Sail Date: May 2019
We are back, mostly unpacked and exhausted. We have been on cruises to Alaska 4 other times, 3 of them on HAL. We picked this one since it docked in Sitka where most others do not, preferring Skagway. It was well worth it. Embarkation ... Read More
We are back, mostly unpacked and exhausted. We have been on cruises to Alaska 4 other times, 3 of them on HAL. We picked this one since it docked in Sitka where most others do not, preferring Skagway. It was well worth it. Embarkation was the easiest we have ever experienced. It all went smoothly and we were on the ship much earlier than the time we had been assigned (since we transferred from a hotel). We went right to our cabin where we found the scooter and oxygen concentrator I had ordered already in the cabin. There was more than enough room for the rented scooter, my own scooter and walking around. The Lido beckoned and lunch was good. Then, there was one hitch...the drink card I had ordered was nowhere to be found. Down to Guest Services where I was promised it would be delivered in 9-10 minutes. It wasn't. It took 2 more contacts with Guest Services before they printed it for me at the desk. The only other problem was, one evening while trying to watch a movie in the cabin, there was a pop and the electricity on one side of the room was out. There was a maintenance man at the cabin in 15 minutes and it was fixed. Probably a breaker needed to be thrown. We ate in the dining room most of the time since my husband has trouble walking and the Lido is hard on him. I found, however, that the selection was not as good as on past cruises. The food was good, just the selection was poor. The main dining room was very good although, here as well, the selection wasn't up to previous cruises. The table staff and hosts were wonderful. Adi (host) and Von (wine steward) were especially wonderful. We had open seating and had the same table every evening with different companions, all fantastic people. We are not night people and only attended one show. The ports were wonderful. We only did one excursion (since we'd done this so many times before) and it was good. There was some confusion as to an ADA bus, but that got cleared up pretty quickly. The rest of the time we just wandered around...exactly what I wanted to do. There was one particular shop on Creek Street in Ketchikan (Perfect Partners) that I wanted to visit and it had just opened. I was thrilled. Disembarkation was as smooth as glass. We were on the bus before the time we were scheduled to leave the ship. Then there was the airport..... This may be our last cruise due to medical reasons. It was a wonderful week. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We selected this cruise because it was raining in San Diego the week after New Years and we decided to treat ourselves. We were on a family vacation and it was too rainy so we did the illogical thing and jumped on an Alaskan cruise in May, ... Read More
We selected this cruise because it was raining in San Diego the week after New Years and we decided to treat ourselves. We were on a family vacation and it was too rainy so we did the illogical thing and jumped on an Alaskan cruise in May, the rainy season. We live in Eastern Washington so a Seattle departure and a short trip were the most critical elements. Sunday to Sunday works. We both had been on Alaskan cruises before so this wasn't about anything other than a nice boat ride in spring. We knew we wouldn't be taking any excursions because only flight related ones appealed and the weather is not predictable enough to spend that kind of money for marginal ceilings. So we rode the boat for the experience. And we had a great time. While not night owls, we spent every evening moving back and forth between the BB King venue and the pianos in the Billboard Onboard section. Made it worth the trip. Stage shows were fine, but we don't care much for magicians, even though the young lady was good, and dance troupes don't grab our hearts, and again they were good. The comedian did a great job with audience participation, but that meant he picked people from the crowd, so we absented ourselves. Our travel agent suggested an aft cabin and picked one for us on the stern. Loved it. Yes, there is motion. Yes, it is the ocean. Decks are slightly larger on the stern. Had it been warmer, this would have been even better, but we had some chilly times so indoors was the choice. Liked the stern so much we booked another one for our next adventure. Ship was in great shape, clean, constantly being cleaned, and bright and reasonably cheery. (Day before our departure the Oosterdam bumped another Holland ship in Vancouver, slight damage, but just below our room) We were contacted when the crew was going to be working below to repair the cosmetic damage to the ship, great communication. Public areas were great, as well. Service wonderful with attentive, positive folks everywhere, except maybe the guy at the dining room check in. Tough job. No big deal. Food was great when it was great, okay part of the time, and never lousy. Gala nights were the best food. The Lido was more hit and miss. Best food was generally anything Asian. Might be comfort zone for staff. American breakfast was okay, step above Best Western free breakfast, but not a full flight better. Lots of other options. Our last Holland cruise was through the Panama Canal so longer cruise. That trip did not have a huge number of ball cap, ragged jeans, with Jack Daniels shirts. We had some of these. (sorry for the stereotype) Things like lines, personal space, and gentle conversation weren't what I was used to, but this was only apparent on the Lido. Crowd management was a bit rough there as far as seating went. Too many large tables with one person sitting while unseated guests were searching for a table. In defense, this was the first Alaska cruise of the season and was a sell out, so maybe some ramping up. Same was true for first destination. Disembarking was rough with some frustration. Later ports were better. We had a great time, met some wonderful folks, enjoyed wonderful entertainment and signed up for more, just on a different ship going elsewhere. No knock on the Oosterdam, just wanted something different and smaller. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
It's been a few years since we've cruised on Holland America. Our last cruise on Royal Caribbean was not good so for our next cruise we chose HAL. Overall HAL provides good value for the money. Everyone has different cruise ... Read More
It's been a few years since we've cruised on Holland America. Our last cruise on Royal Caribbean was not good so for our next cruise we chose HAL. Overall HAL provides good value for the money. Everyone has different cruise expectations and HAL checks many of our boxes, though not all. We will continue to experience different cruise lines. For us, we cruise to spend time with our family. We enjoy the food, the destinations, shore excursions, and to be at sea. We do not care for drinking, partying, and childrens entertainments. For us, HAL is a good choice. This review is of the Oosterdam May 5 Alaskan Explorer cruise from Seattle. The Ship: The Oosterdam was in good shape, though I wish the last refit had kept more of the old Dutch Masters feel. The public areas were spacious and well appointed (I think the HAL Vista class ships have the highest area per passenger rating of all the majors). I like a full promenade deck, and it was the place to be during the cruise down the inside passage from Ketchikan. The card room(s) were well used by groups playing all kinds of games together. One plus of the Vista Class of ships is the retractable dome over the Lido Pool area. This is very helpful in Alaska as it can rain at any moment, and can be quite chilly at times. The Exploration Cafe was my favorite public area. The gym was well used and I thought the class instructors were quite good. I did two yoga classes on the 7 day cruise and worked out daily. The Food: I was especially impressed with the Lido Market (buffet) which we used for breakfast and lunch. There were special selections from around the world daily, and all manner of offerings for every taste. Some of our party really enjoyed the Dive In for burgers and fries. We ate at the Pinnacle Grill one night ($35 surcharge but ours was a gift from the travel agency). The food there was very good. Not quite as good as Ruth's Chris or something like that, but better than Outback for sure. The main dining room was pretty good for the MDR on a major cruise line. Some of the menu selections weren't that great and so it was hit or miss if you picked the right thing. One night I chose a fish (not great) and my spouse chose the deconstructed pot roast (good). Service started out a bit shaky, but I learned many of the staff had just joined the ship as our cruise was the first cruise of the Alaska season. They got better as the week progressed. Destinations: Juneau, Sitka, Hubbard Glacier, Ketchikan, Victoria. We were on a Coral Princess Southbound cruise from Anchorage to Vancouver a few years ago. We chose that cruise because it went to Glacier Bay. On this cruise we were looking for value, as we were cruising with relatives and cost was a concern. If I was only going on one Alaska cruise in my life, I would want to do Glacier Bay. And I would cruise later in the season. That said, Hubbard Glacier was worthwhile. Despite the rain and lots of ice in the water our captain was able to get us a pretty good view of the glacier face. It was a fun day, and a lot of us went out to the bow to take photos. I spent some time on the promenade as well. And a secret spot - Deck 9 Forward in front of the Gym was a good and mostly empty spot for viewing, though you are further up from the water. Shore Excursions: Good excursions overall. We did the Mount Roberts Tramway in Juneau as we had been to Mendenhall previously. It is worthwhile. We were not in Juneau long or else we would have probably gone up to Mendenhall again. We did Birds, Bears, and Barnacles in Sitka. Fun excursion. The bear place is still under renovation. We went to see the Totem Poles in Ketchikan. I would like to spend more time in Ketchikan someday. We were only in Victoria for 5 hours so we didn't do much. We have been there several times in the past. It was evening so options were limited. I would like to see Bouchard Gardens in the spring, though. At Sea: I like the feeling of being at sea. I am not looking for the floating hotel experience. I think a lot of the newer ships (ahem Royal) are very inward focused. The Oosterdam is very much in the vein of a classic cruise ship. I like hanging out outside, playing cards with family, enjoying good food, relaxing. Passengers were a good mix. HAL has a reputation of being the cruise line of choice for elders. I have not found this to be true. Though there were few children, most age groups were well represented, with a diversity of passengers from mostly North America and Asia. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because we live in the Seattle area and love not having to deal with air travel at the conclusion, also because my husband can only walk with a walker. We were familiar with all the ports (only one tender port), and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we live in the Seattle area and love not having to deal with air travel at the conclusion, also because my husband can only walk with a walker. We were familiar with all the ports (only one tender port), and we like longer cruises. We booked the Signature Suite. We needed extra room for the walker and no accessible rooms were available. The first glitch we encountered was that there were only 3 people available to get the wheelchair passengers to their rooms so we waited an extra hour to board. Upon eventually arriving at our suite, we were distressed to find that they have scaled down their bathroom doors below standard size, so it isn't possible to get a standard sized walker through the door. He had to grasp the counter and walk the length of the room holding on to reach the toilet. There was a full sized bathtub--useless to us--and the shower was so small with only one grab bar that he could barely use it. It was just about impossible to shower without flooding the bathroom. After having paid a couple of thousand dollars extra for a suite, this was a disappointment. The balcony door is very heavy and the thresh-hold very high. The good: the showroom, The Main Stage, is great for the disabled; one could put another row of seats between the row of seats on the lower floor and access is great. They have UHD huge televisions in the staterooms and a fair assortment of late movies to choose from. However, we couldn't get enough volume to be able to understand the dialog in the movies, while on all other channels you could have blasted it high enough to hear for a half block in either direction. The Main Stage did blast all their shows that loud. We had to go through immigration twice and had a serious issue with getting wheelchair assistance to get on and off the ship. We were misinformed both times by Guest Services. Phone contact, and even personal contact with Guest Services was poor due to lack of fluent English on the part of staff and difficulty hearing them on the phone. We had a dinner in Canaletto's which wasn't any better than in the main dining room. We had lunch in the Pinnacle which was very good, except that they served instant coffee with our dessert. The "worker bees", as always on HAL are wonderful. Food was acceptable, if not great. Over all, I think many cruise lines are subtlety (sometimes not so subtlety) trying to discourage disabled passengers, while trying to appear welcoming for good public relations. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My husband and I have cruised on Holland America a few times. The last two were to the Caribbean although our previous trip was on a different ship. This cruise was wonderful. We loved the ports, the excursions, the crew, the other ... Read More
My husband and I have cruised on Holland America a few times. The last two were to the Caribbean although our previous trip was on a different ship. This cruise was wonderful. We loved the ports, the excursions, the crew, the other passengers, and the relaxing atmosphere. We remember the food being much tastier and more exotic in the past. This cruise had good food, but not fantastic food which is usually a large topic of our conversation when we come home. The souvenir glasses we received with the cordials (very tasty!!) offered in the dining room were high quality and the perfect size keepsake! We have never seen this option before and we loved it! The Oosterdam is on the older side as ships go and had areas of sewerage smell. Our room, thankfully, wasn't in those areas. The only thing we didn't like about our Verandah room was that the pillows really smelled. I slept with towels wrapped around mine. Other than that the rooms were great. The movie options on the television were top notch! Loved that option. During our visit to Holland America's island in the Bahama's we visited their bar only to be told that our drink package didn't include drinks on the island. We were very flabbergasted as this is Holland America's property. That was very disappointing and we left without purchasing a drink. I visited the spa and purchased "The Perfect Day" package which included a facial and massage. The facial was merely a face wash and mask. The massage focused mostly on the back and head. I was told afterward that my shoulders needed a lot of attention and I should book another appointment. Also, there was a lot of pushing of product. Not sure I would pay for that again. I've enjoyed massages at other locations during vacations that were far better. Onboarding was quick and easy. Disembarkment was easy, but the line through customs was extraordinarily long. For us it was no problem, but for anyone who has difficultly standing that long or someone who has to be somewhere quick, this is not ideal. All in all we enjoyed the cruise and would definitely sail with HA again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
It has been several years, cruises and cruise lines since we were on board a HAL ship, 2016 to be exact. We chose this trip primarily because of the time frame, pricing and lazy itinerary. Had not been on the Oosterdam, and it did have Key ... Read More
It has been several years, cruises and cruise lines since we were on board a HAL ship, 2016 to be exact. We chose this trip primarily because of the time frame, pricing and lazy itinerary. Had not been on the Oosterdam, and it did have Key West in the itinerary, always a favorite stop for us. We departed from Port Everglades, utilizing a nearby parking lot not directly on port property to save a few bucks, and I have to say, the embarkation process was one of the fastest and smoothest of our 20+ cruises. No issues, we walked right on board are were able to go directly to our cabin without any wait at all. And, after the cruise, disembarkation was also a really quick and painless process. We were permitted to remain in our cabins or any of the public areas, and we got off right on time in a logical and unhurried but steady manner. What a treat! We selected a forward balcony cabin on the Observation Deck (10010) and found it to be smaller than expected. The balcony was apparently an afterthought add-on and was extremely narrow in both depth and width. The 2 chairs had to be placed just so before the door could be opened and unless you sat far left you had to get up to let a second person out of the door. Room for more than 2 not possible. Disappointing, but spent many hours enjoying the views, and the weather was great for our 7 days. Had excellent port views from here also. Cabin location suited us well. We do not suffer from any sea sickness issues and actually love it when there some rocking. While others might complain, we have never had a "too rough" cruise. Guess we have good sea legs. It was very quiet with only 25 cabins and getting an elevator never seemed to take long. We were told the ship was full, but it sure didn't seem like it, except on the Lido Deck at key dining times. The only other public area on our deck was the EXC/Excursion Desk/Observation Deck/Crow's Nest that housed a library, meeting room, coffee shop / bar and wonderful comfortable chairs to read and watch the sea from. Our cabin did have great shower pressure, plenty of hot water, great bed, and an air conditioner that actually worked really well to keep us comfortable. The ship itself, together with our cabin and balcony, were immaculate. Our room steward did a wonderful job for us and also kept us fully stocked with ice at all times. He was a joy and very unobstusive, popping in and out while we were out and about. Clearly an older ship, she was in good repair and literally sparkled. Rugs in public areas were clean and some parts of public areas were shampooed every day, especially port days. I had read criticism of her fittings being old and decrepit. Perhaps given my age, early 60s, I felt more at home than younger counterparts, but it felt warm, comfortable and a bit homey to me. I prefer the smaller ships to the new, slick & glitzy mega liners as they are easier for older legs to navigate and miss none of the action. Except....there wasn't much action. Oh, there were activities, but not much that we found suited our taste. We don't gamble, play trivia, bingo, board games, Bridge, Mahjong or assemble puzzles. We don't like Blues or jazz music much either. So that left us longing for more classical, piano, or some soft rock (nope, none of that). We liked the Test Kitchen seminars, and wished they would let us sample some of the things made, but they said they "could not for health reasons"? Made no sense. We also thoroughly enjoyed the BBC Planet Earth offerings and the live orchestral performance with one of the movies was delightful. The main stage entertainment was OK, nothing special, with the usual comic, magician and one musical dancing/singing show. Meh, the movie offerings were better than the live performances for us. The shore excursions we took were fine, and we have no complaints of the city tours taken. The food was the biggest disappointment of all. Everything looked yummy, but was lacking in taste and seasonings. Very bland. Rubbery chicken, tough steaks (even in the famed extra-cost Pinnacle Grill the Tenderloin just wasn't), the fish was fish-y tasting. Nothing was served hot, just lukewarm at best. HAL of old dining is no more. The lone exception seemed to be the breads and rolls and cookies. Coffee was plentiful and nicely stronger than average. The chocolate extravaganza looked so enticing but the reality was there was not much taste to any of it. Too many corners cut I guess. Lido Deck breakfast offerings and sandwiches and salads kept us the happiest, but only if we waited until the crowds died down. Very disappointed in the food offerings, for sure. The very best thing about this sailing was the crew and staff. Every single person we encountered seemed genuinely happy to be aboard and strived to please. That part was just remarkable! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because the itinerary fit our spring break schedule. The ship was very nice and well maintained. Customer service was excellent. The food was very good and dining staff were excellent! The waiter was very ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the itinerary fit our spring break schedule. The ship was very nice and well maintained. Customer service was excellent. The food was very good and dining staff were excellent! The waiter was very accommodating to our 8 year old grandson and even made him an origami animal each night, showed him magic tricks and made sure he had something to eat from the kids menu that he liked at each meal. Our grandson adored him! The ventriloquist and comedy shows were very good and we enjoyed the Discovery Earth production (warning - if you don't like snakes, don't watch the first segment - could be scary for young children - our grandson did not attend). My husband enjoyed the Lincoln Center performances. The other music shows were fair - we passed on the second performance. BB King's nightclub and performances were very enjoyable. The "chocolate surprise" evening was very disappointing. It lasted about 3 minutes and if you were not in the right place at the right time you didn't get anything! Club Hal for children was fair - there were games and arts and crafts. There were video games available and my grandson enjoyed that. He attended about 3 times but quickly became bored and stayed with us the rest of the time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Our family (children and grandchildren) & friends eagerly anticipated HAL with its elegant charm and service for us oldies. HAL did extremely well on service, food, cabins, and efficiency on board. Our group enjoyed the cruise and our ... Read More
Our family (children and grandchildren) & friends eagerly anticipated HAL with its elegant charm and service for us oldies. HAL did extremely well on service, food, cabins, and efficiency on board. Our group enjoyed the cruise and our expectations were exceeded. We had a wonderful table and staff on Deck3 and Rudy's Fish premium dining to celebrate our 52 Wedding Anniversary. Compared to Norwegian, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Viking it was at least equal. Our balcony suite on Deck8 was larger than expected. The cabin steward was very friendly but unobtrusive, keeping our cabin spotlessly clean every day. We had our breakfast served in our cabin each day at no extra cost so we could eat in our pajamas and avoid the crowds in Lido. All this would have earned a 5*. Now the negatives. Poor communication between Call Center staff on shore and ship staff resulted in our group of 6 being split up for dinner if I had not escalated it, and then we got a nice table together. Poor organization resulted in a very late start of our Cozumel shore excursion and then we were rushed through the Chocolate, Glass bottom boat and Rum part of the tour. We had wonderful fellow passengers except for a couple of weird ones who showed up 20 mins late for a shore excursion and then demanded their money back when the only seats left were in the back of the bus. Another situation was when a family with 5 children considered it OK to let their kids aged 3 - 6 monopolize the BB King dance floor at 9 pm. preventing adults from dancing. They said there were no signs that said no kids! Another family seated their 3 young kids in the first row at the Comedienne show when they knew she would be telling adult jokes. There is no accounting for poor taste and lack of common sense. Apart from these examples, the fellow passengers were very urbane and cultured. In general the shows were OK - not as good as Norwegian. But I guess the bigger ships can afford higher quality/cost entertainers. I have yet to see any shows like "burn the floor" The Jersey Boys, Beatles, etc that we saw on Norwegian. But we prefer the quieter and more cozy atmosphere of smaller ships. So bottom line, a 4* experience! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We are a 50 something couple travelling with my 80 something parents. I chose this cruise because my elderly parents find it easier to get around the smaller ships of Holland America and the stops were different than stops I have made ... Read More
We are a 50 something couple travelling with my 80 something parents. I chose this cruise because my elderly parents find it easier to get around the smaller ships of Holland America and the stops were different than stops I have made before. I was pleasantly surprised that the passengers were not as old as on previous HA cruises. Service was excellent except at Lido, which was crowded, slow and difficult to maneuver. Food in main dining room okay, not great. Wine service in Main dining room terrible. Many of the wines on wine list were not available, some wines had turned and other wines were not kept at proper temperature. Pinnacle good, but probably not worth the money. Canaletto fantastic and worth every penny. Would have gone twice if I could. Minimal activites though what they had was good. BB Kings performers were terrific but their sets were short and over early. No place to dance after they finished. Billboard also very fun. Main stage shows mediocre. Key west fun. We just explored on foot independently. Had a surprisingly good time on catamaran snorkel in DR. Crew fantastic. Had a terrible fishing trip in Turks. I felt unsafe on the boat due to their reckless driving. Only one fish was caught but I suspect we would have been more successful with live bait and sonar, neither of which they had. HA should seriously reevaluate their relationship with this provider. Private island absolutely beautiful. I personally prefer Celebrity because of the wider range of entertainment but the food and service were better on HA. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We needed a warm reprieve from the Canadian cold, and this was the perfect cruise. We loved the ports -especially Half Moon Cay. It helped that we had good weather! We took the conch trolley in Key West which was informative and fun. ... Read More
We needed a warm reprieve from the Canadian cold, and this was the perfect cruise. We loved the ports -especially Half Moon Cay. It helped that we had good weather! We took the conch trolley in Key West which was informative and fun. Otherwise, we enjoyed the pools and beaches onshore. The service onboard was friendly and attentive. We chose to read and rest, so we had no experience with the entertainment. The Main Dining Room food was good, with some items better than others. We enjoyed our dinner in Canaletto. Food choice in the Lido Market was varied and good. Of course, one should not expect mass-produced meals to be gourmet experiences! Like some others, we found our Verandah Stateroom to be comfortable, but the bathrooms do need to be updated. We are looking forward to our July cruise from Rotterdam to Boston and appreciate our contact with fellow CC cruisers for tour arrangements and advice. Read Less
Oosterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.5 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.5 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

Find an Oosterdam Cruise

Email me when prices drop