupied by large groups of unsupervised youngsters. -Food generally was mediocre and some of it inedible (e.g., a tenderloin steak that was so tough it couldn't be cut into.) Service in both the Lido and main dining room was fine. - As I mentioned above, excursions are very expensive as is the alcohol beverage package. Some of the excursions were cancelled due to lack of participants. I'm sure if HAL priced their excursions more reasonably, they could sell a lot more of them. -The ship docked in some very inconvenient locations requiring either a tender or an expensive shuttle bus into town. I guess they dock so far out to save port fees. Again, HAL prioritizes profit above their customers' convenience. -Entertainment was generally very good. The musicians in BB King lounge, Lincoln Center and Mainstage were all outstanding as were the guest performers. But not so much the shrieky, out of key male and female singers/piano players in Billboard on Board. There isn't a lot of room for dancing in any of the music venues. Overall, I will never cruise with HAL again. They charge premium prices but, in my opinion, did not deliver a premium experience. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We had traveled on Holland America before and whilst disappointed decided to try the Oosterdam as it had been recently re furbished. Check in was good but then nobody to direct or show you to your cabin. The cabin was good and ... Read More
We had traveled on Holland America before and whilst disappointed decided to try the Oosterdam as it had been recently re furbished. Check in was good but then nobody to direct or show you to your cabin. The cabin was good and furnishings excellent. Before dinner we looked for a nice comfortable bar to have a drink but found there were none. The Crows Nest bar, normally a feature was terrible and looked just a kids play area. A couple of other bars badly furnished with hard timber floors. Restaurant menu very limited and food very average. Specialty restaurants very expensive. USD49.50 pp too much for us. Shows in the main theater were excellent but the Cruise Director almost non existent. Itinerary to the Greek Islands excellent but ship's Shore Excursions way too expensive. Did one and it was so badly handled and expensive we cancelled all others. Ship lacks personality. Hardly saw and ships officers. Cruise Director a disaster. Never again on Holland America. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
As a 4 star mariner (loyalty level), I was very disappointed in the small changes that have occurred to HAL over the last 5 to 10 years. I have come to expect a better experience and was just disappointed by the food quality and generally, ... Read More
As a 4 star mariner (loyalty level), I was very disappointed in the small changes that have occurred to HAL over the last 5 to 10 years. I have come to expect a better experience and was just disappointed by the food quality and generally, employees that just were doing their job. There were a couple of employees that were outstanding, but overall, they had already left for the day. The food quality has decreased, even in the Pinnacle which is more expensive and has less offerings. Attempted to eat in the dining room with any time dining, but if you don't have a set reservation time on the first day. You will wait. The hydro spa was broken for 2 days, no refund. Offered a leg massage instead. I did not go on any excursions. I have found in the past that generally the ships tours are overpriced, crowded and slow. The entertainment at night has increased, but it all seems to be at the same time. Signature of excellence (last slogan) has died. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Be prepared if you expect luxury because my comparison of this ship is that it was more like a passenger ferry than a cruise ship.--I just wrote to Holland America to explain my decision to leave the ship on day five of a seven day ... Read More
Be prepared if you expect luxury because my comparison of this ship is that it was more like a passenger ferry than a cruise ship.--I just wrote to Holland America to explain my decision to leave the ship on day five of a seven day itinerary, A little history on me--I have done about thirty five cruises, three previously with Holland America on the Nieuw Amsterdam, Koningsdam and Eurodam--these ships were beautiful. When I booked the Oosterdam, I thought I would have a similar ship to the Eurodam (which I only did four months ago) but was shocked at the state of it: on my of my facebook postings, I stated "I am on a ship a few sailings away from the scrapyard" and it was not an exaggeration. The crew were exceptional in trying to maintain the cleanliness but there comes a point that the effort to keep up an appearance is all in vain, which was the case here, and I feel so bad for those hard working people. Unlike the other ships that had nice light, warm inviting colours, one entered into this one facing dark, drab maroon and blue--very 70s retro. As I walked down the hall to my cabin what was the most noticeable was the smell of dampness, then looking at the carpets, on most all decks, they were water stained. Not little ones here or there but the stains were making their own pattern in the carpets! The room--same drab colours, a couch that was threadbare and the arm rest black (mixed into the maroon) with dirt, the bathtub so worn that my initial reaction to all the nicks was a slight heart palpitation because I thought they were insects. The water temperature in the shower never got above luke-warm, the light fixture behind the bed was broken, about to fall off, one light needed replacing and the coffee table lever was broken so it was left in the highest position. To me it felt like the ship must be on a scheduled dry-dock sometime soon because all effort to make it look somewhat presentable was gone. Others on board seemed to enjoy it, and I am glad they could make the most of it, but with all these cruises under my belt, I felt the need to place this review for a) frequent cruisers like myself who have a certain expectation of cleanliness and a small standard of basic working order of things and b) for those who might be spending hard earned money for a first-time cruise---my advice, do another ship or wait to see if this one ever gets upgraded. In Cabos I went to the Walmart there to buy more cleaning supplies to try to get that "dirty" feeling out of my room but by Mazatlan, I knew that I could not do those last two days at sea, researched the contract, confirmed with the ship that I could depart in PV and that is what I did. I booked a hotel in PV, new flights up to my final vacation destination and set the wheels in motion. Note--if one chooses to go this option, expect a change in attitude from the front desk staff from sweet and polite to rather blunt. Further, when I first inquired as to being allowed to stay on-board until noon I was told no problem but by 7pm on the last night, a letter arrived to my room informing me that at 7:45 am the following morning I must report to the Immigration officers on-board with my luggage (normal procedure) but I had to depart the ship immediately after---there went the welcome. Too add insult to injury, they did not even communicate my departure with the security officers on Deck A so after I cleared the Mexican Customs on board, the security staff still pulled me to one side to "verify" that I was allowed to leave. I had a few choice words for them on that topic. The ports I have been to before---San Diego, to begin is a beautiful city and I will go there again. The first sea day, and on Western based cruises this is to be expected, it was freezing and wet! Cabos uses tenders so be prepared for a bit of a line-up to get on one unless you have an excursion. Coming back close to noon a very intoxicated woman sat next to me and practically passed out on my shoulder going back to the ship--I had to wonder how much she drank so early in the morning?! Mazatlan, though it did not have a tendering system because it was docked at a cargo port, meant that one still had to wait for little shuttle trolleys to take passengers from the ship to the cruise building. The town itself was lovely and I took the local bus over to the hotel zone to find a Starbucks to get a coffee and good wireless. The malecon in Mazatlan is miles long and very scenic--loved it. PV--I have been there many times on land vacations and though the ship docks close to the hotel zone and 7 peso bus ride can take anyone into the historic part in about 20 mins for each direction. Overall, I would use Holland America again, especially one of the past three ships I enjoyed, but the lesson I learned this time, even after all my cruises is that any future cruise I take, I have to research the ship more closely, in particular--the date it was built and when it was refurbished! Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
This was our 4th HAL cruise and about our 40th cruise overall. We have been fortunate to have done of the worlds best cruises itineraries all over the world. We started cruising in our 40s and have done as many as two a year. For reference ... Read More
This was our 4th HAL cruise and about our 40th cruise overall. We have been fortunate to have done of the worlds best cruises itineraries all over the world. We started cruising in our 40s and have done as many as two a year. For reference most of our cruises have been on Celebrity, but our more recent cruises on Azamara (4), Celebrity (2), Oceania (1) HAL (2) and Crystal (1).. This last cruise was the 18 day San Diego - Hawaii departing in January 2018. Overall this cruise was a major disappointment and joined the unenviable list of the other (1) cruise when i could not wait to exit the gangway and go home. Only our 3 week trip on the QEII (2006) was worse taken the year before it was decommissioned and Cunard's maintenance had stopped completely and the crew was ready to split. Overall headlines of my review - HAL manages to the dollar not to customer satisfaction. Every aspect of the cruise had been subject to clear value engineering to provide the minimum possible - While most visible areas (save one) were well maintained, cabin decks showed serious neglect and were shabby and under-maintained. - Staff were courteous but had minimal training and management - Chef clearly had no interest in how food tasted Ship The ship info claimed that it had been refit in 2016. Its clear that that is meant to mean "some areas". Main areas looked fairly fresh and some very fresh, but it was also easy to find ripped carpets on stairs, major dings, scrapes and significant and visible defacement in elevators. My sleeping deck was dingy, had marred up walls and stained carpets. Major odors were present and attendants continually spayed deodorizer. The ship was full and apparently with the additions of more cabins always felt crowded. The most obvious and in your face issue was the condition of the exterior deck chairs. Decrepit, stained, torn and broken..... any Hotel Manager or Ship Captain who saw this should have been ashamed. Ratty, torn, broken dirty. No self respecting Holiday Inn would have put these out. So dirty we had to cover them with towels. Disgusting. Cabin Our cabin 1007 was on the Main deck. The room was satisfactory. Bedding was of good quality and we slept well, room was quiet. Entertainment system featured many very good moves (free) and was well past expectation (a blessing on this cruise). Walls were dirty in some places and appeared to need heavy scrubbing. Water in sink would often run only hot (scalding) from the COLD water side? Metal baseboard trip near bed was missing and sharp edge cut my wife's foot. Dining Lido and main dining room food was 75% tasteless and ranged from horrible to good (on occasion). Lido lunch was repetitive and tasteless. Pizza was below the level of frozen from the Safeway. Highlights were fresh made omelettes were great and Dive in burgers were very good. Dining room served me a piece of prime (?) rib that was perhaps the worst piece of meat I had ever encountered. It was not cut-able and looked like something that should have become hamburger. Any food service professional should have deemed this best for the trash can. Highlight was dinner at the extra cost Italian restaurant where the food was very good to terrific. It is well worth the modest fee of $15 (discounted for loyalty classes). Really good and competitive with more expensive cruise lines. We did not try Pinnacle as the $35 surcharge was too high for my expectations of value. Mixed drinks were measured to the drop and I judged them as a poor value. Beers at about $7 ++ are over priced. We found that their supply of keg beer was never delivered at the onset of the cruise (hard to believe) so advertised draft been was unavailable. Likewise 20% of the wine choices in the mid-level wine package were unavailable even at the onset. Entertaiment Main stage was fine, but had many seats with impaired visibility (posts). Only some seats had a table if you buy a drink or bring one. Dance shows were very good quality and I applaud HAL for not doing yet another "salute to Broadway". Very enjoyable. Other entertainment was bad to good. Comedian doing simplistic and worn fat cruise ship jokes and grade school puns got me heading out the door. Another asking "have you ever seen someone make a dog out of balloon" left me also running for the door. Variety pianist was talented and entertaining as was the Sax player. Enrichment speaker was presenting a standard presentation and was not an expert. She simply learned a presentation. Highlights were the Lincoln Center stings which put on superb classical and popular concerts curated for HAL. This was terrific quality. however the room was uncomfortable and always crowded. Passengers sometimes came in an hour early and slept in the chairs to hold seats. Chairs were uncomfortable at best. It seemed at odds with all the minimal things HAL put forward on this ship to see something of such over the top quality. Kudos to HAL for getting something very, very right. Cruise Director was amateur level and added no value. Service HAL's people displayed good attitudes and were always friendly. Find a good waiter in the DR and you will get good service for a cruise at this price point, but quality varies greatly. Maitre D's were very good, learned our names and tried to get us to the waiter we preferred. Generally though service staff for meals had minimal skills and training. Dishes often not collected, had to beg for coffee and many times we would see them chatting with their peers and not working. On more than one occasion I was given morning OJ that had clearly set out for a very long time and was room temperature. What are they thinking? Ports and Shore excursions Hawaiian ports were routine. Major problems occurred at Lahaina on Maui where the re boarding of the ship via tender took nearly 1 1/2 hours. We heard via rumor that it was due to the local Harbor Master but the ship never explained nor did they take the opportunity to set any expectation before we boarded the tenders to go ashore that the re-boading was going to be problematic due to local procedures. HAL is not a premium or luxury line and had no expectations that it was. But the obvious cost cutting, deferred maintenance and fair service were below their advertised value proposition. This will be my last cruise on Holland America. You can get more for the money from Celebrity and probably several others. This is the last HAL for me. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
I'd sailed happily on the Westerdam last year 5 times to Mexico, but its sister ship was disappointing. The crew seems to be dispirited and bored, more interested in chatting with their fellow Filipinos or Indonesians instead of with ... Read More
I'd sailed happily on the Westerdam last year 5 times to Mexico, but its sister ship was disappointing. The crew seems to be dispirited and bored, more interested in chatting with their fellow Filipinos or Indonesians instead of with passengers. The Explorations Cafe barista is downright surly, with never a smile or a thank you, something I've never seen on Holland before. After 3 cruises on Carnival in the past month, greeted in the dining room by charming hostesses from 5 different countries, it was disappointing to see nothing but male Indonesians on Holland. My image of the dining room went to zero when I went to use the restroom next to the dining room one morning, only to be chased away by security, who had a table set up stacked with urine sample bottles. There was also a line-up of miserable-looking crew waiting to be drug tested. Has anyone ever seen drug testing done in a public area of a hotel, restaurant, or any other business? Would you continue patronizing a restaurant that would display to patrons urine jars at its entrance? Well, I'm not, I cancelled the 3 other Holland cruises I had scheduled this Spring. The second big fail was having surly contractors close off sections of the promenade outside deck for the entire cruise, from 8-6, so nobody could do laps, run, or relax, without having to turn around and go the other way. Several days they closed off sections on both sides, including 10 minutes before the charity walk they do on the last sea day. There was apparently no oversight of these contractors and no attempt to balance desires of the passengers to enjoy unimpeded access to the promenade versus their maintenance needs--on other ships they saved major maintenance work for port days. Everyone on the ship acted and sounded bored, from the lifeless cruise director on down. The same singers and dancers were doing the same dull, plotless shows I saw 6 months ago on an Alaska cruise (why can't cruise lines do like Norwegian and Vegas and put on 1-hour versions of Broadway shows?) As usual on Holland, the only people who were truly friendly were the Lido servers and the room stewards, along with the jolly captain, bragging about the beautiful, elegant Oosterdam (well, other than the bottles of pee outside the dining room). It's definitely a shock going back to Holland after Carnival. Mobility carts everywhere, older couples bickering like George Costanza's parents everywhere. Despite the tattoos and trashiness of Carnival, I think I had more fun there, the crew seemed to enjoy life more, there was music everywhere (not the corporatized piano duo and classical quartet playing the same programs on every cruise), and Carnival fulfills what it promises, whereas Holland just seems to project faux elegance to gloss over its money-grabbing and upselling. The lack of crew diversity and gender equality is disappointing (if you're not a male Indonesian you can't work as a dining room server or room steward). With every activity on Holland now tied to some corporate partnership, everything is now standardized, so I'll see the same piano and classical programs, the same cooking demonstrations and Oprah/BBC lectures on every Holland cruise, so there's nothing new or original. More and more Lido and outside deck space is being closed off by cabanas that I've never seen anyone use (even the airlines aren't stupid enough to try to raise money by putting a tent cover over a seat--at least not yet). Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
This cruise was booked at the last minute based on a great deal. Since I was able to get a flight from ATL on points, it was a very inexpensive week long vacation. No one was able to take the time for the week, so I cruised solo. My ... Read More
This cruise was booked at the last minute based on a great deal. Since I was able to get a flight from ATL on points, it was a very inexpensive week long vacation. No one was able to take the time for the week, so I cruised solo. My flight arrived early into FLL and I took a cab to the port. I arrived by 10am and was onboard by 11am. The rooms were ready and I was able to drop off my hand carried items and head to the lido deck for lunch. The food was plentiful and diverse. I was able to get something to eat and found a table. Since this was the first day of the cruise, I overlooked that the staff was lacking enthusiasm. I got up to refill my drink and went to explore the ship. Since I am a smoker, I went to the aft pool deck to see the area. It was set up with comfortable chairs tables and lots of ashtrays. The crew that worked the bar and kept this area clean were great and did a wonderful job throughout the week. My cabin was a verandah on the back of the ship. It was small but clean and well maintained. The room would only cool with the curtains closed and the air set way down. The balcony was deep and included two lounge chairs and a small table. During the week, Ron, the room steward, did a fantastic job of keeping the room clean and providing a different towel animal each night. I accidently locked myself out of my room one day and he immediately came to my aid to let me in. He remembered my name from the first day and was always greeting me with a smile. The interactive TV's were a great addition. It's always nice to watch a movie without having to run to Guest Services. The MDR was hit or miss with service. On several nights, the wait staff seemed to just go through the paces, getting orders wrong and not asking about coffee/tea after the meal. There seemed to be a somber, uncaring mood throughout the MDR. The food was good and the choices were plentiful. The Test Kitchen shows were great. I miss that they do not hand out samples as I have seen on other HAL ships, especially when everything looked so appetizing. The movies in the theater were good, but don't try the popcorn. It is stale. It was my understanding that this cruise had changed itineraries several times due to the hurricanes affecting the ports. I heard from many that they missed Puerto Rico and was disappointed that they were not going. Since I booked late, the ship went to St. Thomas, Punta Cana, Amber Cove and their private island. St. Thomas was not ready for ships to come in, yet they welcomed the monies that we could bring. Walking around was depressing and damage was still very visible. It is sad to learn that the island first got the port ready, was working on Charlotte Amalie second and the people in the outlying areas would be last to be recovered. Since many of the people rely on tourists, it was bitter sweet for them that we arrived. Amber Cove was functional as well. We arrived alongside a Carnival ship and the port was packed. What I found off was that Carnival had many more and varied excursions that they lined up for. The offering from HAL was minimal. It would have been nice to have booked a fishing trip as an excursion. Punta Cana was the worst. The excursion "Tastes of Punta Cana" was terrible. We were brought by bus to a compound with several buildings. Each building had a small table handing out samples of what you could buy inside. The excursion was not as advertised. The tour guide was not very knowledgeable and ignored those with questions. Half Moon Cay did not appear affected by the hurricanes and was as perfect as always. I had a problem with my beverage card not being used and charges were being put on my room card. I had gone to Guest Services and was told it would be taken care of. It was not. I had to go back and explain it all over again. If the first person with whom I spoke didn't know what to do, they should have just said so. Not to do anything at all or having forgotten is inexcusable. Anytime I'm on the water is it a good cruise. I met some very nice people and had a good time with them. The feel of the ship was off. It was nothing I could put my finger on, not knowing if it was a new staff trying to work on a new ship, or just poor attitudes it did not stop me from enjoying myself. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
My wife and I are both retired and have been taking yearly cruise for a number of years. We are 3 Star Mariners and this was number 8 with HAL. Last year, we did our second, end of season Alaska cruise with HAL, out of Vancouver on the ... Read More
My wife and I are both retired and have been taking yearly cruise for a number of years. We are 3 Star Mariners and this was number 8 with HAL. Last year, we did our second, end of season Alaska cruise with HAL, out of Vancouver on the Noordam, which was a great trip. We like Holland America because of the older, more seasoned travelers on board and a very high percentage are return cruisers. This years cruise on the Oosterdam was nothing like any of the other HAL ships we have been on. This also was the biggest ship we have been on at 1,975 passengers and ONLY a crew of 800. Our big complaint this time was the food! On the Lido deck, It was unimaginative for the most part, often poorly cooked and in no way up to the standard of past cruises. In short it was very pedestrian. It seemed that there fewer serving station and the number of choices was lacking. Also, there were fewer staff on the floor and we had to get our own coffee,water most of the time. Dirty dishes were everywhere and most of the staff was to busy trying to sell soft drinks and wine to do anything else. There were no trays, so we had to make trips for juice, salads & desserts. There were hardly any orchids on the tables as well. Most had missing flowers and empty stems. Last year every table had one. The main dinning room seemed to serve mostly the same food as the Lido and service was slower this time. If this is to be the new normal for the HAL ships, we will not be returning. In fairness, we did eat at the Pinnacles which was outstanding as always. And, also the Dive In, at the to the Lido pool, which has great hamburgers. Last year we did have the Signature Drink Package for the 7 days and enjoyed it very much. In looking it over for this trip, we discovered that many of the drink prices had been raised to $8.25, which is 25 cents over the price limit for the package.!! So, we only went to Happy Hour once. They no longer serve mixed nuts and if you want any appetizers, good luck! I hate to be so negative here, but the fact is, everything seemed to be cheapened down and there was way more 'up selling' going on then on past voyages. We were very much looking forward to becoming 4 Star Mariners, but, now I fear that won't happen. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
The Good: AMAZING FOOD Pinnacle Grill The Band Art Gallery Personnel Had the Norovirus hit on the Ship and their Containment Procedures and protective processes was Great. THE BAD: > No Proactive Wait Staff > ... Read More
The Good: AMAZING FOOD Pinnacle Grill The Band Art Gallery Personnel Had the Norovirus hit on the Ship and their Containment Procedures and protective processes was Great. THE BAD: > No Proactive Wait Staff > No wait staff to keep your beverages full. I had to get up 2/3rds of my time to get refills or get served which meant I had to get in line and wait at the Bar. > No wait staff to clear dirty dishes as you visit with your family. Traveling with my niece and nephew meant teenagers who eat a ton, so we always had empty dishes piled up on our tables. Only when we asked (when we found someone) did they finally clear. > Main dining room took 3 different people to receive milk for Dinner. Had to contact supervisor to get milk. Also, my niece asked to get an extra salad and the guy stated "Not right now I'm too busy". So apparently he was the only guy working our table? I think not. > It took until the morning of the 3rd day to Meet my Cabin Steward; he was in his closet working. > Unable to reach anyone for help in our Cabin late night; around 11:00. When we finally got a live person (after 30 mins calling around different numbers and then being on hold) asked for and extension cord and they brought a powerstrip. The did this twice. In the end, No extension cord was ever received. Reminder to bring an extension cord and Powerstrip on next Cruise. > The Burger Grill Closes after Lunch, so if you're looking for a late night burger on the deck or for dinner that is not going to happen. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
I have been cruising Holland America for many years and have watched the service and food go down hill to what I would say was second rate.On this last cruise I had no hot water for 12 out of the 14 days of the cruise. Others complained ... Read More
I have been cruising Holland America for many years and have watched the service and food go down hill to what I would say was second rate.On this last cruise I had no hot water for 12 out of the 14 days of the cruise. Others complained that their toilets would not flush for days . This was just the starter. The food was mainly institutional quality, cold and portions small. Service was limited to the crew reductions. The pools had slim on the walls becasue no one was checking the PH levels. The deck in on spot outside the Lido was bubbled up and waiting for someone to fall. There was next to no deck entertainment and the stage shows were one man. Out of 14 nights the Hal Dancers only preformed on night! I feel that the cruise director needs to learn his job. FUN!!! There was no Sail Way Parties, the music that was piped to the areas did not match the age group on board. They would provide a tour of the ship for $150. and the Culinary Arts Class you couldn't taste the food! Having been through the islands I took one overpriced 3 hour tour $59.00 to a place called Nelsons Shipyards in Antigua. We spent most of the time riding through the poverty stricken sections of Antigua and when we got to the Dockyards we spent 20 minute in what now was a high end marina. Saw a few buildings (you can't go into because they re now businesses and three capstans.. Other tours that people where offers were $39.00 to a free beach???? Not the best days for Holland America since the new management took over. Charge for everything..Hawk Hawk Hawk Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Having cruised on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruise Lines, my Husband and I decided to try Holland America. Big mistake and one that will not be repeated. We were celebrating my Husband's 75th Birthday and our 30th ... Read More
Having cruised on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruise Lines, my Husband and I decided to try Holland America. Big mistake and one that will not be repeated. We were celebrating my Husband's 75th Birthday and our 30th Anniversary. Embarkation - This was a three ring circus. People being herded here and there and not being told what was happening. Cabin - Neptune 4180 - By far the smallest Suite we have ever stayed in. Had to request that they remove 2 of the chairs so I wouldn't keep tripping over them. Shower stall was the smallest one that we have ever used and ended up using the shower in the tub. Cabin deck was very large but was dirty when we boarded and I asked that it be cleaned. It was only cleaned once for the entire cruise and even then was not the best of cleaning. Soot from the stacks was a constant problem (which is to be expected) but the least that could have been done was a daily cleaning. Of course, I walked out one morning with coffee in hand only to get a bucket of water dumped on myself from the attendant cleaning the deck upstairs (at least someone got their deck cleaned). Also a piece of equipment that is mounted on the side of the deck (which was not indicated when searching for a cabin) blocked quite a bit of our view. The constant sanding and painting and fumes from the paint (when we were in ports) did not make sitting on the deck an enjoyable experience. Dining The Main Dining room was a fiasco. People complaining of overcooked/undercooked meals, cold meals, etc. The waiters trying to satisfy these complaints only to find themselves overwhelmed. The tables were only 40-50% filled as people started going to the Lido Deck Buffet in search of better food. What is strange about this is that the meals are cooked in the same kitchen. Lido Deck - The food was good. Unfortunately service was lacking in cleaning up tables and people often cleaned the tables themselves. Cabin Attendants - Very pleasant and hard working. Ports - We did most of the ports ourselves with private tours. I did notice how unfriendly the staff was as we disembarked or embarked from the ports. Not a smile to be found and scowls if someone was too slow putting their items through the x-ray. In closing. We met a lot of great people. Enjoyed a lot of the Ports as we had not been to quite a few of them. 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

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