Sail Date: April 2011
We were on the April 16th sailing of the Oosterdam to PV and Cabo, it was spring break for our daughters, age 17 and 13, (and apparently about 375 other kids that were on board.) A little background, we have sailed 2 times on Princess, 1 ... Read More
We were on the April 16th sailing of the Oosterdam to PV and Cabo, it was spring break for our daughters, age 17 and 13, (and apparently about 375 other kids that were on board.) A little background, we have sailed 2 times on Princess, 1 on Carnival with our kids, and this cruise.Embarkation: Very, very quick and easy. Friendly, welcoming staff this sets the tone for a wonderful vacation.Ship: Very clean, you will constantly see crew polishing and cleaning. As other reviews have stated, it does look a bit worn. You will notice furniture, carpet, tile, ect, that probably should be replaced. It was not a big deal to us, it doesn't feel "ugly" by any stretch, but if you like the latest and greatest, you might be disappointed in this ship.Staff: As I read earlier, extremely friendly! Everyone is very kind and is always smiling. This is a huge plus for us. We like being around happy, friendly people.Stateroom: Ok, we go budget. Cheapest room we could book. Our kids sailed for $199...how can we go wrong with that?? But, that being said, you have to expect and tolerate some mess and chaos. If you have 4 people in a room, expect to have stuff laying everywhere, there is just not enough closet/drawer/bathroom space for everyone. I think our room steward pretty much gave up trying to keep the room tidy. The bunk bed pulls down from the wall, over the king bed. The couch pulls out into a single cot. A WORD OF CAUTION: that pull down bed will get you! We smacked out heads at least nightly on that thing, you can't sit up without hitting it. Every night, we'd tell ourselves to remember it, then BANG, we'd whoop our head again. (ow!!!) It isn't an ideal setup, but it was workable. I'd say, if you are a neat freak and can't handle clutter, go for an extra cabin. I went knowing it would be messy, and just decided I wasn't going to let it annoy me. Another tip for sharing cabin with more than 2 people. Go up and take your shower/get ready in the spa locker room. The showers there are wonderful and there is space to move around as well as a hair dryer and large mirror. I took my showers up there after the first day and met other people doing the same thing. This helped the stress of too many people in the room getting ready. (teenage girls, ya know!!!)Food: The presentation and quality were wonderful in both the lido buffet and dining room. Very, very good. I was so surprised the lido deck had such good food. Special requests for food: Sorry, the Oosterdam gets an D- on this one. They just don't want to deviate from their menus. As an example. my husband was told no Caesar salad available at lunch, no tortilla chips for the guac in the dining room, no NY strip steak available on the last night, (had to get the beef tenderloin) I asked if I could have frozen choc yogurt the last night, nope, everyone gets Baked Alaska. Couldn't just get fresh fruit in the dining room if it wasn't a menu selection either. Please don't misunderstand, it wasn't a huge deal to be told no, but if this is important to you to get things the way you like them, you'll probably be disappointed, or mad. (some people were!)Service: The dining room was inconsistent. Very slow sometimes. Expect to take 2 hours for dining. Then another time, we were rushed and done in an hour. This didn't seem to matter whether we were a table of 4, or 8. The buffet runs pretty smoothly, but expect to wait for omelets and special orders, like sandwiches, waffles. BTW, Mario, the omelet guy, is absolutely wonderful. He alone, will make your cruise a fun experience!! Go find Mario for your omelet. I tipped him at the end of the week, as did several other people. Great guy!Passengers: A little bit of everything, (and lots of Californians!! :) We saw young, old, newlyweds, families, gays, girl getaways, different races. Lots of kids. Everyone seemed to be having fun. This was the most unexpected, the variety of people on the Oosterdam. Everyone was friendly and seemed to be enjoying themselves.Shows: The magician, Leo Ward, was outstanding. So entertaining and funny. GO TO HIS SHOW!!! The comedians were pretty good. The singing dancing shows were interesting. Lots of costume changes. The singing was ok, I liked the dancing. Some people will not like these shows, really a personal choice. The Liar's Club was hilarious, the funniest show all week. GO see it!!! The random, on the spot humor was very genuine and funny. I believe it was on Thursday night.I also enjoyed the piano bar and the music in the Explorer's lounge. Nice variety of music choices. Teen club: Our girls had the time of their lives!!! They had so much fun with the other kids on the ship. I'm not sure if it was the actual club that facilitated that, or the kids just clicked, but they loved the cruise. There were lots of planned daily activities for the kids. Thanks HAL!!!Ports: I think this is so variable by what you do at the port. We enjoyed both ports of call. Went and had a couples massage at the Krystal Hotel in PV. Very nice!All and all, we had a great time, Very relaxing. Friendly and fun. I would say, go with the flow and don't expect perfection, but rather a sincere staff who desires to please but might have a few limitations on what they can do. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
The cruise itself was great. The food, hospitality, and the state rooms were great along with the events. Overall...if we did not have any incidents...this was a great cruise... However, this was not the case. In the few occaisions ... Read More
The cruise itself was great. The food, hospitality, and the state rooms were great along with the events. Overall...if we did not have any incidents...this was a great cruise... However, this was not the case. In the few occaisions that we needed to discuss an issue with the Oosterdam front-desk agents or customer service we were severely disappointed. Three instances showed this to us: 1) We complained that an even that we had paid for did not meet our expectations. The front-desk agent took our notes and then called the manager for us. We were told that the the manager (seemingly hiding behind the front-desk clerk) did not agree with our complaints but was too busy to meet with us that day. We came back the next morning for our booked appointment to find out that the manager was too busy with another appointment. Only after complaining did he finally leave his work and meet with us. 2) We received an incorrect medical bill. The front-desk manager refused to do anything about it but tell us to talk to the infirmirary. We talked to the infirmirary who resolved this issue but we were incensed that the bill only arrived on our final day and was not discussed with us when it was incurred. Also, that the front-desk managers were not willing to discuss this with us. 3) We lost our car/apartment keys on the boat. After leaving, we found that we could not talk to anyone from HAL on a Sunday who could help us since their offices were only open from M-F. Also, the HAL office did not have a contact for the Oosterdam. I could not believe that this! In most of the cases, I would not fault the individuals who seemed to want to help us. It seemed that the they were not empowered to help us or to look into our issues. In most cases, if the front desk agents were allowed to make decisions or judgment calls on their own then we believe that the management making decisions would not need to hide behind them. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
EMBARKATION AND DEBARKATION 5.0 Embarkation was an overnight stop in Barcelona. I arrived late (as expected) and was handled quite efficiently. Debarkation was a Monday in Fort Lauderdale and was reasonably efficient; the usual weekend ... Read More
EMBARKATION AND DEBARKATION 5.0 Embarkation was an overnight stop in Barcelona. I arrived late (as expected) and was handled quite efficiently. Debarkation was a Monday in Fort Lauderdale and was reasonably efficient; the usual weekend chaos at FLL was absent. CABIN 5.0 Standard size and comfortable, although with an unusual L-shaped configuration. The bathroom has the standard size and layout, with a single medicine cabinet rather than double shelving. The mid-ships elevators have an odd, three-bank configuration, where a number of outside balcony cabins were replaced with scenic elevators. An expensive arrangement which doesn't work all that well. DINING 5.0 Main Dining Room Huge portions of bland American comfort food. Numerous choices, although no separate salad or pasta courses. Little excitement, few surprizes. If this is what you want, they do it well. Service was "average"- not bad, but didn't live up to the marketing hype. But formal nights were a farce, even though HAL is so uptight they even put it on the boarding pass (HAL may say that plaid sports jackets with orange polka-dot bowties are formalwear, but that doesn't make it so). Perhaps half actually wore something which was properly formal. Buffet Mostly cafeteria service, rather than true buffet. Pasta and desserts available to 1:00 AM, although I was usually the only passenger after midnight; the "midnight" buffet was already finished. A little more attention to detail is required- for example there was no holder for the bread tongs, they ended up being placed on top of the bread. Ample hand sanitizer stations were available, but there was no enforcement. Pinnacle Grill- Lavish presentation, but the food was not really much better than the MDR. Not worth the extra money. FITNESS AND RECREATION 2.0 Fitness Room. No one I talked to reported any difficulty with overcrowding. The equipment seems to be good quality and in good condition. For some reason, the scale is calibrated in kilograms. Do not expect many physical-fitness oriented activities. Although HAL has a reputation for "wheelchairs and walkers", I did not see many, and the ones I met had a positive, "can-do" attitude. But I saw a large number of very fat (BMI's of 50, maybe even 60) passengers. I'm a 60-year-old guy with a heart condition, but I felt like oneof the most active and energetic people on board. ENTERTAINMENT 2.0 Shows The comments I heard indicated shows ranged from good to mediocre. Cooking Displays I did not attend any cooking displays, nor did I hear any comments from those who did. Some were extra cost. Event Evenings There were two major evening events, a 50's night and a Black-and-White ball. Both were crowded for about an hour, then everyone left. Exciting only in comparison to other activity on board. Cinema Seating is comfortable but limited; signs are already posted about not bringing extra seats. ENRICHMENT 1.0 For a ship with 2000 passengers on a Transatlantic crossing, there was not much choice, although it seemed to be adequate for demand. The topics seemed generally interesting, although I admit I did not attend the napkin folding lecture. LGBT activities were scheduled almost every evening; also some sort of religious service every morning. I did not attend either, so I cannot provide any details. PUBLIC ROOMS 1.0 Apparently there is a problem with old people trying to dance and falling down, so the ship puts sticky goo on all the dance floors. This makes it very dangerous to dance until it wears off, about two or three days. But there isn't much demand, most people go to bed by 11 PM. Ocean Bar The house band is given music by HAL, and that's all they are allowed to play. Dreary, dismal stuff, at least a generation out of date. The group on this sailing was from Mexico and spoke limited English, so I am not sure how much flexibility they had regarding tempos and requests. They did play til 11:30 PM, but very few couples danced, the room was often empty. Queens Room A multipurpose room, used mostly for cooking demonstrations, rarely for dancing. The dance floor is a decent size, but normally occupied by extra seating. There were a few evening activities, once even until midnight. Crow's Nest A large, attractive lounge, used mostly as a piano (or guitar) bar; often reserved for private parties. Disco The DJ tried very hard to find out what music passengers wanted. But the busiest I ever saw the disco was 9 people- most nights, none at all. The disco bar is a smoking area for the casino. Library/Internet A decently sized library. Food available for purchase. Internet seemed to function at normal speed for a ship. Casino Operates on a semi-cashless system. The machines will take cash, but only credit your winnings back to your cabin account. Quite a few 1-cent and 2-cent machines. SERVICE 4.0 Not bad, but doesn't live up to the marketing hype. The Cruise Director did the usual shameless begging for inflated survey ratings; worse, partly-completed surveys disappeared from some cabins, including mine. SHORE EXCURSIONS Not evaluated. But there was no effort to decontaminate passengers or bags returning. Steam cleaning of carpets was not done until night. One woman actually boasted about bringing local food on board. The ship must be assumed to have been contaminated with any local microbes at every port stop. VALUE FOR MONEY 5.0 or 1.0, depending on your interests If you want "Florida Retirement Home" ambiance with huge amounts of food, then this ship is an excellent choice. But if "life begins at 10 PM", stay far away - you will be travelling with some of the most boring people I have ever met. Those with racial prejudices will be happy- passengers are white, servers are brown, blacks are not to be seen. The Oosterdam did not strike me as a happy ship. The corporate MBA's in Seattle need to stop worrying about the survey system which is obviously flawed, and spend more time on board. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2009
Mediterranean MomentsOur Iberian flight left Washington D.C. for Venice on the evening of June 22nd allowing an extra pre-cruise day to explore this beautiful city.  We decided to stay a little off the beaten path in the Cannaregio ... Read More
Mediterranean MomentsOur Iberian flight left Washington D.C. for Venice on the evening of June 22nd allowing an extra pre-cruise day to explore this beautiful city.  We decided to stay a little off the beaten path in the Cannaregio neighborhood at the Hotel Vecellio.  This made for an easy transport from the airport on the Alilaguna water bus (less than a 10 minute walk to the stop and 13 Euro for the ticket) to the hotel which is located on the lagoon at Fondamenta Nuove.  It took about forty minutes and made one short stop at Murano. There was only one small set of steps to maneuver before entering this small charming family run hotel.  We practiced a little of our Italian while gathering tips of local places to have dinner, but not to worry as they also spoke English.  After refreshing ourselves, we set off to explore the area around the hotel which is quite residential and after about fifteen minutes arrived at Piazza San Marco.  From there we wandered along the amazing winding streets to the Rialto Bridge and checked out some of the shops.  To save time and steps as we weren't near a bridge, we took a traghetto across a small canal (inexpensive-.50Euro) and continued back to the Cannaregio neighborhood.  We had dinner among the locals at Osteria Storica which is run by the daughter-in-law of our hotel manager.  The seafood risotto was delicious but the S shaped Burano cookies and dessert wine was even better!  We were soon asleep with the sound of the water lapping outside our hotel room.   The next morning we walked to San Marco and easily purchased tickets for the Doge Palace at the Correr Museum and did a self-guided tour with info from Rick Steves.  Audio sets are also available.  This was a definite "must see."  We then waited in a long line for about 30 minutes to enter the Basilica San Marco.  We had done a lot of research about the basilica but the number of people, the overall darkness inside, and our schedule didn't allow for as much examination as I hoped.  If this is of great importance to you, plan to do a guided tour.  We returned to the hotel to pick-up our luggage, took a water bus to Piazzale Roma and a cab directly to the ship (10E.)  As we would be staying in Venice until tomorrow, embarkation was a breeze.....no lines at all.  We found the ship looking great with rich colors and many artistic accents.  We had lunch from the lido on the aft deck which became our favorite spot.  We returned to our cabin and found our luggage had arrived so we unpacked before heading back out to explore more of Venice.  We walked to the vaporetti stop and did a full tour of the Grand Canal.  Again using the info from Rick Steves, we were able to identify many of the key sites along the way.  We walked to the Rialto Bridge and again to Piazza San Marco and listened to the dueling orchestras before taking a cab back to the ship.  As it was now somewhat late for dinner, we decided to try dinner from the lido at one of the attractive table clothed areas.  This was not a good choice.  We found all of our entrees to be over cooked and dry.....perhaps because it was near the end of the serving time.  This turned out to be more the exception to the rule of our dining experience on the ship but we didn't return there for dinner either.  This is not to be confused with the new Canaletto Restaurant.   The next day we explored more of the city, did some shopping, and took pictures etc. before taking the water bus back to the ship for the sail away.  It was quite beautiful being on deck for this on a beautiful sunny day.  The music was playing, those fancy cocktails were flowing, and everyone was having a good time.  I would say contrary to other posts of HAL ships, there was quite a mix of age groups on board.  Though more than half were of my fellow Americans, there were also many Canadians and Europeans.  For those planning to travel this route this summer with children and teens, there were a lot of young people having a good time.  There were also a lot of young couples as well so this mix provided a good vibe. st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } Our next stop was Dubrovnik.  We took the local bus to the Pile Gate and though we were open to walking around and climbing the wall at the Ploce gate entrance if the lines were long, this was not necessary.  Walking the wall is a must.  You really get to see the city from a perch.  There were even a few residents with small tables selling hand crafted items along the way. The citrus trees were full of fruit almost asking to be picked.  The people were very friendly. Having local currency I'm sure is preferred but they would also take Euro if the bills were small.  Stop for a gelato by the big ice cream cone in the main square before you leave. st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } More sunny weather greeted us during our three days visiting the Greek Isles.  We walked into the city from the ship to explore the old city walls in Corfu and meandered through the streets.  Argostoli was a little gem on the Sunday morning we were there.  We attended a service at one of the churches, observed fishermen coming in with their catch of the day, visited an archeological museum, and enjoyed a cup of cappuccino before the shops opened up in the early afternoon.  Of course the favorite isle was Santorini.  The captain allowed us to go out onto the bow of the ship for the sail into the rim area.  We took the cable cars up to the top which moved right along after about a 10 minute wait.  We then took the local bus up to Oia.  This was even more beautiful than all the pictures that I'm sure you have seen.  Make time to visit here as it is less touristy than Fira.  We also took the local bus back which was inexpensive and you could buy tickets on the bus.  I believe they ran every hour this time of the year.  And then there is the sunset...whether you stay in Oia, Fira, or go back to the ship it is a lovely sight. st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } Back to Italy where the choices are many.  The fish market in Catania was great fun, and you also have the ruins right in the center of the city along with the churches.  Sit on a bench and people watch as this is a vibrant place. In Naples we took the hydrofoil over to the island of Capri.  This was our family name so this was more special for me.  It is extremely scenic.  You can walk around the many lanes that look over the sea, walk through the Gardens of Augustus, and see the Faraglioni rocks.  There are also many shops and cafes to spend time in, as well. st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } Arriving in Civitavecchia, we took the train into Rome and got off at the St. Peter's stop.  The train ride took about 40 minutes.  The train was very crowded and we had to stand during the trip in.  Once there, it is a short walk over to St. Peter's Square and there are also places to stop for a cappuccino. We chose to visit the Vatican Museum while in Rome as we had missed this during our previous visit.  Buy your tickets ahead of time online and get right in.  The art collection is amazing.  Our guide was great.  Pay attention when they explain highlights of the Sistine Chapel ceiling at the orientation of the tour as you are on your own when you arrive there at the end. You are also supposed to be silent which the guards had a hard time controlling!  The lines waiting to get into St Peter's were extremely long so plan for this or plan ahead!  In Livorno, we took the train and went to Lucca.  This was even more charming than I had expected.  The home of Puccini, it would be great to attend an opera if our visit was longer.  There are many beautiful churches and many shops to get lost in. Our last stop was Barcelona.  This is truly a magical metropolitan city.  We were there on a Sunday evening and so the Magical Fountains were showing there colors with music in the background.  It takes place in front of the art museum at the Placa Espana.  You can arrive there by Metro.  We added an extra day to our visit and stayed at the Hotel Jazz, a great modern hotel.  It was very conveniently located near the Catalunya metro stop.  It is close to La Rambla and La Sagrada Familia.  We only wish we had more time to spend in this fabulous city.   We truly had an enjoyable vacation sailing through one of our favorite destinations.  We found the ship to be in great shape with a variety of amenities.  With only one sea day we tried to save a few hours of each day for time relaxing on deck Though there were many people on  st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } board, we never found the ship to be over crowded.  With two pools, one having a retractable cover, there were plenty of chairs and tables for everyone to lounge around. I liked the old fashion wooden chairs with plump cushions.  We especially enjoyed the Pinnacle Grill and would highly recommend it.  We had both sea food and steak and both were cooked to perfection.  I would encourage booking ahead.....before you leave home.  We had booked two nights in advance and were given a third night from our booking agent that was a surprise when we arrived on the ship.  Unfortunately, we were not able to get a reservation for this third night (unless we ate at 5:45 the day we were in Rome) once on board as they were full.  They did arrange for onboard credit which was nice.  We really enjoyed anytime dining.  We never made reservations, always were able to get a table for four, and only one night did we have to wait twenty minutes (they give you a hand held beeper when your table is ready) for our table.  Though we had many different people serving us over the period, everyone was attentive and we did not find this to be a problem. Except for the first two nights when it was just ok, the food in the dining room was quite good, especially the onion soup.  Maybe they had trainees on those first nights!  During the cruise we celebrated Canada Day and the 4th of July.  On the July 4th celebration, they went all out with red, white and blue decorations, ice sculptures, carved fruit displays and of course bar-b-que. There was great emphasis on hygiene.  There was a letter in our room when we arrived explaining what they were doing to keep everyone healthy and what we should do to help.  There were many, many anti-bacterial dispensers dispersed throughout the ship, and a number of items were served to you in the lido.  The staff appeared to be working very hard and all tried to be helpful and friendly.  The special entertainment was excellent.  Preston Coe performed everything from a repertoire of the Three Tenors, Roy Orbison, and guitar riffs of Eric Clapton.  Leo Ward performed state of the art illusions sprinkled with comedy.  They each did one show in the early part of the cruise and returned for a joint show on the last day.  The HAL singers and dancers performed two energized shows of dance and Broadway.  The other lounge acts were the caliber mentioned in a number of previous posts.  I did have to use one service that I hope all of you don't have to.  I experienced a bad toothache and had to use the medical center.  Dr. Sanchez and his staff were great.  They helped to make me comfortable and even arranged for me to see a dentist when I arrived in Barcelona.  The other thing HAL did that impressed us was making everyone feel a little closer to home.  Having a news recap from a major news source in your country and printing both the daily program and the menu in your native tongue was a nice touch.  Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly as did tendering when it was necessary.  The G8 Summit was being held in Italy so extra security required that all of our passports be turned in for a few days and that procedure went well too.   Other than that, the only thing left to comment on is our cabin.  We had plenty of storage room and plenty of hangers....I even learned from some of you that I could lift the lid of the hassock for more storage options!  We used room service twice, though they had to enter sideways with the tray.  We enjoyed our robes and had more TV channel options than on Celebrity. Our only issue was their vacuum type plumbing system.  At peak times in the day there would be a long delay before flushing.  Though we often travel to Europe to visit family, we are new to cruising.  This was only our second cruise and our first on HAL.  I have learned so much from your many posted tips and comments and find great enjoyment in reading about your cruising experiences.  I hope my review recalls some memorable times for those of you that have been to these places before.  I also hope it provides information and confirmation to cruising newbies like me that you can have a wonderful time even if you aren't sailing in a veranda suite!  Hope to meet up with some of you on a future cruise.......    Read Less
Sail Date: August 2003
My husband and I were on the inaugural cruise of Holland Oosterdam to the Baltic. This was not our 1st cruise although it was on a Holland line and it will be the last on the Holland line. When we arrived at Harwich (in an un ... Read More
My husband and I were on the inaugural cruise of Holland Oosterdam to the Baltic. This was not our 1st cruise although it was on a Holland line and it will be the last on the Holland line. When we arrived at Harwich (in an un air-conditioned bus) from London to board at 10:30 AM, they were not prepared to check us in as they didn't have the computers set up and working. They finally started checking in people at noon. I was able to book a "hot rock" massage right there with a complimentary hand therapy. The massage was mediocre and I never did receive the hand therapy. It was too much hassle to go back and besides we were busy with others things on the cruise. The second day we noticed an odor about our cabin and in the hall (like a septic tank) We reported it to our cabin steward who acted like we were imagining it. He didn't smell it and said no one else had mentioned it. We kept smelling it everyday and it was getting worse. Again we complained but it fell on deaf ears. We eventual put a tissue box over the bathroom floor drain and that seemed to cut the odor down. Otherwise, we were pleased with our deluxe verandah cabin. However, we felt the room could have been kept cleaner, especially the bathroom floor. Our shower curtain was too short so the floor got wet after showering. The response was it was OK -- it would keep the floor clean. We never could get it straight about stocking the refrigerator with the kinds of drinks we wanted. Our steward never offered fresh fruit or bottled water. We had to ask for everything. The layout of the ship did not give enough room in the common areas and halls so it seemed very crowded. By the end of the cruise (12 days) the ship looked worn already (the carpets and woodwork) The dining room on the Lido deck could have been kept cleaner and could the other common areas. There was no laundry room on board the ship but laundry and dry cleaning service was available with a 48 hours return. We had to wait 5 days for our laundry to be returned and that was after persistent calls. Some people still didn't have their clothes the night before we had to get off the ship. There were so many complaints that the charge for laundry was voided for the entire ship. They should convert some rooms to laundry rooms. The food was good mostly but the portions in the main dining room were small, especially for a man. Our stewards were very slow so we had to rush to the Vista lounge for the nightly entertainment. One evening we were in one of the bubble elevators along with 4 others and it fell 2 floors and stopped between floors. Those elevators had been acting difficult from the beginning. We were able to jar the door and it moved level with the floor and we all were happy to get off. We told one of the staff and he told us to report it to the front desk, We informed him that we weren't waiting in a line for 15 minutes to do so. So we went down to an office near the main desk to report it and that staff member didn't want to hear about it or do anything about it. She tried sending us to another desk until we informed her that it was not our responsibility to take care of it so she did take down the information. Later we notice an out of order sign of that elevator. At one of the ports we had to tender in. I don't think the staff driving the tenders knew what they were doing. The had a hard time docking with the ship. Heaven forbid if we had an emergency. The staff in general did not instill confidence at all. Even the front desk ladies needed an attitude adjustment. They were not friendly, congenial, or helpful. They acted put out that even if they were asked a question. Then there was the fire on board the last night as we are having our entertainment. An air-conditioner in a cabin caught fire but it was taken care of. We could not hear the announcements in our cabin as there was no control. The TV stations were almost nonexistent. The video work and quality of the on board station was very poor. Even the bow camera was pointed to the sky and not forward. So, lets face it, the cruise kept going downhill, so we will not be booking with Holland again. They have been around long enough that they should know what they are doing, but apparently the must have had a brain freeze with this cruise. They had time to train their staff, especially since 2 cruises were canceledAs I said, this will be our last cruise on Holland Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We love Tim Timmons & Mercy Me so we went on the Mercy Me at sea cruise it was awesome except for the Holland America cruise line. The service in the main dining room was horrible they were not friendly at all. The menu was bad except ... Read More
We love Tim Timmons & Mercy Me so we went on the Mercy Me at sea cruise it was awesome except for the Holland America cruise line. The service in the main dining room was horrible they were not friendly at all. The menu was bad except for 3 nights out of 7 nights. The buffets are bad because you cannot take what you want you have to wait inline and be served. There is nothing to do on the ship thank goodness we had special events all week. The ports we did not get to go to the ports we were expecting to go because they claim that it was too rough waters. It was not rough except for 1 night but we were at sea that day. The fitness center is very small and the staff is not qualified. I would never go on Holland America if they did not have the Christian Cruises. I like the ships and how they look but they need more activities. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
We selected this cruise to celebrate my husband's retirement. The combination of ports and transatlantic cruise was the perfect fit and the time of year was just what we were hoping for. We flew into Venice a couple of days prior to ... Read More
We selected this cruise to celebrate my husband's retirement. The combination of ports and transatlantic cruise was the perfect fit and the time of year was just what we were hoping for. We flew into Venice a couple of days prior to sailing and enjoyed checking out the city. The problems started once we arrived in our cabin and discovered the toilet did not operate. Nor did it work the next day, or the day after that, or the day after that.....7 days of our cruise. No operating toilet. We had a pool of disgusting sewage liquid on the floor of the bathroom on one day AFTER the plumbers left. After reporting the problems to Customer Service, we learned the problem was a continuation from the prior cruise. But we were the problem because we were not able to move to another cabin (my parents were next door and we were unable to leave them). For our "trouble", we were given $250. Seriously. The $250 "compensation" for 28% of our cruise being impacted was unacceptable. I would strongly encourage others to avoid HAL and the Oosterdam in particular. We have cruised both HAL and the Oosterdam in the past and had chosen this cruise over several others. We spent hours with customer service staff, plumbers and not doing what we wanted to do--but hey, we got pretty good finding the "public toilets" around the ship....as this was what customer service told us to do when we needed to do our "business". Yep, couldn't use our cabin's most basic facilities. Needless to say, this overshadowed our entire cruise and has changed our views of HAL. Additionally, there were challenges with the wine stewart. We were charged for wine we didn't drink. We were charged for a chard. ($62/bottle) when we drank a reisling ($32/bottle). Who knows who else he was stealing from. As much trouble as we had with the above, we enjoyed the entertainment, the special speakers and the America's Test Kitchen. Our cabin steward was a trooper in having to perform his usual duties and then also clean up from the mess the plumbers left. The ports and excursions we amazing. One challenge we did have with the excursions is that the descriptions regarding strenuousness and the passengers abilities often did not mesh. So those passengers who were more "agile" were held back by those could not keep up with the guides. Look beyond HAL to another cruise line before booking. Or be prepared for anything to go wrong. And then be prepared to be placated by the customer service staff "I'm so sorry Mrs. ***". These individuals are left to try to clean up problems across the ship without any information on what is causing the issues. We felt sorry for them. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
I chose this cruise because of the wonderful ports offered and because I had previously cruised with Holland and been quite pleased. It was a mistake. . .. a horrible mistake, The ship is in great disrepair aesthetically. From chipped ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the wonderful ports offered and because I had previously cruised with Holland and been quite pleased. It was a mistake. . .. a horrible mistake, The ship is in great disrepair aesthetically. From chipped and peeling paint, to dirty mats and peeling closet rods. The Oosterdam needs to be placed in service and cleaned. Other cruisers were similarly complaining about the food, the dirt, the lack of service etc. . . I learned that the cruise director was leaving the ship at the end of our cruise which may have accounted for her lack of involvement ( unless it was hanging out drinking with other cruise line personnel), but must comment about the lack of activities ( or rote nature of same). While the Oosterdam " strives to offer activities for every age range and nationality," there were very few choices and the entertainment quality was bad. The exception was the BB King band, which was quite good. In addition to the state of the ship, the food offered was poor ( except the one excellent meal enjoyed at the specialty restaurant). Otherwise, the stations close at 9pm, and have old ( as in expired cream cheese, old (smelly) seafood, etc) food options . Pizza however is available pretty much 24/7. Positives: The cabin stewards work tirelessly. The assistant cruise director was great, my spa appointments were reasonably priced and quite good. One concern to note was that we had an overnight in Malta. We docked at Valletta and were due to depart from Gozo the following day. My son and I notified the ship ( and filled out paperwork and provided contact information) to inform them that we would exit the ship from Valletta and meet the ship in Gozo. Because of weather, the Captain decided not to go to Gozo and changed the aboard time in Valletta. WE WERE NEVER CONTACTED, Had it not been for a fellow passenger texting me about the change, we would never have known and missed the ship's departing from Valletta. I tried to let the ship know of this error and my other concerns. The only response I received was when the manager of the Lido deck hunted me down at the fine dining establishment were I had reserved the following night to inquire about my comments about the curdled milk offered for coffee drinkers on the Lido in the mornings. No one from HA addressed the issue of failing to inform us of the port change. Scary. I will never ever cruise HA again and the biggest reason for that decision is that they did not address my concerns. There are numerous fellow passengers who felt the same way. All told, this cruise cost over $10,000.00. I expected a lot more. Don't waste your money on poor service, poor food, and dirty accommodations. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We wanted a Panama canal cruise and picked Holland because we wanted to try them. We have been on 7 cruises before this on other cruise lines. There must be something wrong with the stabilization system on that ship. It never stopped ... Read More
We wanted a Panama canal cruise and picked Holland because we wanted to try them. We have been on 7 cruises before this on other cruise lines. There must be something wrong with the stabilization system on that ship. It never stopped rocking. 15 days of walking like you were drunk. The night entertainment was cheap. Sitting through 45 minutes of piano playing by one man. On another night was one man playing saxophone for 45 minutes. A comedian that was so bad my wife and I left. One good night was a ventriloquist. He was funny. The food for lunch at the buffet was a different way to cook chicken for 6 days or how many different ways are there to serve fish. Very boring. Asian cooking also left us amused. Cashew chicken with no cashews. Sweet and sour pork was bad. Brisket that you could not chew. Tomato soup with barley that didn't taste like tomato and in the cup were only 14 pieces of barley my wife had 17. The food for dinner in the dining room was good though. Other ships we have been on have pool side entertainment. Like ice carving, or dance contests, house races. Pool games. Not this cruise, not a thing. So boring that my wife and I put together jig saw puzzles. The end was that they charge you $13.50 per person per day for hotel services. For what? That is the first time we have seen that. We will never go on another Holland cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
I wanted to have an experience of a life time. I did not however. The food was not worthy of a cruise, the entertainment was nill to say the least. the dining room was very dull and not a great place to be. The Lido deck was very ... Read More
I wanted to have an experience of a life time. I did not however. The food was not worthy of a cruise, the entertainment was nill to say the least. the dining room was very dull and not a great place to be. The Lido deck was very uncomfortable, and not open long enough. There was no food for mid nite snacks. Who does an art auction on a cruise? The selection of food was in bad taste. The ship was cold all the time, no heat even in cabins. Although I have to say the staff was very professional. The Hotel (Four Points) was located in the middle of nowhere. No restaurants, no eateries, no shopping, nothing to do in the town.The plane arrangements were in poor taste, I will not ever use this cruise line again. The travel agency or the agent again. I have never had an experience so bad in my life. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
recommended by a friend but I will not recommend Our cabin was obstructed by a lifeboat and we were not told that. Bedding was not changed the full 2 weeks we were there. Very small smoking area and no smoking in the casino at all. I ... Read More
recommended by a friend but I will not recommend Our cabin was obstructed by a lifeboat and we were not told that. Bedding was not changed the full 2 weeks we were there. Very small smoking area and no smoking in the casino at all. I was not impressed with this cruise line at all and will not cruise again on Holland America. Nor will I recommend this line. Dr wait was more than 2 1/2 hours and it seemed most of the people were sick. Fine dining was very very slow. Bread and buns were hard as a rock. Buffet was ok and offered a nice range of foods, After 8 pm there was nowhere to get anything to eat in the buffet area but cookies and ice cream. People at buffet were very nice though. Most glasses were dirty with a film on them. Several times I had to replace my glass. Not enjoyable at all Read Less
Sail Date: November 2016
This was our longest cruise and we upgraded to a Neptune Suite A big mistake, service was bad, food was bad, the employees attitudes were bad Was like we were a burden to them more to come later, but we wanted folks to know of ... Read More
This was our longest cruise and we upgraded to a Neptune Suite A big mistake, service was bad, food was bad, the employees attitudes were bad Was like we were a burden to them more to come later, but we wanted folks to know of this and we were not alone, a lot and we mean a lot of folks were very unhappy the dinner in the dining room were things you did not want to eat and food on the upper deck was dried out fried chicken, and if you wanted to try a hamburger, you better have a good 30 minutes before you saw you food. and most of the time, the food once you got to your table, NO TRAYS SUPPLIED so you had to always go back, if you wanted more than two dishes, and if you wanted to have a glass of wine or a drink, good luck getting anybodies attention Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
I will never travel Holland again. Been on many cruises nothing for young adults going on. I`m 57, took my 35 year old son on his first cruise. They double charged all our guest credit cards. My son said first and last for him. He call ... Read More
I will never travel Holland again. Been on many cruises nothing for young adults going on. I`m 57, took my 35 year old son on his first cruise. They double charged all our guest credit cards. My son said first and last for him. He call it the Gray Pride cruise.Bad food, Customer service could not even figure my or my sons bill right.Finally found someone that could so we cashed out two days early. Also ordered a bottle of crown for our room 2 weeks early. didn`t come for 24 hours later give or take 2 or 3 hours. They kept saying its on it`s way.Cabin was good for stateroom. Men who cleaned room great. Worthy of a good tip. Nothing much going on at night.No pool party activity. That was the first for me,even through I`m not a big partyier. If your not over 65 don`t take this cruise. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
A comprehensive review of OUR HAL EXPERIENCE on the 09/28/16 Oosterdam 12nt Mediterranean Dreams cruise follows. Summary: With the exception of the two very negative experiences, our overall HAL cruise experience was nothing out of the ... Read More
A comprehensive review of OUR HAL EXPERIENCE on the 09/28/16 Oosterdam 12nt Mediterranean Dreams cruise follows. Summary: With the exception of the two very negative experiences, our overall HAL cruise experience was nothing out of the ordinary. I highly recommend reading through all of our experiences listed, while paying special attention to the deal breaking experiences detailed at the end of this review. This was our 34th cruise, 7th and LAST on HAL. The people, both staff and guests were a good bunch, we met new people and made some new friends. The itinerary was decent and the aspects of some ports, as well as this cruise experience, were better than others. For those who are concerned only with QOS (quality of service) and food, this cruise was par for the course with HAL. Due to our belief in the HAL brand, we paid a small premium, a bit more than we usually would, to go on this cruise. Unfortunately, the faith and trust which had been built over years in the HAL brand, was quickly obliterated in a matter of three weeks (one post cruise). In essence, terrible decision making by HAL ship side management and shore side executive management, ruined our cruise experience and earned (the hard way) a trifecta of terrible ratings in Overall Rating, Onboard Experience and Value for Money. If I could give a negative rating in these experiences, I would. Embarkation: Poor and mismanaged - slow, long queues. Service: On par for HAL, friendly and excellent. In particular the cabin stewards, bar and lido staff. Food: The Dive-In burgers, all beef hot dogs and taco bar were a nice alternative. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner: In the Lido Buffet was very good; the staff and management were most accommodating to our needs. Port day lunch included a pasta bar, tasty sushi rolls and Asian dishes. Main Dining - never bothered due to queues and the variety and quality of the food being literally identical in the Lido. Entertainment: Average at best - The BAND is gone? BBKing and the Ventriloquist Magician were excellent; New dueling pianos, meh. Sing around single pianist was better; Shows, not very good. Enrichment Activities: Average, the computer classes were a nice touch. Family and Children: Not applicable Fitness and Recreation: Clean and average; pools, jacuzzis, free men and womens locker shower, gym and dry sauna. Public Rooms: Average - On average, a mostly orderly ship. Ports: Average - see detailed review below Shore Excursions: Not applicable Disembarkation: Poor - swift and merciless. Fastest we have ever been given the bums rush. Hundreds were awaiting buses, shuttles and cabs, many with reservations for a hour or two later. Cabin Review: Excellent, see details in optional review below. Port Reviews Venice: Romantic, but expensive. Buy a vaporetto pass and validate it before riding. Visit Venice, stay and eat on the Lido. Sarande (Albania): Quaint beachfront esplanade. The best and least expensive "greek" food (15E for two) on this cruise. Kerkira (Corfu): Scenic historic city center and park walks await. Katakolon (Greece): Waterfront, two streets, four blocks of shops. Olympia ruins and Giorgio's Bike Bar ride await. Nafplion: Trendy beach front, downtown and exhausting bay fortress walk await. Athens: Best Duty Free, Parthenon and Acropolis ruins await. It's a big city. Mykonos: Quaint is now over commercialized, Big money bought out the independent's. Iraklion (Crete): Historic city center now glorified brand name outlet mall. Knossos Palace ruins await, big AM queues, empty after 1PM. Santorini: Take the funicular, beware of queues, avoid donkeys. Overrun with small shops. Naples: Capri, Sorrento, train to Pompeii, Herculaneum ruins await. You must be cautious, a young couple was victimized. Do not get on a bus or train without a validated ticket and announce the fact. You will be legitimately fined or caught in the typical Napoletano "we are the police" scam. Pick pockets, purse, phone, camera and jewelry snatchers galore. If you value it don't bring it ashore. As for your bank card and getting cash, do not use the ATM's. Theft of cash, identity, card eating ATM's and non dispensation of cash, while debiting your account are common here. Rome: Nice beach at port of Civitavecchia. Take train to Termini station, see the Colosseum first. Like Naples, it's the big city, beware. Negative experience #1: The Petri Dish Experiment We gave ample monetary consideration in the form of time off, airfare, transfers, excursions and the cruise itself, only to be subjected to a lack of hygienic common sense or a virus known as stupidity on the part of HAL ship side management. To be clear, in 34 cruises taken over a 50 year span, I have never been exposed to such unsanitary conditions and unhygienic practices. In 34 cruises, 31 ships, 9 lines, 122 ports, this was the first time I have contracted any type of illness on a cruise. Many were afflicted as witnessed by multiple conversations with passengers and crew who were impacted and aware of the situation. Aside from the "hacking" going on all over the ship, outbreaks of diarrhea and influenza were brought to my attention by several crew and passengers in the know. Two passengers made the unsolicited comment which I cannot take credit for, "this ship is a floating petri dish". Some of HAL's guests suffered, my wife and I to the tune of 14 days of downtime, misery and inconvenience from influenza (including the last 6 days of the cruise, hence impacting our overall rating and onboard experience). Whether HAL violated CDC health regs is beside the point, as their wanton lack of common sense, ultimately violated their guests trust. The cause? In the prior 33 cruises, I have never seen beverages or ice dispensed in such a haphazard fashion. From the beginning of the cruise, the non touch ice beverage dispensers in the Lido buffet were occasionally non functional, i.e. did not dispense ice or water. When they were functional, unprotected pitchers were often positioned on the drip tray blocking their usage, forcing unnecessary manual usage of make shift ice chests and pitchers. Rather than no touch, the process required a minimum of eight full hand to surface contacts on three different surfaces; chest lid; ice scoop; pitcher. In addition, the ice chest was compromised by the complete insertion of a hand during the scooping process. These conditions were mysteriously allowed to persist for the duration of the 12 night cruise. An email to the Office of the CEO and President at HAL, solicited the following response. "Interestingly enough we had our public health specialist on board this cruise. Non-touch beverage/ice machines were functional during the cruise and not disabled as suggested. There was no outbreak of influenza or diarrhea as suggested. We are not in a position to provide you with a monetary refund." The above response from HAL's Office of the CEO and President (Stein Kruse and Orlando Ashford) shot a clear message across my bow regarding the complaint. Their "Special Advisors" denied all circumstances and issued a complete refutation of my on board experience. The response which in essence called me a liar is so many words, left my family feeling cheated, deceived and lacking any future trust in the HAL brand. We also copied Arnold Donald the CEO of Carnival (Kruse and Ashfords boss), and never received any response. If you think that's the end of this story, sadly it only gets worse. I thought paying to unsuspectingly participate in a covert infectious disease or immunization program, was hitting rock bottom for HAL. Not even close, after reading below, plunging to new depths with U-boat Captain Lehmann-Willenbrock (Das Boot) will seem like a step up from HAL. Negative experience # 2: Terrorizing The Guests We had the extreme displeasure of witnessing a family of six with toddler, having their twelve night vacation completely ruined by HAL's front office and immigration administration. Some one in HAL's shipboard administrative office spotted a clerical error on a Visa, measured in mere hours and decided to flex their authoritative muscle in threatening to throw the mother of the toddler off the ship. Shortly into the cruise, HAL staff informed the family that the mother must debark the ship, a night prior to the cruises termination in Rome. HAL claimed that the mothers Schengen zone visa would terminate during the family's privately arranged post cruise transit to the Rome airport. The following day, HAL claimed the administrative error or visa oversight had been resolved. The next day, HAL staff reversed course again and like Schettino's Costa Concordia ran aground, insisting that the mother would have to debark in Naples. The husband made continued attempts to appeal to common sense. After a long weekend, the husband finally put his foot down and informed HAL staff that they would have to "physically remove" the whole family from the ship, along with their possessions. Magically, HAL staff finally "resolved" the administrative "problem" with "port authorities" and said all was well. The emotionally wrought disruption of this families vacation by HAL was unconscionable. Worse yet, for nine out of twelve nights, we watched this poor family being held hostage and terrorized by HAL's administrative Yo-Yo's (not ok, ok, not ok, ok) as they whimsically waved the sword of Damocle's over this poor families heads. Sailing with distemperate Captain Queeg (The Caine Mutiny) would be a step up from HAL. HAL administrative staff exhibited a complete lack of common sense and misguided application of policy and authority. Paying to be a guest, then being held emotional hostage, replete with psychological torture, redefines hospitality and service as well as taking it to new depths. This is how HAL treat their paying guests? Perhaps HAL should change their name to SSC or Stockholm Syndrome Cruises? Being Christian Fletcher and suffering the harsh punishment, criticism and abuse of Captain Bligh (Mutiny on the Bounty) would be a better fate. At the end of the day, apparently no one in HAL management ship or shore side has ever read Conrad Hilton's BE MY GUEST. In hospitality and service, misrepresentation should not be rife, with "caveat emptor" as the maxim of the day. HAL sure seems to have taken this to heart, as they apparently have forgotten about their most important resource, the customer. HAL is in the hospitality service business, at least that is the rumor which their hygienic practices, shipboard administration and post cruise customer service rapidly dispels. HAL's shore side upper management attitude and lack of customer satisfaction in problem resolution has left this formerly satisfied customer feeling like, sailing with Capt. Jack Sparrow on the Black Pearl (Pirates of the Caribbean), would be an upgrade from HAL. In an effort to deny reality and just recompense, I shudder to imagine what HAL's professional deflection tactics and denial system aka "wall of non stick voodoo teflon" at the Office of The President and CEO, might cook up and attempt to serve future victims. Because of late, that is exactly what the HAL experience left us feeling like. Caveat Emptor. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
This was my 12-13th cruise and we had heard that HAL was among the best -- we found them among the worst. Poor, absent, on the verge of unfriendly, service; room steward constantly complaining about being overworked. Truly awful, ... Read More
This was my 12-13th cruise and we had heard that HAL was among the best -- we found them among the worst. Poor, absent, on the verge of unfriendly, service; room steward constantly complaining about being overworked. Truly awful, repetitious food with few choices (even their BBQ was bad -- cold and VERY few choices); the simplest things, like getting a glass of milk,were all but impossible and the hours for the Lido deck buffet were very short -- tried to get dinner at 8:45 but everything was closed! No service either, just had to push dishes aside and get our own drinks while servers huddled together talking -- every day for 12 days. Entertainment was poor and there were few activities to do onboard. Most irritating was that there was a constant barrage of people selling things that are often free (such as the therapy pool) on other ships. We stayed in a veranda room and it was so small that you couldn't get to the veranda when extra (uncomfortable) bed open. Could only get by the regular bed by going sideways. Will never travel on another HAL ship. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Being an avid traveler and having travelled the world, this trip by far was the most absolute worst cruise I have ever taken. For starters I would have expected that Holland America would send one of their nicer, not to mention newer, ... Read More
Being an avid traveler and having travelled the world, this trip by far was the most absolute worst cruise I have ever taken. For starters I would have expected that Holland America would send one of their nicer, not to mention newer, ships for a ten day holiday cruise and have something special for all of the passengers on Christmas Day. The arrival of Santa was a nice touch but a bit bland. All of the crew members appeared to be going through the motions and at times were snobbish and unfriendly. I have heard more "no" on this cruise from the staff than I have ever experienced on past cruises. There appeared to be an "I don't care" mentality with the staff and this was evident with all crew members starting with the captain, whom we never saw, to the cabin steward. The service, or lack of one, was definitely not worth the $12 per day per person. The cabin steward did the bare minimum and conveniently didn't speak English when requests were made. In fact we barely saw him, any request we had was put into writing only to be ignored. Oh, did I mention that not ONCE was our bed sheets changed during the ten day voyage! Wow, that's service. Moving on to the fiasco known as first seating dining, I have never witnessed such disorder. Our server acted as though this was his first day working on a cruise ship, he was very un organized and full of excuses. We waited fifteen minutes just to get our menus and even longer for water. On our first night he said that we can dine in open seating which I found to be odd and rude, as if he was put out by us being there. What a thing to say the very first night. The second night was even worse, we were the very last to be waited on even though we had arrived much earlier than the other passengers. We had to ask for ice tea three different times and dirty dishes were left on our table, he was too busy catering to the other passengers and completely ignored us. We left in disgust and complained. We were assigned a new table in open seating and had much better service but still not to the level of service we have experienced on other cruise lines. I found the food on this cruise to be subpar both in quality and taste. Everything tasted bland and very small portions. I hated the fact that we couldn't help ourselves to what we wanted. Like little kids we were handed the plate of food and if we asked for extra then there was the eye roll from the server. I also hated the fact that there was a time limit on the buffet. On other cruises there is always some sort of buffet open 24/7. Not on this one, you are at the mercy of their time and you are very limited in selection. As far as ordering room service you are put on hold for upwards of twenty minutes or longer, this seemed to be the norm for any department you were trying to reach. A passenger told me that her daughter was on hold to order a DVD for 48 minutes and fell asleep in the process. The specialty restaurants were a joke in the excessive amount they charged extra per person, have we not payed enough for this cruise already?!!! I wasn't about to pay any more to have another plate of bland crap placed before me. We never used the excursions, found them to be too pricey and we could always get the same things offered at half the price at each port. We did have a negative experience when trying to come back to the ship on one of the tenders (the little boats that you see hoisted up along the sides of the cruise ship) were there was a mechanical problem and it could not be steered properly. After thirty five minutes of being hammered by waves and bumping into the side of the ship's dock they managed to finally pull the tender by ropes enabling us to board the ship. There was no word of apology or any sort of on board credit for the hair raising trauma those of us experienced while on board the tender, and these are the rescue boats?? The whole ship is small and weathered with many broken things. Another passenger told me that their toilet didn't work for a couple of days, nasty. Once again no compensation just excuses. There is a total of two pools,one for adults and one for kids but it would have been nice to have been informed that babies who are not potty trained are not allowed in the pool at the time we made arrangements. The shows were more of a high school musical from the 1800's, in other words oldies but goodies both in music choices and performers. I guess this is to cater to the seniors over 80 that accounted for 85% of the passengers. This is definitely not a cruise for fun loving young couples and families with kids. Will definitely never utilize this line again. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We returned last night from what will now be referred to as 'the trip from Hell on the Oosterclunk'. I will start out by saying we have taken 28 cruises on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Azamara, and in the past 12 ... Read More
We returned last night from what will now be referred to as 'the trip from Hell on the Oosterclunk'. I will start out by saying we have taken 28 cruises on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Azamara, and in the past 12 months, two other Holland America ships. Imagine our disappointment to find that the Oosterdam is in such disrepair that they would offer us an oceanview room on 1st floor right which was filled with 'engine noises' that were evident morning, noon and night...to the point in was in tears and not able to sleep. The ship was apparently full...we were told the only way was if someone left the ship would they be able to offer us another room...we gave up....but after 6 days someone did vacate a room up on 5 and we were able to relocate there. For that we were grateful...however there were other major concerns we found. Lack of sanitization stations throughout the ship...not once did a staff member offer or remind anyone to sanitize their hands and we were amazed by this considering it is now the new normal on all other ships we have been on. The nightly line up at anytime dining was inexcusable...expect to wait 20 - 30 minutes and on formal night we waited over an hour...we gave up some nights and headed to the Lido Buffet rather than beg for a table for two...and that had issues of its own....large groups of staff, and spa staff gather and congest the tables so that guests had difficulties finding places to sit. Food choices were very poor...and I would rate food average at best. Steak tough, few fish options even fewer vegetable offerings ...desserts were often inedible. Staff were not up to par with our other Holland America cruises...and I believe the front office staff are not equipped to handle the many complaints coming their way from disgruntled guests...and there were many we chatted with during our 11 days. The Oosterdam is old, tired and clearly in need of an overhaul. When paying for a cruise holiday, one should not have to beg for sleep, an acceptable dining experience or wonder about the cleanliness of the ship due to lack of sanitization by fellow guests...this is unacceptable. We did receive two letters of apology and a small onboard credit on the last day, however by this time our vacation was ruined and we will no longer be considering Holland America for any future cruises. Please note we have never had to formally complain about anything on any other cruiseline and I do regret having to write such a review but since I use cruise critic to assist in my planning i hope to offer some insight and consideration for others in making their choice. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
After travelling on a number of cruise lines I had 3 bad experiences with Holland America. It does not matter the ship because its the same attitude. May 2013 (Alaska) with friends, September 2014 (Alaska) with my parents and December 2015 ... Read More
After travelling on a number of cruise lines I had 3 bad experiences with Holland America. It does not matter the ship because its the same attitude. May 2013 (Alaska) with friends, September 2014 (Alaska) with my parents and December 2015 Caribbean with my husband) (only because of a small cruise credit) there was problems with cross contamination with food. These issues can be very serious and even lead to death. I will itemize: 1. If you have a shell food allergy you can NEVER eat an omelet because in the Lido they do not have vegetarian only pans. They cook everything in the pans with prawns, meat etc. This also would not work for people who are vegetarian, vegan, Jewish or Muslim. 2. When they make sandwiches they do not follow international standards and use utensils for each container. You have them using a a gloved hand and handling pork, then tomatoes, then turkey, then cheese so you cannot even have a vegetarian sandwich. Sandwiches are the only thing available to each after doing a tour. So we had nothing to eat. 3. They said one dish was a beef roll up and the chef said it only had vegetables added. A six inch piece of bacon is the funniest looking vegetable I saw. Holland America - bacon is pork and a meat!. 4 Lasagna was to have ground beef in it and ended up being beef and pork mixed. Other issues: 5 The gym manager said that exercises for abdominal muscles do not work to decrease waist size and will only increase the waist size. He told me to attend a session that would help. I attended and that session and it was to sell a test and blue green algae which was a product that the owners of the spa and gym sell. 6 The entertainment was poor and repeated frequently. Sometime the people doing the sessions did not even show up like for lessons on the metals drums. 7. Tomatoes in the salad bar were mushy and seems to be 'off'. I discussed this with the guest services manager, executive chef to correct the issue. The executive chef assured me it had been dealt with but the behaviour was witnessed at least 7 least seven times over the 21 days. I sent an email to the company with no response in a week. I would never recommend this line. There are many other line in the same price range. Holland America, like in baseball its 3 strikes you are out!!! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
My wife and I have cruised 15 times several with Celebrity ,Norwegian , Royal Caribbean , one Carnival several Holland America .This cruise was a total disappointment the first two nights the toilet backed up smell was evident we ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised 15 times several with Celebrity ,Norwegian , Royal Caribbean , one Carnival several Holland America .This cruise was a total disappointment the first two nights the toilet backed up smell was evident we complained wanted to move but was told nothing was available ,food at the Lido dinning was mediocre the Vista dinning room was laughable who serves one small scalop for an appetizer , portions for entrees minute .The ship was tired time to move this one out to pasture,staff were going through the motions, the entertainment was ok Avalon were good lot's of energy .Cursicao ,Aruba & Bonaire were nice Samana needs a lot of work . This is our last Holland America cruise never again back to Celebrity Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
I am a 4 star cruiser with Holland America and have always praised how much they do for you and what a wonderful cruise line they are. I can no longer say that. I brought a high school friend with me and we stayed in a Neptune suite. The ... Read More
I am a 4 star cruiser with Holland America and have always praised how much they do for you and what a wonderful cruise line they are. I can no longer say that. I brought a high school friend with me and we stayed in a Neptune suite. The room was great and our stewards were wonderful, but the rest of the staff need a book on manners, especially in the Neptune lounge you will be treated to the rudest person on the ship. He has no idea how to help you with a problem except to say she's worked for the cruise line for 5 years and knows everything and you are not right and I am not screaming the way he did. The food was bland and not fresh. I have never sent a seal back but my salmon smelled so fishy I had them take it away and a meal replacement came when the rest of my table was finished. Trying to get a drink was easy if you jumped them but if you wanted another I suggest standing on the chair and waving your napkin over your head. If it wasn't for the people we were eating with we would have used the Pinnacle Grill every night. I did hear you could get good food there. As for service on the hole ship, there were times you had to go to the bar if you wanted a drink they were so under staffed. Things that they promises to give you has perks, LOL Are never seen or not what you were told. Even the perks of being 4 star were not honored. I left the cruise with my head down and totally embarrassed. What happened to Holland America? Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
My husband & i have recently returned from a 22 night cruise from sydney to vancouver, on holland america oosterdam. the cruise was then continuing onto alaska. We were really looking forward with great anticipation to this 22 day ... Read More
My husband & i have recently returned from a 22 night cruise from sydney to vancouver, on holland america oosterdam. the cruise was then continuing onto alaska. We were really looking forward with great anticipation to this 22 day cruise to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. We have done many cruises over the past number of years, and have always enjoyed it. We have continued to go on cruises as our preferred holiday, because we have thoroughly enjoyed the 'total' experience. However on this cruise, after one week at sea, it soon became evident that this was not going to be the wonderful trip we had saved for & hoped it would be. my husband became very unwell with a 'virus' that was going around the ship. He started on some antibiotics that we had taken away with us 'just in case' we were unwell while we were away for a month. After spending 3 days in bed, and still no better, he visited the ship's doctor. The infirmary was so busy they were making appointments! He was given a different antibiotic, and we received an account for $us180.00. I would say that at least 50% of the passengers & some crew, came down with this debilitating coughing virus. why is it that cruise ships can't draw in the fresh sea air into the air conditioning system, instead of recirculating the germ infested stale air. Even the so called 'fogging' they say happens at night doesn't fix the problem!!! Washing hands to combat bugs is one thing , but the greater problem is in the air that you breath all the time. The remainder of our time away in vancouver & hong kong was totally ruined because my husband was still unwell & by then i had also contracted the same thing. All we could do was to wish our time away to get back home. On our return home, we visited our doctor who said we had influenza, and no antibiotic would be effective for that. We have both spent the past 4 days in bed trying to recuperate! We will never do another holland america cruise again. We would like holland america to refund us 10% of our cruise cost, (we have written to them, but don't think we will ever hear from them), as we were unable to go to the dining room , the evening shows, or partake in the activities provided on the ship. On the positive side our cabin stewards & the staff were all very pleasant and helpful. Joybells. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
This was my first cruise with Holland America Line and must say a very disappointing experience in comparison to other companies. Oosterdam ship is aging, and unfortunately this is not balanced with the service which I would quote as very ... Read More
This was my first cruise with Holland America Line and must say a very disappointing experience in comparison to other companies. Oosterdam ship is aging, and unfortunately this is not balanced with the service which I would quote as very poor for a cruise experience. Thanksfully, you'll find some friendly staff onboard, but overall the level of service is poor. Staff reflect a low level of standards and worse tell you things but doesn't act as said! Curiously staff is using the same facilities than customers on their day off and you lost sense of who is the customer and who is the professional supposed to be in charge to make your cruise an enjoyable experience. Worse... as ship needs some refresh works, workers do execute those from early morning with short notice and refrain from ability to use the outside veranda. Food is ok, but once again below expectation for a ship cruise. It is hardly difficult to say a positive word on this cruise, but once again a few staff members are willing to offer a great experience, but these individual skills are not taken consistently through management not raising the bar and ensuring everyones fully dedicated to service. All in all poor service, aging boot, staff nor dediated to service and customer, ongoing works and lack of professionalism... NEVER BACK ON HOLLAND AMERICA LINE! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
In Short; Not likely to use this carrier in future. Where to Start for the cruise Oosterdam South Pacific Cruise 02/01/2015. To Those who read this & this was their first cruise I am very pleased you had a great time and were treated ... Read More
In Short; Not likely to use this carrier in future. Where to Start for the cruise Oosterdam South Pacific Cruise 02/01/2015. To Those who read this & this was their first cruise I am very pleased you had a great time and were treated well. Previous cruises 4 and Yes were comparing due to cost & promotions attached to this cruise line high expectations for this & very very disappointed. Room was ok as all carrier are similar, Room staff we had was great they did as much as required to make this accommodation enjoyable & did their job very well, Activities non existent or very lack of unless you only wanted to exercise or into beauty treatments, Staff (except the room attendants) need re-training as courtesy or lack of, help always asking for some service of some type but to no avail, I should also mention this would apply to 90% of the staff not all. maybe I am just like to complain but when you have previous cruised you would normally expect at lease the same service regardless of the carrier. Also the small things you experience make the cruise more enjoyable. The ship easy to navigate through, set out pretty well, Food, out of all meals which were tasteless, below average, 3 days before end of cruise running out of simple items always told "Sorry Sir we have run out of that", Beverages very average catering for all countries except Australian tastes. Port Excursions for those who took part enjoyable. Entertainment Very Average have seen high school entertainment of higher standard. maybe a C.D. with a little more attitude for pleasing All passengers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
I have just came back from a cruise on the ms Oosterdam with my sisters and we were mortified to say the least, This wasn't our first time cruising but it will be the last with Holland America I had mildew throughout my bath room. ... Read More
I have just came back from a cruise on the ms Oosterdam with my sisters and we were mortified to say the least, This wasn't our first time cruising but it will be the last with Holland America I had mildew throughout my bath room. The walls were filthy; I had no air conditioning so they gave me a small box fan. The first night of the cruise was so hot that I had to sleep on my balcony, supervisors were notified as when housekeeping came in I was still asleep on the deck furniture. I was told to keep my balcony curtains closed as this would help keep the room cool, I asked them what was the point in me paying for a suite with an ocean view if I had to kep the curtains drawn all of the time. There was gap filler in the bottom of the bath room walls and when I walked out of the bath room I kicked my foot and cut my little toe on the gap filler at the bottom of the shower recess near the bath room door there was more gap filler up the walls that hadn’t been sanded back. The pillows had a dreadful odour of perspiration and dirty hair. The curtain at the balcony door was covered in black grease and the black grease got on my long white pants I sent them off to the laundry but they couldn’t remove the stain so I threw them out, My king bed kept coming apart when I was sleeping on it There was a 2 inch gap from the edge of the mattress and the frame of the base which they covered with a valance so it couldn’t be seen and I ran into it not knowing it was there and badly bruised my lower leg . The sound on my T.V was crackly and of poor quality The sofa lounge was broken. The glass coffee table had four obvious chips in I The water pressure was extremely poor My state room door didn't close properly. My sister staying in room 6115 had bugs /insects and their lava breading in the lights grills in her bathroom and as we were leaving we found more in the living room lights All of these things were reported to the appropriate manager. They could do nothing with the air conditioner or the tv or the bed or the curtain. They did get someone to attempt to fix the mildew but that as a poor attempt. They did fix the gap filler problem. I hope to get some feedback from you as I intend to take this matter further..... They did take $400 of my account and sent me flowers which I thought added to the insult . My sisters and I took this cruise as the beginning of my healing after recently losing my husband of 15 year. He and I had intended to take this cruise and then New Zealand , Antarctica and Alaska my sisters and I decided we would do them with him in our hearts..... .Holland America you wasted my money and shamed yourselves. A waste of my late husband’s life insurance. Shame shame shame. Holland America Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
From the moment we stepped on board it was obvious that this was not going to be fantastic. No lanyards available until i did a sit in at the shop and then they were for Alaska 2014 and Alaska 2013. It took 80 minutes and 3 calls to get ... Read More
From the moment we stepped on board it was obvious that this was not going to be fantastic. No lanyards available until i did a sit in at the shop and then they were for Alaska 2014 and Alaska 2013. It took 80 minutes and 3 calls to get coat hangers for my stateroom. My room card failed twice and my drinks card 4 times. each time i was expected to tramp down to the main deck and have it fixed even though i have a walking disability. Service was lack lustre and room service took up to 90 minutes. The captain was non existent and I only briefly saw him at a mariners lunch where he told us to reverse mortgage our houses and do more cruises. Then he didn't even stay to eat with us. On level 2 you could smell sewerage and the crew were not able or prepared to control or supply entertainment for over 350 under 18s. I was told HAL were a 5 star line. i have traveled with Princess and P&O and frankly they both were 100 times better. Frayed carpets and broken windows. Life boats with railing falling off. Do yourself a favour and don't travel on the Oosterdam 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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