167 Holland America Oosterdam Cruise Reviews

We took this cruise out of Tampa, Fla thirty minutes from our winter residence...We had never used Holland America before... Our cabin #8098 located on the eigth floor in a great place for pool, dinner and lido deck for buffet foods. I ... Read More
We took this cruise out of Tampa, Fla thirty minutes from our winter residence...We had never used Holland America before... Our cabin #8098 located on the eigth floor in a great place for pool, dinner and lido deck for buffet foods. I saw a lot of really old people using scooters and walkers and wheel chairs...Never saw the entertainment director at the pool.The pool two of them had a 10 person compacity, very small. Lots of smokers surrounding the pool area. The cabin was a good size,BUT mold in several places on the shower curtain, the refrig ottom and the glass in the deck... The food the first night in Main dining seating, sent the steak, so touff could not cut with the knife, Chose chicken instead and it was OK. Lido deck for breakfast,eggs always cold,sausge and potatoes too. The only get a good breakfast was to wait on line for a omelet. Coffee machines worked sometimes same with the ice tea machine,always being worked on.. The third night we were all awaken by a alarm, that was put off by mistake,followed a 3 minute via loud speaker speech from the Ship Captain. We went o Mexico Cuzamel nice port, Honduras,not so nice port,Guatemala and Costa Maya Mexico. Excursion were informative and fun, again lots of really old people..Remember I am 70 they were OLD !!!!!! The shows mid ship were great the shows in maintheater were terrible. The Movie theater was great.. The ship needs to be put in for repair and spruced up...This is our eleven ships and can pretty much can compare.This ship needed help. the crew were great. The digatal workshop was superior Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Had family going on this trip and tagged along. First impression of the public spaces was that they were clean and freshly done over. My cousins suite on deck 7 was lovely. Completely redone with a stunning bathroom and large deck. My ... Read More
Had family going on this trip and tagged along. First impression of the public spaces was that they were clean and freshly done over. My cousins suite on deck 7 was lovely. Completely redone with a stunning bathroom and large deck. My room on deck 6 had not been touched and was tired and shabby by comparison. Cracks in the toilet, chips here and there with worn carpet and a tired little sofa. Because I was alone, I paid double for my room so I was doubly disappointed. The best thing was the large screen TV opposite the bed which came in handy since I caught cold immediately upon getting onboard. Very limited selection of channels but a new movie every day. A large number of people on the ship came down with the flu and since the ship had an outbreak in October, I don't think it's gotten over it yet. Many people were quarantined in their rooms for a great deal of the 2 week trip. As it was, anyone who had been sick was not allowed to debark in Grand Cayman Island. To their credit, the staff in the Medical Facility were quite competent and prepared for most anything. They were thorough and professional, calling to see how I was doing after my visit. The rest of the staff were also caring and professional and the food quite good. We ate a number of times in Pinnacle Grill which was excellent and enjoyed BB King's show. The Lincoln Center quartet were quite good even though they wound up being a trio when one of the musicians hurt his finger. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We choose this cruise because we were on the same ship back in October thru the Med. I am getting tired of Holland. The entertainment is lacking and they seem to be nickel and diming for everything after having charged a pretty hefty price ... Read More
We choose this cruise because we were on the same ship back in October thru the Med. I am getting tired of Holland. The entertainment is lacking and they seem to be nickel and diming for everything after having charged a pretty hefty price in the first place. We choose this ship for the BB King Blues Lounge. That was the best entertainment on the ship. However, even that was just OK. The main stage entertainment was good on the last show of the cruise. All the other shows were "iffy" at best. The service was very friendly and nice. The dining was OK but the food tastes got old quick for us. Some of the port stops were disappointing at best. The last two stops, we docked at around 8:00Am and were leaving by 1:00PM. We barely had time to get out for our tours. And we were not necessarily dock close to the port itself so we di not really have any time to walk around the town/port. I told my wife that we might want to consider cruising with another line. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Having not sailed with HAL for some time , this trip was I consider not up to the standard I had been used to. Lido now called the Lido Market..Food choice and presentation was not as expected and when you see display areas taken up ... Read More
Having not sailed with HAL for some time , this trip was I consider not up to the standard I had been used to. Lido now called the Lido Market..Food choice and presentation was not as expected and when you see display areas taken up with numerous bread assortments normally indicates a cost saving measure !! Closing the Lido at 830 pm.. !!! another cost saving measure. People entering the lido in their swim wear and no shoes !!! Even to the extent of wearing their bathrobes too This would never had been allowed when I sailed in the past with HAL There seems to be a less formal attitude to cruising, more and more people using the Lido If this trends continues HAL need to seriously look at increasing the lido area and facilities Either due to lack of staff or whatever very slow to clear tables and several times we had to go and refill our water glass and ice tea.. no one around Vista Restaurant no fault there Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We have been sailing with HAL since 2004, are 3-star mariners, and probably in the group often referred to here as the "cheerleaders." That being said, if this was my first voyage with Holland America, it would probably be my ... Read More
We have been sailing with HAL since 2004, are 3-star mariners, and probably in the group often referred to here as the "cheerleaders." That being said, if this was my first voyage with Holland America, it would probably be my last. Embarkation This sailing was the first of the season in the Caribbean, and the ship had been swept with Noro virus on the Atlantic crossing. This wasn't our first experience boarding a ship which had the virus, so we knew there would be delays at embarkation. Guests were told that boarding would begin at 1 pm asked to arrive at the port of Tampa no earlier than 1 so enhanced cleaning could be done and the ship inspected by the CDC prior to our boarding. We learned that the back to back passengers, who would continue the voyage with us, had to be off the ship by 8:30. They were taken on a tour of Tampa and Saint Pete if they didn't have another tour scheduled or have plans on their own. We arrived at 1 and used valet parking again this trip (pre-paid online). So easy -- pull into the drive at terminal three and there is a sign directing you to the proper lane. We gave our keys to the attendant, unloaded our bags and wheeled them across the drive, handed bags off to the porter, stopped at the valet desk. We gave the desk agent our printed parking ticket in exchange a receipt and headed up the escalator to the terminal entrance. There were at least a 1,000 passengers standing in a line which snaked around the side of the building. It was a beautiful, clear sunny day. Temps were in the 80s, but the sun was brutal! There was a line of benches that some of the older guests could use, but they were in the full sun, too. About 1:30, attendants wheeled out carts with paper bags containing a small bottle of water and snack bar for those waiting in line. It was most welcome. We did wonder however, why the terminal wasn't open so at least a few hundred of the folks at the front of the line could get out of the heat. I understand that the building is capacity controlled, but the shore staff was in place, and they could have checked in the first batch of passengers and allowed them to sit in the empty chairs that waited just inside the doors until they were filled. And allowed more of those standing outside to fill the serpentine waiting line in front of the check-in stations and benefited from the AC. This would have speeded up embarkation since those who were checked in and waiting in chairs could have immediately boarded and those in the indoor line could begin processing. As it was, the doors to the terminal didn't open until the ship had been cleared about 1:45. It may be that there are regulations that kept us out of the building, but it just didn't make sense. So the terminal opened, and we began moving forward about 1:45. Once the line inside was full, the progress stopped and we waited for them to process. We got inside around 2:15. The checkin was efficient, and we were onboard by 2:45. I don't know how long it took to get the remainder of the pax checked in. Cabin Cabins were open as soon as we got on. We were in SS 6054. The room has been updated with a fresh color palate -- cream, taupe, and black. Comfy bed, plenty of closet space. Just what we expect on a HAL ship. There is a large flat panel Interactive TV over the sofa. We think it is 52". Movies, TV, radio, news. No access to your onboard account. Electrical and USB outlets are located above each nightstand. The bathroom has two sinks each with a mirror, a jetted tub with shower, and a separate shower stall. There is no medicine cabinet or shelves above the counter, but there is a shelf on each side below the vanity and a small drawer in the center with a built in trash container below it. I only saw our cabin steward twice during the entire week -- he and his companion covered a large portion of our passageway. But our cabin was serviced while we were at breakfast each morning and while we were at dinner each evening. Chocolates AND towels animals included. There was always ice, plenty of towels, lotion, soap. Cabana When we booked the Oosterdam, I didn't realize at first that Retreat Cabanas had been added during the latest dry dock. It is one of my favorite things about sailing with HAL -- I LOVE always have a place to lounge either in the sun or the shade! I booked as soon as I found out. The cabanas on Oosterdam were $100 more than on the other ships which have them and they are configured differently. They are probably two feet wider and two feet deeper than the ones on Eurodam and NA. Inside the cabana is a credenza that has towels, robes, slippers behind one door and glasses, plates, napkins, salt, pepper behind the other. Across from the credenza is a modular sectional -- three seats and two ottomans. One of the ottomans serves as "a table." This bistro table and chairs was the only thing that I missed from our former cabanas. Just outside the cabana, are two lounges for your use. This area is an extension of your cabana with the addition of hedges separating you from your neighbors and providing a bit of privacy. The cabana guys couldn't have been more attendant. Ice, water, fruit, coffee, snacks, lunch, champagne -- all served with good humor and efficiency. I hurt my wrist while we were in Key West and they brought ice wrapped in a towel for me. Couldn't have asked for more. Canaletto We chose to go to dinner the first evening at Canaletto. The menu is the same as it has been and we found and ordered our favorites. Good food and very pleasant staff. Main dining room -- anytime dining room on deck two Dinner second night in main dining room. Arrived at 7 pm with no reservation and expected a wait. Told the maitre d would would be happy to share a table. He gave us a beeper and told us to wait in the Pinnacle Bar. The bar had no empty seats and was full of patrons holding beepers, so we walked back and sat in the Lincoln Center Stage area many diners waiting here as well. We waited 55 minutes before we were called -- far longer than the 30 minutes we were told to expect. This is where it gets really bazaar. We were escorted to our table though the second floor dining room where at least a third of the table had NO diners. We maneuvered past table after empty table and were taken up the central staircase to the dining room on deck three and seated at a banquet table for six. We were seated facing the wall with the room to our back. After a few minutes, our waiter introduced himself and took our orders. No other guests were seated with us, and we had passed plenty of people still waiting in the lounges and standing outside the dining room on deck two. As we waited for our food we turned and looked around at the tables adjacent to us. There was a table for four with two patrons, two tables for six with only two seated at each, and and a third table for six had a mother with her two daughters. The mom and her girls had been waiting with us and were called about twenty minutes before we were. After we finished our appetizer, one of the maitre d's asked if we would like to move to a table with more people. We told him we were fine. We couldn't fault the wait staff; they were efficient and very pleasent, and our meal was good. Not great, but good. So... Why were we (and many others) kept waiting when there were many empty tables? Why were the tables that were utilized not filled with the appropriate number of guests? Why were we seated facing the banquet with our backs to the room? And why, in heavens name, would we be asked to move to another table half way through our meal? We decide to give the dining room a second chance and went to breakfast the next morning, and we arrived about ten minutes after it opened at 8 am. We were immediately seated at a table for six by the window with two other couples. Things were looking up! Coffee was poured, pastries offered, orders taken. Pleasant conversation with pleasant people. 45 minutes later we still didn't have any food. The maitre d arrived and announced our eggs would be delayed. (Please. We placed our orders 45 minutes ago. Our eggs have already been delayed.) I asked the reason, and he said that the eggs are prepared "a la minute" so it took time. I think eggs are always prepared "a la minute," and I've never waited more than 40 minutes, plus there was an undetermined additional wait-time to come. We excused ourselves and went to the Lido. Five minutes after arriving, we had freshly prepared "a la minute" eggs and were enjoying them at a shady, breezy table next to the SeaView pool. So, we didn't go back to the main dining room. We ate breakfast and dinner in the Lido, and lunch either in our cabana, ashore, or the Lido. The Lido food was fine, and service courteous and thoughtful. We found that as the week progressed there are more and more folks eating dinner upstairs with us. Perhaps they didn't enjoy the MDR delays in service either. Lido Crew members served everything in the Lido for the first few days. The buffets all had plastic cling wrap covering the front so it was impossible for anyone to reach in and help themselves. No salt and pepper on the tables. Little packets if you asked. Lido never seemed too crowded. Finding a table wasn't a problem. When we cruise, we have always considered dinner an event, but HAL really let us down on this sailing. The experience in the Lido was far better than our forays into the dining. This makes me sad. There were things onboard that we loved -- probably more than things we disliked -- but the chance to enjoy our meals in a beautiful room with attentive service and a tableful of interesting people, left us very disappointed. The crew were great and REALLY worked hard. I think there were just too few of them. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We wanted a cruise coming back to the USA with Tampa as the final port for us as we live in central Florida. Little did we expect the whole ship to be under restrictions because many passengers had a virus - this really puts a burden on ... Read More
We wanted a cruise coming back to the USA with Tampa as the final port for us as we live in central Florida. Little did we expect the whole ship to be under restrictions because many passengers had a virus - this really puts a burden on the staff especially at meal time. Everywhere you went people were coughing and not always into a tissue! IMHO the filters should be replaced before every cruise for all cabins and public gathering areas. The cruise itself was as smooth as glass - didn't feel like we were on a ship. As far as the ship is concerned, the carpeting, on floors where cabins are located, is very rumpled which could lead to a safety issue for the many "older" folks who take HAL cruises (me included!). We had an obstructed view cabin looking out over a couple of tenders and I wondered, with all the rust and frayed cables whether they'd be in shape should there be a need to use them. Sorry HAL, but this ship is tired even though the crew was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I was so excited to take my friend with me to see Greece, especially the islands. I am 72 and my friend is 70 and has claustrophobia so we decided to spend some extra money and get a Neptune Suite. We were so excited until we arrived at ... Read More
I was so excited to take my friend with me to see Greece, especially the islands. I am 72 and my friend is 70 and has claustrophobia so we decided to spend some extra money and get a Neptune Suite. We were so excited until we arrived at our room. I couldn't believe it was a Neptune Suite it was so much smaller because about a fourth of the room was taken up with a handicapped bathroom. It had a shower you for wheelchair person to sit and be hosed down, and lets the water get on the floor-slippery, dangerous to us. The bathtub was so deep we had to hang onto the handicapped rails to actually climb into it. We both almost fell a few times, made this a problem for us as well. The curtains were on electric button so you had to keep them either closed all the way or open all the way. With the sun beating down it made the room too hot when open during the day, and the view was basically tunnel vision so you could watch the water move from the engine. The cruise itself was good but the room was a nightmare for us. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
The old joke says HAL cruises are the ones on which senior citizens take their parents. But both groups are dying off, one by one, and the company can’t seem to define its replacement audience. I rate this cruise a B-plus, but only ... Read More
The old joke says HAL cruises are the ones on which senior citizens take their parents. But both groups are dying off, one by one, and the company can’t seem to define its replacement audience. I rate this cruise a B-plus, but only just. We purchased a low-cost upgrade to a Signature Suite, which gave us the best cabin we’ve had on a cruise ship in many years, including the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept on. What else was praiseworthy? The service, in almost every area. HAL’s Filipino and Indonesian staff are still the best at sea. Our cabin steward was a gem, ditto our waiters in the dining room. The send-out 48-hour laundry service worked just fine. We sent out four bags ($30 each): two were returned within 12 hours and all the clothes were perfectly washed. The main dining room was excellent. I found too few creative main courses on the menu, and too many repeats, but the array of appetizers and tasty desserts made up for it; often, we would have three appetizers plus dessert and be fully satisfied. Holland America has cut back portion sizes but that’s no problem for us; in fact, gigantic American-style entrees are a turn-off so their absence is no loss. We spent much more on ship’s shore excursions than we normally do, trying (successfully) to spend the US$1,674 in onboard credits our suite deal gave us. The excursions were off-puttingly overpriced ($199.95 to go to Seville, for example) but, with a couple of exceptions, the quality was good. The shorex manager was highly informed and most helpful. In more than half the 18 ports we did our own thing, often using hop-on buses to get around and see the highlights. Some passengers made use of the excellent European train systems to reach shoreside attractions (often a long way from the port) and save lots of money. The Front Desk was mostly efficient and responsive, unusual for almost any cruise line these days. My room-service breakfast showed up on or before time every day, although, typically, the ship ran out of Raisin Bran. The ship’s photographers – employees, not contractors – were laudably respectful of passenger privacy: to them, “no thanks” actually meant no thanks. The cruise line’s air program worked fine; transfers, embarkation and disembarkation were generally smooth with an occasional glitch. But there were too many negatives. The Lido Market tops the list. Some passengers liked it; we certainly didn’t. In an effort to save money by cutting back food consumption, HAL has eliminated trays, forcing passengers to juggle plates of food. Plates, cups and glasses are smaller and most portions are doled out by crew members, which means you seldom get the amount you want. The alternative is to pick up pre-packaged food, like sandwiches which taste like cardboard. I actually lost weight on this cruise, thanks to the Lido and the Dive-In hamburger place, where the meat was overwhelmed by huge and boring buns. And what kind of cruise line runs out of lemonade? This cruise offered big discounts on cabin fares, so the line has to make it up somewhere. Bar and wine prices seemed sorely inflated. There was no longer a Captain’s Toast or welcome party, replaced by a Q&A with the boss-man. Unfortunately, when asked about Holland America’s vision for the future he rattled on about the next new ship at the builder’s yard. That’s not a vision, needless to say. The entertainment was mediocre, not a big surprise except that the line has been touting improvements of late. The ship’s orchestra was outstanding, but the song-and-dance troupe reached only a college-level standard of performance. Featured performers were by no means noteworthy, no comedian appeared during 24 days, and four nights were devoted to movies and documentaries. The Mainstage Theatre itself is very badly designed: lousy sightlines, too many pillars, uncomfortable seats and an audience sequestered far from the stage. HAL has added three nightclubs – B.B. King’s, the Lincoln Center Stage and the Billboard twin singer-pianists. The classical musicians were talented and popular, but the overall impact was unimpressive. The Oosterdam was pretty dead after 10 p.m. It was also pretty quiet in daylight, even on the four at-sea days: very few attractive events but an emphasis on anything which increased revenue for Holland America. Little wonder we spent lots of time in our cabin! Three more things, none unimportant when you’re aboard for 24 days. There were far too many PA announcements, most of them intended for crew only and therefore an annoyance to passengers. The Cruise Director, Hamish Davies, talked exclusively in cliches and affected a sophomoric enthusiasm. The Voyage App on the in-cabin TV was close to useless, lacking most of the data of the system it replaced. And, last, I was shocked by the lifeboat drill, a very serious business and long a Holland America strength. We were rushed through it, there was no officer present; crew members on hand seemed only to care that they’d scanned your cabin keycard to prove you were there. The safety information provided was disjointed and disorganized; one shivers to think what chaos might occur in the event of a real emergency. So, a B+ for this cruise. We hope HAL decides what kind of cruise line it wants to be; in the meantime, we’ll be back only with a great itinerary plus a significant upgrade and a big discount. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We had a great stateroom, wonderful staff and above average food. Our stateroom was part of a refurbishment effort that installed a series of suites and verandahs in the stern.. Highly recommended. The staff was wonderful. Our cabin ... Read More
We had a great stateroom, wonderful staff and above average food. Our stateroom was part of a refurbishment effort that installed a series of suites and verandahs in the stern.. Highly recommended. The staff was wonderful. Our cabin attendant Eko was kind, attentive and eager to make sure we were happy. A stand-out was a table steward in the dining room - Nur. He is one of the kindest individuals we have ever met. Something happened that will make us reluctant to come back to Holland America. The ships operate at such low profit margins that passengers are constantly bombarded by excursions, jewelry sales, etc. We stopped in Ajaccio for a day and we decided to walk to the islands legendary beaches. About two miles into the walk were hit with the worst land squall of our lives. We were initially pelted with dirt, small rocks, vegetation followed by torrential rain, hail and flash lightening. After being stuck in a bus stop for over an hour, we ran through the storm to a hotel where they gave us blankets and warm drinks. Everyone in the hotel knew about the weather. In fact, the whole island had been alerted by the news. The storm was so bad it caused the collapse of a theatre in town and injured a wide variety of people. The captain had this information and yet we didn't hear any warnings about dangerous weather. We even have screen shots of the weather. We were quite lucky. We got back safely. But, our experience of Holland America was severely impacted. This was my third cruise with Holland America. We are going to be taking a break with the company. We believe it is time to spend more money on a cruise or to go back to more independent travel. At least we will not have to rely on others for our well-being. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We often take a year-end cruise in the Mediterranean and enjoy visiting various ports along the way. This cruise focussed on the western Mediterranean and then crossed the Atlantic, ending up in Tampa. In all, we spent 39 days on the ... Read More
We often take a year-end cruise in the Mediterranean and enjoy visiting various ports along the way. This cruise focussed on the western Mediterranean and then crossed the Atlantic, ending up in Tampa. In all, we spent 39 days on the Oosterdam (two 12-day collector cruises and a 15-day transAtlantic cruise). Although we were supposed to join the ship in Civitavecchia, our Alitalia flight from Toronto was delayed four hours and this meant our arrival time was set for 5:00 pm - the ship was sailing at 6! Luckily we had booked our flight with Holland America and, once we phoned to alert them, they arranged for us to fly on from Rome to near Florence where we were put up in a hotel overnight and driven to the ship in Livorno the next day. Full marks to Tom in HAL's Seattle Office on this one for arranging everything - on arrival we found a bottle of sparkling wine in our cabin and $50 credit each for our meals. Having sailed with Holland America several times since 2007, we have noticed that while service levels from the Indonesian cabin stewards and waiters remain excellent, the rest of the experience is slowly being devalued. The first thing we noticed was that under normal circumstances, it's very difficult to get a seat in the Lido for breakfast or indeed lunch. This is thanks to the extra passenger capacity added since the ship was built. Another sign of decline is that the latest re-fit has almost done away with the Library which is now part of the Explorer Cafe and Crow's Nest. There is no librarian, you simply take the books that you want away with you (they must stay on the ship). If you like the quiet atmosphere of the library and a place to use your laptop on other ships, you'll hate this arrangement as both the noise of the cafe, art and Crow's Nest activities invade this small corner making it difficult to focus. Food is still generally good but decline is creeping in - for example, the only milk available for your cereal is UHT milk (with its distinctive taste) and it comes only in Tetra Paks meaning that you have to insert the straw and squeeze the carton repeatedly (think milking the cow) in order to pour your milk. Full fat plain yogurt is not available. In terms of sanitation, for the last leg of our trip, we noted that many passengers had no idea how to keep their hands off the food and plates. They would touch food or dishes / cutlery etc and return it. One gentleman was seen picking just the fruit he liked off individual fruit plates and putting them on his own. There should have been better supervision to deal with people like this. The last few days were spent in 'Code Red' thanks to an inevitable Norovirus outbreak. As always, an excellent room service menu is available with prompt and cheerful service and we found it to be a good alternative to the Lido crowds at breakfast. We had fixed seating for dinner in the main dining room and our waiters were excellent although they seem to have to work harder than ever before. One thing in large supply is wine stewards but we don't usually bother with wine since wine prices are high and the quality low. Our cabin stewards were excellent and worked around our schedule. Entertainment: there was a fair amount of entertainment but we generally like early nights. I took part in the quizzes but entertainment staff often repeat the same old questions making it a memory rather than a knowledge competition. Some staff tend to drone on about themselves or the many money-making activities on the ship. We didn't use the gym - the spa is very expensive. I find that keeping off the elevators and walking a mile on sea days helps keep the pounds off. We became 4-Star mariners by the Transatlantic portion and though we were entitled to 4-Star privileges, we had to pester front office staff several times to expedite this and missed out on our free wine-tasting. Not a big deal but if they're offering this, passengers shouldn't have to chase it down. It was nice having free laundry privileges. Speaking of Front Office Staff, we found a great variation in their levels of willingness to help. Often we would report a problem and find that we would have to explain everything all over again the next day since the original person failed to make notes. One was outright rude and accused us of being freeloaders when we asked about a wine package that HAL had given us. Lastly, we paid HAL for a transfer from the ship to Tampa Airport. The process was a total shambles with porters holding people to ransom inside the terminal and total chaos getting onto the bus organized by HAL. A sign indicating where to catch the bus would have helped. Once we had scrambled onto the bus, we had to get off to check that our luggage had been loaded. Adding to the fun, the air conditioner apparently couldn't operate if the bus wasn't moving so we sat and sweltered through the loading and checking process. Hint: take a taxi - they're cheaper, cooler and you won't worry about your luggage. In summary, we find that we're outgrowing Holland America - the quality of the experience is going down. They seem to be moving towards being a budget cruise line and attempting to extract money from passengers once they're aboard. We'll be looking elsewhere for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We selected this itinerary because of the many stops on the Spanish coast. In that regard, it did not disappoint. Malaga / Granada was amazing.... Alicante was also a delightful port. Calvi turned out to be quaint and charming. ... Read More
We selected this itinerary because of the many stops on the Spanish coast. In that regard, it did not disappoint. Malaga / Granada was amazing.... Alicante was also a delightful port. Calvi turned out to be quaint and charming. Likewise, Monaco and Nice were wonderful. The only port that was a complete waste of time was Gibraltar. 15 hours to look at a ROCK..... think about it. If you're given the option, don't bother. 9 ports of call in 12 days is too aggressive, in retrospect. Too much running and not enough relaxing. This was our first Holland America cruise, and we looked forward to it with great anticipation, having heard so many praises of the line over the years. Our post-cruise impressions are mixed. The Oosterdam is a beautiful ship, and impeccably maintained. Our Neptune suite was comfortable and spacious - the recent refurbishment made our cabin look elegant and modern. Having the concierge service in the Neptune Lounge was a very nice perk. Happy, helpful people always there to tend to your every need. The service on the ship - in every venue - was excellent. From the cabin stewards, to the bar staff, restaurant workers... everyone delivered top-notch, friendly service. Where Holland America and the Oosterdam fell down - and fell down badly - was with the food. We're not trough diners... having food slopped onto a plate - no matter how elegant the surroundings - is not something we seek out in our everyday life, so it's not something we seek out on vacation, either. We took one meal there, and it was palatable. We like that HAL has its workers serve the food, rather than every guest slopping rations for themselves. Sometimes, the food in the dining room was wonderful. And other nights, it was simply awful - practically inedible. The unevenness of the food quality made every night a crap shoot, as far as what we could expect. The presentation was always nice, but that which you were being served was often mediocre-to-out-and-out-nasty. Rubber lobster tail and soggy shrimp were among the more memorable failures. Likewise, one night's first course offering described a "potato and roasted kale soup with chicken sausage"....what was delivered to me was clear broth with a few potato cubes, one small kale leaf and CHICKEN HOT DOG SLICES in the bowl. In fairness, there was some delicious salmon, beef tenderloin and a frozen Gran Marnier souffle...all of which were wonderful. We dined once at the Pinnacle Grill and it deserves every kudo it receives. The cedar planked halibut, as well as the Filet Mignon were both amazing. However, it seems to me, that when you're paying $550-plus per day for 2, you shouldn't have to shell out an additional $70 per day just to guarantee a good dinner. Another night, we tried Canaletto.... they do a good job with frosted glass to try and isolate you from the fact that you're surrounded by the trough. The appetizers were very tasty. However, our pork loin was 90% fat...easily. When the hostess stopped by our table to check on how we liked our meal, the minute she saw the disappointment in our faces, she immediately said "oh, I guess it was too much food!" In other words, unless you love it, she doesn't want to know about it. The BB King lounge was great - we spent several evenings there and enjoyed it much. The only mainstage performance we attended was a British comedian, and he was excellent. The "formal", "semi-formal" and "casual" which we were used to have been replaced by "smart casual" and "gala". And, of 12 nights, only 2 were designated "gala". I would venture a guess that about 50% of the guests took the dress suggestion to heart. 25% did not differentiate between smart casual and gala...and the other 25% seemed to take joy in being complete slobs. This would have been more tolerable, had the Maitre'd simply grown a pair, and had politely directed people dressed in t-shirts to the trough. But no....everyone, no matter how disgustingly they were dressed - were escorted into and seated in the dining room. I get that they are paying customers, too. But part of the cruise experience is following protocol. If you want to be as big a slob at sea as you are at home, my question is "why leave home?" Very, very disappointing. I didn't expect more from the public at large, but I did expect more from Holland America. Between the frequently lousy food and the pandering to the lowest common denominator, the Carnival influence on the cruise line was painfully evident. This was our first, and also our last Holland America cruise. We will cruise again, but I realized after this trip that we need to be more discerning and also reach more deeply into our wallets. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
The ship was fine, the Neptune Suites seemed smaller and less well laid out than other ships on the Holland line. The entertainment was only OK at best, but perhaps that was because we only had 2 sea days. What was surprising to me, having ... Read More
The ship was fine, the Neptune Suites seemed smaller and less well laid out than other ships on the Holland line. The entertainment was only OK at best, but perhaps that was because we only had 2 sea days. What was surprising to me, having been on several other Holland America cruises was that the quality of food had declined so dramatically. I took my 14 year old granddaughter who loves to eat, and she lost 5 lbs in 12 days, because she found the meals of such poor quality. I guess they are fine for those who like duck, lamb, and beef, which they seemed to have on a daily basis. We both ordered the salmon one night and found it to be terrible and only ate one bite. We come from Pacific Northwest where salmon is pretty much a staple, and we had no idea salmon could actually be prepared in a way that was not edible. However the service was good. We opted to take tours by locals rather than the ship tours most of the time. They were far less expensive and no more than 12 people. I would highly recommend booking local tours ahead of time. You see more, have better guides, have an opportunity to stop for photos, etc. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We chose this cruise because of the remarkable itinerary. Even though Kusadasi had to be canceled by HAL due to political unrest in Turkey, the substitution of visits to Rhodes (fine) and Albania (disappointing) was no hardship. Port ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the remarkable itinerary. Even though Kusadasi had to be canceled by HAL due to political unrest in Turkey, the substitution of visits to Rhodes (fine) and Albania (disappointing) was no hardship. Port excursions provided memories not to be forgotten and a host of photogenic opportunities. The cabin stewards were fantastic and, in general, the crew were very helpful and pleasant. After a half-dozen cruises on HAL, we felt that the cuisine and entertainment were only mediocre on the Oosterdam. The veranda cabin experience, however, proved to be a nightmare during the last two weeks. The ship's hotel director and security were grossly ineffective in curbing the noise and partying in the adjacent cabin from about 11:00pm to 4:00am despite our complaints. The 5-star itinerary, 3-star cuisine and entertainment, and zero-star cabin experience warrant no more than an overall three stars. We have decided to return to cruises with Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We chose this cruise for two reasons: Ports of call and price. The deal we got on this cruise for the 5 of us (Me and the wife, 3 kids (age 20,18,15) for 2 staterooms (Signature suite + large inside stateroom across from each other) was ... Read More
We chose this cruise for two reasons: Ports of call and price. The deal we got on this cruise for the 5 of us (Me and the wife, 3 kids (age 20,18,15) for 2 staterooms (Signature suite + large inside stateroom across from each other) was spectacular - so it was hard to say no. Both the cabins were very nice - good size ,the bathrooms in particular large compared to most cruise ships we've been on. Embarkation went smoothly - we had spent the night in Rome, and took the train to Civitavecchia, and a cab to the ship from there (we got lucky and got a van that fit all of us in one go - cost was 25 Euro) . We stood in line for maybe 10 minutes to get checked in, and another 10 minutes to complete the process (Taking pictures,scanning passports, etc) - we got on the ship around 1pm, and our staterooms were ready. Food in general was a disappointment - the service outside of dinner was hit and miss - 4 in the family has a gluten allergy, and while at dinner they took great care of us (pre-ordered the night before) it was complete hit and miss other times. Often the gluten free pancakes or waffles ordered came out cold, and the gluten free pizza was often soggy. We've been on other cruise lines were the food allergy is registered with our stateroom, so when we check in for breakfast or lunch, the server is made aware - makes the whole process a lot smoother. The service at meals outside of dinner was completely hit or miss, we had a tour in the morning one port, went down to the restaurant about an hour before our meeting time, and almost didn't have time to finish eating before heading to the meeting point because service was so slow. Sometimes at breakfast they filled your water and coffee constantly, other times it took ages to get a refill. Similarly at the buffet, sometimes they cleared tables fast, other times you were stuck with dirty dishes on the table from the people before you for quite some time. Entertainment in general was a complete disappointment ,easily the worst we've experienced on any cruise ship. There was a couple of ok shows - but for the most part we decided to just skip them. In general we found the port information lacking, and in some cases the supplied maps inaccurate. The ports of calls on this itinerary was why we picked this cruise, though due to the political climate in Turkey, two of our ports got changed out - which I am glad they did, even though we missed a port that my daughter was looking forward to. Disembarkation was complete chaos. They called far too many people at once, clogging the midship area, and the shuttle in Venice to get out of the port was overloaded. I'd sail on this ship and Holland America again, but it would have to be another great deal like this one. I certainly would not seek them out again. Though if I do sail them again, I think I'll stick to the Signature Suite category - that was certainly worth it for the added space. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We chose this cruise because we love to cruise to Greece and this cruise offered ports we have not visited. We have been on 40 cruises and do three a year. This ship was very boring because there was little entertainment. One night they ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we love to cruise to Greece and this cruise offered ports we have not visited. We have been on 40 cruises and do three a year. This ship was very boring because there was little entertainment. One night they showed "Jungle Book Movie" for the 8pm & 10pm shows come on. Lucky for us the movies in the staterooms where free. I have never spent so much time in my cabin. Very little music anywhere on the ship. The A/C in the cabin worked now and then. The toilet did not flush so we have to us public one. The shower falsest had to be replaced because only hot water came out. The refrigerator did not get cold just one thing after another. The best thing about the ship was the service. Dining in the main dining room was hit or miss but service was the best we'd had in years. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
The beverage package is not of any value. Like most lines the internet package is expensive though the coverage was pretty good on this cruise. The coffee shop is a real weakness, the hours start at 8:00 which is late to wait for a real ... Read More
The beverage package is not of any value. Like most lines the internet package is expensive though the coverage was pretty good on this cruise. The coffee shop is a real weakness, the hours start at 8:00 which is late to wait for a real cup of coffee. The dining room was quite nice and the food there was excellent. The wine tasting event was very very poor, and the wine selection over all was weak. The embarkation was the best that we have ever had as was the disembarkation. The ports were all great. The entertainment was not why we cruise so the only thing that we took in was a night in the Blues Bar which was enjoyable for one evening. Other than the man in charge of seating in the dining restaurant, no one went out of their way to make our trip special or memorable. The low ceiling in a lot of the public areas made it feel small. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Although we have built up points on 13 cruises with another line we had heard good things about Holland America so we decided to give it a go when they made an offering with ports-of-call which were new to us. After spending a week in ... Read More
Although we have built up points on 13 cruises with another line we had heard good things about Holland America so we decided to give it a go when they made an offering with ports-of-call which were new to us. After spending a week in Lucignano we arrived at Cevitavecchia around 11 to find the streets mobbed with tourists. Do not be fooled, the north entrance by the traffic circle is the one to use for embarkation, the south entrance by the old fort is for pedestrian traffic on day excursions. (If attempting a drop off for Avis/ Budget do not look for a company parking area, simply park on the street as close as possible and walk into their office) Arriving at the Holland America check-in area we were required to fill-in a short info sheet, were issued a number and waited about half an hour for our number to be called to allow access to security and then the ship. We were allowed a bottle of wine each in our carry-on luggage and had no problem with our two bottles of bubbly. Our cabin, luggage already arrived, was ready immediately and we were enjoying the ship's offerings around noon. (Please see my cabin description for further details.) There is a need for cleanliness so having your food - including salad - individually prepared by the staff is perfectly understandable but due to the limited number of stations one must be prepared for queues at the buffet. This situation might be improved by increasing the staffing. There was a large choice of ingredients for the salads including nuts, seeds, meat and cheese which made this an excellent station. Unfortunately the other stations remained a disappointment; one would think that with the large number of Asian employees the Asian offerings would be quite delicious; the opposite was true as everything was completely bland. This held for the dining room as well: bland bland bland. Our standard joke is that there is a de-schmeckifier in the kitchen through which all food must pass before being served. I did have a nice trout in the dining room on the last day and the mushroom soup was lovely but on a 12 day cruise this is pitiful. Our fondest memory will be of the entertainment. Holland America has partnered with New York's Lincoln Centre for classical musicians who provided a number of sets most days, and a permanent BB King theatre provides marvelous blues music in three sets almost every evening. The main theatre was smaller than expected and a large number of posts throughout restricted viewing. We were not overly impressed by any of the offerings in this venue. Karaoke was provided 3 times during the cruise. Trivia was a popular activity especially in the Crow's Nest lounge around happy hour. This lounge also had one of the best bartenders on land or water - be sure to say hello to Oliver. Although my spouse usually purchases a drink package, I am not a drinker so with Holland America requiring both people in a cabin to purchase packages, this became an unaffordable option. With two happy hours (4-5 and 9-10) where drinks up to $8 could be bought with a second for $1, we found our alcohol needs were comfortably met. A computer lab with about a dozen computers provided instruction and the popular classes were filled to overflow on both sea days; perhaps more frequent classes might be considered on these days. There were destination lectures provided in the main theatre. The main pool area was quite nice with towels freely available and lounge chairs never fully occupied. The best part was the lack of noise - it was kept quiet so people could enjoy reading. There is nothing worse than having loud piped music wherever one goes - this was a major complaint of mine on other ships. Service was eagerly provided with a smile and we never had a problem with any staff. All in all this was a pleasurable cruise but I doubt we will be in a hurry to return due to the disappointing food. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This is for the Oosterdam sailing from Rome on 18 April, right after it came out of dry dock. First the good: The staff was generally excellent. We had a Neptune suite, and the Neptune Lounge being right across the hall from our ... Read More
This is for the Oosterdam sailing from Rome on 18 April, right after it came out of dry dock. First the good: The staff was generally excellent. We had a Neptune suite, and the Neptune Lounge being right across the hall from our room was a great convenience. The Lounge staff were like personal concierges who could handle most anything we might need on ship. They could also make change in euros, which was handy before excursions. And they somehow learned everyone's name in about two seconds. I was very impressed. The Maitre' d in the Pinnacle Grill was the same - after our first night in the dining room he knew us by name. The Pinnacle Grill was by far the best dining on the ship (duh!). We went to dinner there upon embarkation (using a promotion coupon), and twice more, including the Le Cirque evening. The Le Cirque escargot was so good that we ordered another and then got the recipe. The bone-in ribeye was also delicious. Another perk of having the Neptune suite was breakfast in the Pinnacle - the food was the same menu as the Main Dining Room's breakfast, but with superb service. I don't believe that they were open for lunch, at least on this sailing. While talking about food, the MDR was generally good, but without any real "Wow!" moments; the braised Ox tail is about the best we had. We ate there on four evenings, The Gala night menus seemed no better than any other night to me. The Dive Bar burgers were pretty good, and the fries were excellent. Sadly, this was about the only place on the ship to get food in the late afternoon, except for canapes in the Neptune Lounge. Though we used room service multiple times for breakfast (and once for dinner) it was hit or miss - on most occasions something ordered was missing. Our suite was appointed well, with new linens, carpet, and upholstery. It was quite a treat, but was honestly more space than we needed. Having two sinks and being able to shower simultaneously (in tub & shower) was wonderful, but the vanity seating outside the bathroom was inconvenient, making a real pain for anyone to get past while seated at the vanity. We used the lounge chairs on the veranda to enjoy drinks while sailing, but our attempts to eat out there were wiped out by wind, so the table went unused. We got to know several other people on the ship, starting (as it turned out) on an excursion in Rome the day before we sailed. We enjoyed trivia, and should make a special call-out to the Irish lass "Carrie from Derry", who had the room in puzzled stitches with some of her Irish word pronunciations, and who handled our subsequent "abuse in the workplace" with great cheer. One team saved up the best of these words for use as their team name, making her say them all when they won at the end of the cruise, to the great mirth of the regulars (ask her to say "Paris", "Town", "Moose" or "Horrors"). The Bad: The ship was not ready when we sailed. I'll get to some of the issues in the next section about that, but it started out with a champagne-fueled Bon Voyage party that was supposed to see us sail away from Civitavecchia at 6pm, but instead had us sitting there until Midnight. Of course the champagne dried up right on schedule; it would have served HAL right to keep the aft deck alcohol taps open until we actually sailed. For the most part we were not at all impressed by the on-ship entertainment, though admittedly we sort of gave up on it after awhile. The only thing we saw on the main stage was the song & dance troupe doing numbers that were perhaps appropriate for the era when The Love Boat was still on prime time TV. That's a half-hour of my life that I can't recoup. At least the guy stacking wine glasses about 9 trays high was impressive, particularly as the ship was pitching a bit. Nidia's talks about the ports coming up were generally pretty good, if a bit superficial. And they were usually packed in the Queen's Lounge. We were told later that her SRO talks in the Queen's Lounge could not be in the larger Main Stage because they were practicing the show; they sure as heel needed the practice, but I thought that was a lame excuse for poor customer service. We had heard great reviews of the BB King band, but when we saw them at the Queen's Lounge, the audio balance was all wrong, with vocals drowned out by the instruments. We left after perhaps 15 minutes of that. We did hear some really good string music on the Lincoln Stage. Shame on us that we never went to the Billboard On Board stuff as we heard it was quite good. We paid one evening for the premium Italian restaurant on the Lido, and while the first courses were good, the main course was both under and overcooked, with rubber pork and nearly crunchy beans. The next day a bottle of (cheap) wine showed up in our suite with a note of apology. It might have been for the dinner, but we're not sure which transgression was being being atoned for, as it could have been one of several. In general the Lido food was OK as a salad bar and had a large variety of mediocre food. The pizza on the Lido was utterly atrocious - a soggy goopy mess. While the Dive Bar was fine, the taco bar next to it looked pretty sad, with tortilla chips that looked like they came from a Dollar Store closeout sale. The Ugly: Our room was not ready when we sailed, and in my view there was NO excuse for that. While there were towels in the room and the bed was made, we did not have a waste basket, or bathrobes, or a corkscrew, or a laundry bag, or soap, or any of the promised suite amenities. Again, in a ship that had been in dry dock for two weeks, I cannot see any reason why the room was not in textbook perfect shape for our arrival. Further, no one stopped in the first day to show us the room or explain how everything worked. There was some sort of espresso maker that was never plugged in, in part because we didn't know how it worked. It was no loss as neither of use are coffee drinkers, but it exemplifies the lack of attention to detail of the cabin stewards (which is odd because they were cheerful and lovely every time we encountered them). I'm not sure if this is a dry dock related thing, but the trim around the shower where it met the bathtub was bent and the caulk seal was open. There was mold growing in the opening. About halfway into the cruise a workman came and bleached the opening, then caulked it shut. That's good, I suppose, but the room reeked of bleach for awhile. The crew also went through and varnished the deck rails one day, which was not so bad though I did accidently touch it. One of our Trivia friends said they had painted her veranda, causing her room to smell like paint. This all brings us around to the main ugliness of the trip - a ship that was not ready to sail. We got to be beta testers (alpha testers the first couple of days), with only a $100 on-board credit in compensation. The first day an early impression was that the toilet had remnants of someone else's leavings in it when I arrived, which I flushed in a hurry. There was no hot water, which made for a very cold shower after arriving all sticky from the ride in. In short, a room that was not ready in a ship that was not ready. The hot water showed up for us by the third day, but the unreadiness of the ship never really ended. Others we talked to reported having no toilets for several days into the cruise. And the construction continued as well. The sound of metal grinding would start at about 7AM daily, and last until about dark. As we sailed, they were adding staterooms on deck 10 just behind the Crow's Nest bar, which led to lots of screeching noise and various smells (like carpet glue) throughout the cruise that affected Decks 9 & 10, and anything outside. I would have enjoyed spending more time in the Crow's Nest bar were it not for the racket, which was often like fingernails on a chalk board. The flat screen TV in the stateroom was nice, and they had a decent selection of movies available to watch for those times when we were just worn out after an excursion. But I found it amazing that we could not see what our room charges looked like on the screen; you had to go to a kiosk at Customer Service on Deck 1 for a printout to see that. Seriously?? Do they not understand that this can be a very convenient computer terminal? I also was astounded that when the ship's time would change that it was not immediately updated on the screen. My T-Mobile phone knew the local time long before the TV screen showing our approach to Dubrovnik was updated, yet the ship's time was supposed to change at 2 AM - again, no excuse for that. Conclusions: We had a good time and the itinerary was FABULOUS - Ephesus/Kusadasi was a real surprise - but the cruise itself was not so great. The staff was generally very good, and in some cases exceptional, but the problems outweighed the good. It was our first experience with HAL, and while I would not say "never again" it certainly won't be at the top of the list for our next cruise, or even in the middle of the list. Prior experience on Princess is that the food and entertainment is much better on that line, which was echoed by a traveler we met who had just come off a Princess cruise to this one. So we will unfortunately look elsewhere for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
I am writing this review to let others know what actually happened to "me" alone, on the Trans-Atlantic Crossing of Holland America's "Oosterdam". I took Holland America this time, (my 23rd Tans-Atlantic) ... Read More
I am writing this review to let others know what actually happened to "me" alone, on the Trans-Atlantic Crossing of Holland America's "Oosterdam". I took Holland America this time, (my 23rd Tans-Atlantic) because my usual line, "Celebrity", had become less than acceptable. I must say that Celebrity gives me tremendous "Frequent Cruiser Benefits". Much, much , much better than Holland America! MUCH BETTER! But, Celebrity has gotten much worse over the last few years. Their food, which was once fantastic, has changed to the worse. Don't know why, but they did. I had received an amazing offer from Holland America's Casino, for Caribbean cruises last Fall and realizing that I couldn't possibly cruise for 1 week for what they were offering me, I took 2 cruises, one in "January", on the " Westerdam "and one in "February" on the "Nieuw Amsterdam". They were both fantastic. Yes truly excellent. It was because of that, that I booked the "Eurodam" for April to Barcelona, from Ft. Lauderdale. With a 100% charge, plus 60% surcharge for a single occupancy in an ocean view cabin, I decided it was a wonderful deal and started getting ready for it. (sad, that I had to pay a 160% surcharge, but it is what it is) I found out later that several friends were going on the Oosterdam in March and I changed to that cruise. They were able to offer me a balcony cabin for only $25.00 total upsell, for the 13 day cruise. I should have smelled a rat, shouldn't I? Yes, I most certainly should have. But alas I did not. This is where my story actually begins; I actually met quite a few people that were more than charming on this crossing. They were a rather interesting group. Mostly we met at Trivia. On Celebrity we got trivia 4 times a day. On Holland America, only 2 times. And the 2nd one was during dinner hour. 1st one at 1300 hours. 2nd one at 1900 hours. (1PM and 7PM). I think it was the most popular activity for the entire crowd. When I played on Seabourn, it was attended by 50% of the entire ship. Trivia is extremely popular. Regardless of that, I was able to meet most of the people at Trivia and again at "Happy Hour". Holland America has a "Happy Hour" every day, between 1600 hours and 1700 hours. They are only held at the "Ocean Bar", and the "Crow's Nest". If you don't know about it, then you're out of luck. Now you know about it! I would like to say at this time that the bartenders at the "Crow's Nest", Santos and Bong, were amazing. If you see them, please say hello to them for me, Howard. The entire bar staff at the "Crow's Nest" were truly terrific. The problem with the Crow's Nest was that at exactly 1700 hours, the "Harry James Orchestra", which was mostly comprised of horns and was 16 players strong. If you've ever been in the Crow's Nest on the Oosterdam, then you know what I am talking about. If you haven't , then I'll explain. It's a rather small-ish room with 9 foot ceilings. Totally wrong for this venue. Once cocktail hour ended, all conversation came to a close. There was a very lovely elderly couple that took to the floor every night and showed everyone how to dance Ballroom Style. The choices of food was to say the least, tedious. Yes, this was a low cost cruise and as such, not expected to be able to offer caviar, but in actuality they offered much less. No one could find Tuna Salad, Chicken Salad, now Egg Salad. One day I noticed the Executive Chef speaking with one of the Matre' D's and asked him why these Salads weren't available on the "Salad Bar" and he told me, and I quote, "They Cheapen The Display" on the Salad Bar. I told him that I and many other Americans like "Tuna Salad", and he said that I could easily make it myself by combining the "Ahi Tuna Flakes" with Mayo and make my own, and me telling him that I didn't come on board this ship to make my own Tuna Salad. Having owned my own restaurant, many years ago, I would have given him his walking papers. One should never tell a customer to make his own , anything! I ate every meal in the Dining Room. Why? I like being served, when I am away. Plus, I get to meet many interesting people. I love meeting people. I have more friends this way than I could any other way. I would rate the dining room very good for breakfast and lunch. Dinner was mediocre at best. But, at least I had great company. AND, great service and excellent wine Stewards. I can't say enough about the service personnel in Cabin and Dining and Lido Deck. Bravo Gentlemen. I usually never go to the shows. But on this cruise there were some fabulous singers. Especially the "FLY BOYS. WOW what a great group of guys. Think A CAPELLE with music. Sensational. There were also some not so great players. I won't say, not I won't mention the string duet, no, I won't so don't ask again. Why do cruise lines not tell their passengers that there is a free "Shuttle", from the pier to the City Center? WHY? Telling me that they never heard of such a thing is inexcusable. Even us neophytes know more than this. Come on People. If the entire "Tour Department" is changed every week, it should be still in the computer. Oh and the Computors were abysmal in every possible way. seriously dreadful. My toilet overflowed 4 times. Yup, 4 times. I called and called the front desk and got nowhere. Zip, Nada, nothing. I asked for a meeting with the Hotel Director, so sorry, says Ms. Guest Relations , Annie. Not happening. The buck stops here. Seriously? Yup, and there was so so much more. I lost my I-Phone somewhere between the UBER car and the Checkin Desk. Like what a WOW I give to the ladies at Check in. They bent over backwards to help me re-unite me with my phone. I owe you ladies big time. I got it by the way. It took 1 week but I did find out that I got it back before I did. That was lucky because I also found out that my bank froze my account even though I did tell them that I was going on a cruise. Quelle Dommage. There were workmen on board the ship from the moment we left Port Everglades. There were even more workmen when we got to Funchal, home to a free shuttle bus from the pier to the city center, for all cruise lines. We received more and more workers and when we got to Rome about 2,000 more got on. It would have been impossible not to notice them during the cruise. Those passengers that didn't notice them were quite blind to everything. Do not get on any ship that is going into or coming from "Drydock". It doesn't matter how much you pay for a cruise if you're going to be interrupted with dangling cables and missing ceiling tiles and closed decks and missing infrastructure. I'm sorry, I did not pay you for this. If you're giving it to me for free, well then, OK. If I'm paying anything, no, not so nice. My friends and I went to the specialty restaurant called, "Pinnacle" , supposedly a NW Steak and Fish House. I say supposedly because if a chef in a steak house doesn't know how to cook steak properly, they should not be working in a steak house. Not too hard to understand. When I call over the Matre' D', I expect him to know what I mean by overcooked. Is that too much to expect? Is it? no, it isn't . I had an amazing round of luck in the casino. Thanks guys. You're all deserving of many accolades. I paid for my cruise basically. Which is a good thing. Because if I had not, I would have been a very unhappy camper. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Embarkation was very organized and efficient. Cabins ready at check in. Small verandah cabin (5027) - beds as usual long enough but quite narrow for one person. They could install wider ones if they took out just one side table. Reasonable ... Read More
Embarkation was very organized and efficient. Cabins ready at check in. Small verandah cabin (5027) - beds as usual long enough but quite narrow for one person. They could install wider ones if they took out just one side table. Reasonable storage. Verandah decent size. Cabin steward very nice and responsive. Dining experience mixed bag - service was not consistent in am. One morning, it took them 25 minutes to get my breakfast out. Other mornings staff didn't come around very often to check on things so had to get up to find the waiter. Vista food was pretty good although menu could use some improvement. One night they had to bring out prime rib 3 times before they delivered a piece that was cooked. Steak options in Vista below avwerage. Pinnacle Grill was excellent and Lido was good. Room service very inconsistent - just couldn't get the orders right. Crows Nest excellent viewing and great coffee bar. We don't normally attend all the performance venues, but BB King All Star band was terrific - went there 4 straight nights. Overall staff was very friendly and professional and always had smiles on their faces. Really makes the difference between a good cruise and great cruise. Front Office very good as well, although ship is a bit behind the times with not being able to see your charges on the tv in room nor the menus, so had to walk to Vista every day to find out the menu. They do say they are upgrading all older ships in next 2-3 years to get up to date. The ship's interior needs upgrading to lighter colors - very dark throughout and looks dated. It is going in for refurbishment April 2016, so maybe some of that will take place. Overall, Oosterdam needs some facelifts, better technology for rooms, more consistent service and some improvement in food selection for Vista. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Just returned from 10 day Southern Caribbean on Oosterdam. While it was a good cruise overall there was nothing exceptional about it either. The ship itself is in good shape but it is dated. Most areas are clean and maintained very well. ... Read More
Just returned from 10 day Southern Caribbean on Oosterdam. While it was a good cruise overall there was nothing exceptional about it either. The ship itself is in good shape but it is dated. Most areas are clean and maintained very well. Some of the public men's restrooms smelled of urine. The crew was very friendly and did a great job. We have been on Holland seven previous cruises and were disappointed in the selection and taste of food in main dining room and with the front desk team. Our cabin was warm for us from day one. We waited a day to see if it would get better but it did not so we brought it to the attention of our cabin attendants and then the front desk. They should have just taken our concern and corrected it but instead we had to spend a lot of our vacation getting back to them that the issue had not been resolved and we were still warm. Each time they sent another member of front desk team up to take a temperature reading only to be told it was within their range, then it was adjusted but no change, a bottle of champagne (ice melted fast) then more calls and by day eight a technician came and agreed there was no airflow. He needed to get into ceiling. We left him to do his work and when returned he had fixed the issue. They compensated us but I would have much rather had the issue corrected earlier. I did not want to have daily back and forth discussion with front desk and nothing done. I am on vacation. Fix it or move me. Embarkation and disembarkation was very good. Pinnacle Grille was very good. Canaletto was also very good. Mariner brunch was excellent. Captain Willems was very visible and mingled with the guests at brunch! Never crowded and plenty of room for all. Mainly seasoned cruisers, not many kids. Good ports of call. Cabin was okay. Bathroom shower had water pressure and temp issue. Too hot. Tried to cool off with shower but no cold water. Drained slowly and had standing water. Balcony floor dirty. Glass was clean. Bed was not the same as past experiences. Did see them bringing new ones on board though. As I said we have cruised Holland many times. Westerdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam, Zuiderdam and Veendam. They made us want to come back. Can't say i will book next cruise with Holland unless it is a new ship. We did Quantum of the Seas this year as well and they have improved food and decor. Made us want to come back. Entertainment restrained. One comedian, a magician, singers and dancers. B.B. Kings Blues Club does not play blues, mainly R&B, Motown. Wanted to hear blues. Talented group of musicians. Played a lot of sets but little to no blues. Tried to sound like Al Green and Stevie Wonder. Don't ask either. They don't do requests. Same on Westerdam. Why call it a blues club? Just saying. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Never having been on a cruise before We listened to many people rave about Holland America and selected them. We really enjoyed the trips off the ship and listening to the tour guides. The tour guides were very good but the bus rides ... Read More
Never having been on a cruise before We listened to many people rave about Holland America and selected them. We really enjoyed the trips off the ship and listening to the tour guides. The tour guides were very good but the bus rides are killers, no room for legs, even in 60 degree weather air conditioners need to run so windows did not fog! Our first night was in the Anchorage Hilton and that Hilton is not up to Hilton Standards! After Denali the over ten hour ride to Seward was terrible! The ship part was so so! When we got to our stateroom it needed vacuuming, sofa bed was so dirty I would not even put a suitcase on it, there were lumps in the floor under the carpet. We used the john, it over flowed and later that night, it would not flush (plumber came about 11:30 pm). Having floor to ceiling windows and a balcony was great for viewing. My favorite part of the ship was the Explorations Café and Crow's Nest on the top deck. We were set up for 5:30 pm dinner and changed it to open seating (that was great). We met quite a few different couples from, Canada, US and Australia. The fish dishes were excellent the other selections were not as good! The food was OK, but from the amount people were eating they must have thought it was great! Not being drinkers or gamblers meant about 1/3 of the ship was unnecessary for us. The ship is showing its age, worn carpets, shabby appearance in a lot of areas, but the bars, the shopping venues and the casino were well taken care of. They definitely want you to spend money while you're aboard. The crew were all very friendly and attentive, our cabin stewards were very friendly and unobtrusive. At the end of the cruise disembarking was not handled well, the group responsible showed up late, was not organized and seemed to be totally flustered! I am not sure we would ever take another cruise on Holland America the value in my opinion was not there! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was not our first cruise and compared to the others we were on, it was very disappointing. We were not impressed with the food. Selections were very repetitious, often not hot and not that tasty on the Lido Deck. There were more ... Read More
This was not our first cruise and compared to the others we were on, it was very disappointing. We were not impressed with the food. Selections were very repetitious, often not hot and not that tasty on the Lido Deck. There were more selections at lunch but many of them were closed at dinnertime. Food was offered by the pool during the day but closed around 5:00 p.m. Often sounded like some tasteful food was served at 10:00 pm for those who wanted to stay up late. Portions in the dining room were very small. I suppose you could order 2 servings but then why should you have to? We were so tired of the poor food at dinner in the Lido, we resorted to Room Service which was better. At least it was hot. We also found entertainment was lacking while on the ship. The stage shows were o.k. but nothing special. Again, repetitious the first few days. We found ourselves going to Art Auctions just for something to do! Of course the Casino was open while we were sailing but that isn't a spot where one wants to spend a lot of time. Our Room Stewards were wonderful. The dining room and Lido staff were very courteous but the staff serving the Entrees in the Lido were very pushy. We hardly had a chance to see what our choices were and they were saying, "What else do you want? What else do you want? Perhaps passengers should be allowed to serve themselves so they can make a choice. We had a handicapped suite which was wonderful. Everything was easily accessible and safe. Our room was very clean and the bed was very comfortable. Having the large deck and lots of windows was certainly a bonus which we enjoyed. Not sure if we would sail with Holland America again. If we did, it wouldn't be on the Ooosterdam. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
First Time Cruise; 40th Anniversary Celebration. With nothing to compare to, these opinions are based on a comparison to the views of others on Cruise Critic, as well as a comparison to the marketing of Holland America itself. Food: ... Read More
First Time Cruise; 40th Anniversary Celebration. With nothing to compare to, these opinions are based on a comparison to the views of others on Cruise Critic, as well as a comparison to the marketing of Holland America itself. Food: C+. Pinnacle Grill was a memorable, and clearly, higher end dining experience. Main Dining Room (Vista) was good quality and selection, but nothing rising to “The Best ___ I Ever Ate” level. LIDO buffet was on par with mid-range Las Vegas buffets; average quality, below expectation deserts and sub-par coffee. In-room service was good. Service: B+. Although the staff exhibited the traditional “smiles all around”, it was clearly part of the Designed Experience. The actual service was good, but the customer service phone line was never answered in less than a two minute on-hold time for the entire voyage. Nightly towel animals were a nice touch. Activities: B-. If the activities were eliminated which promote any kind of additional cost items, not much would be left. The trip included three days at sea, and this meant that they were long days with limited activity available to those who did not want to shop. Communications: A-. The daily activity plan was distributed each night (along with Junk Mail and Advertising). The Cruise Director and Master kept the passengers up to date on the fight against norovirus. Logistics: A-. Embarkation and Disembarkation went surprisingly smoothly. The Anchorage airport representatives were a bit confused as to meeting points and times, but this was resolved by asking better questions to other reps. The pre-printed Cruise Card indicated assigned seating for meals, when Open Seating was booked…this was corrected the first night. Health: D. Norovirus was active from Day 3 until the end. The isolation procedures appeared to favor non-revenue activities, such as the LIDO. The casino never closed or required gloves. The spa demonstration person used the same rubbing device on every customer without any protection or attempt to sanitize. Value: The Explore4 package was offered at booking, and, exclusive of that, the value would have been poor. As it was, considering the restricted view of the stateroom, limited activities offered, the value was “acceptable” at the very best. Experience: The trip was the first cruise, and was to be a Grand Celebration. But, where Acceptable Value meets disappointment (noro), the resulting overall experience was less than expected. Recommendations: Get on the first bus out of Anchorage, and you will arrive on the ship before the land-tour rail arrives, and have the ship, all quiet, and to yourself, for a few hours. Since we flew from the East Coast of the USA, we bookended the trip with overnight stays in Anchorage and Vancouver; which was good for travel fatigue impact. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We have sailed on Holland America many times but this was the most disappointing. Firstly the same cruise a year ago was the same price and was 29 days with 7 more port stops which was excellent. Secondly it appears to us as guests that ... Read More
We have sailed on Holland America many times but this was the most disappointing. Firstly the same cruise a year ago was the same price and was 29 days with 7 more port stops which was excellent. Secondly it appears to us as guests that Holland America is trying to cut costs by reducing the number of staff in the dining room and Lido. We mostly had to wait for a table in the dining room and then when seated the table still was not ready for us. The dining room and Lido staff were fabulous and the food sensational but it took a long time to be served. Another area where staffing seems to be affected was in the number of activities offered each day. This was particularly disappointing where we had 15 sea days. Holland America needs to provide a service to guests wanting to do their own activity planning and organising. The entertainment was as usual excellent. Service in all areas was excellent except for the comment above about the number of staff per guest. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Oosterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
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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