35 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
First of all, we are Cruise Noobs. Never cruised before,never thought we would like the experience. But we wanted to visit Alaska,and so we decided this would be the best way to celebrate our 28th anniversary. Our party consisted of 4 of ... Read More
First of all, we are Cruise Noobs. Never cruised before,never thought we would like the experience. But we wanted to visit Alaska,and so we decided this would be the best way to celebrate our 28th anniversary. Our party consisted of 4 of us, ,Mom,Dad, (40's) Young adult son 1,and Teen son 2. We shared an ocean view cabin,deck 1,#1008. I was a little concerned about the location when booking, but this was our best option in our budget category,so we chose it. It turned out to be a great location! So quiet,and peaceful. I spent some time that week reading my book while sitting and watching out that window. Being on deck 1 gave us a beautiful view of the water and the views out our window, I preferred the views from the lower decks to the upper decks anyway. The cabin itself was compact, but we didn't feel cramped,and had plenty of room for ourselves and our stuff onboard. The bathroom was small,but very practical,and we enjoyed everything about the setup of the room. I really liked that we were so close to the bow of the ship,with easy access to the main stage, so usually at night on our way back to the cabin,we'd stop in just to see what was happening on the mainstage,so convenient and fun! The cabin stewards were wonderful also. The ship itself seemed really big to us at first, but it was actually a nice compact size (as far as cruise ships go) for exploring around. I don't know how full our ship was, but I never felt crowded,and if one area was busy, it was easy to walk around a bit and find a place to ourselves practically. There are multiple lounges all over the ship on different decks,and they all have comfortable seating,and multiple views out the huge windows. This was a real plus,as Alaska can get cold and rainy, but no matter where we were,we always had wonderful views. I would seek out a ship just like this again for our next cruise, I think the size of the ship and amenities are just perfect. We enjoyed various shows throughout the week,America's Test Kitchen was great- Loved the BBC Alaska Live show, Live on Lincoln Stage classical was wonderful, and the BEST time on ship was the B.B. King Blues lounge. That band,those singers were FANTASTIC. Tabitha and Tim Timmons had golden voices,and the high energy shows they did multiple times nightly were the highlight of our trip! really great times hanging out in that lounge. The pools and hot tubs were nice,as was the sauna right next door. The food? Oh the food...... How to explain how wonderful,incredible the food experience is? We chose anytime dining,and it was great every night! Our deck 2 dining room always provided a great view of the water,and scenery,but wonderful servers,and the BEST food we've had in a long while! My sons have really big appetites,and certain nights they ordered and enjoyed 3-4 entrees apiece...... but it's not just the quantity of food here, it's really good food! The choices change nightly,and we had a delicious family dinner every night together. That said, let's talk about the Lido buffet. It took us a while to figure out the timing and rhythm of the offerings here,but once we discovered the breakfast,snack,lunch,snack,dinner,snack,late night timetables.....oh boy! The food had a big variety daily, and it was so much fun to be able to just stop in whenever to get a snack or a drink of tea or coffee. Everything is so clean,and sanitary. I like that most of the food stations don't allow guests to serve themselves,which goes a long way toward keeping things non-germy and clean for everyone. My sons LOVED the asian and sushi bar, they enjoyed so many different types of food here over our week. My personal favorite was the daily omelette bar, where a very skilled and quick server would make up a personalized omelette for me,and always with a big smile! We were on a pretty strict budget, and this meant we put together our own shore excursions. Yes,we could have seen more, but we really enjoyed ourselves nonetheless. In Juneau, we rented a car from the rental shack right on the pier. It was $60 for the day,which was our best budget option for 4 people. We drove to Mendenhall Glacier,and were amazed by the dozens of bald eagles we spotted along the roadway. At the glacier area, we just parked and walked in,with plans to hike and take in the scenery. It was really beautiful,we got luck with the weather,with an overcast sky, but no rain till late evening. Perfect for hiking. We walked out to Nugget Falls,walked around the edge of the lake (so many pictures to take!) Then headed out from the visitor center to hike East Glacier Trail. It was a lot steeper than we had imagined(it's not really noted on the map guides) but it was really,really beautiful in those woods! We all had a great time hiking around,and seeing so much beauty. The woods have a really cool moss that covers everything,it looks really fantastical. All told, we spent from about 1:30-6 p.m. at Mendenhall just walking and taking in the sights. In Sitka, we discovered our favorite port stop. The town itself is cute, but surrounded on all sides by gorgeous mountain scenery. We walked from the dock thru town, around the harbor. It was another beautiful day for walking. We saw so many eagles fishing there. We headed for the Historic Totem Park,and checked that out,then proceeded onward thru a pretty woods path to the Alaska Raptor Center. For $12 per person, it was a great way to view bald eagle rehabilitation,plus a lot of other native birds,like a variety of really cool owls. I like the passion of the workers for their animals. After this, we taxi'd out to the Fortress of the Bear. (about 5-6 miles away) This is NOT TO BE MISSED. For $10 per person, we spent at least two hours thoroughly enjoying the bears,the great viewing of their activities. They had 3 types of bears, plus again, dozens of bald eagles in the trees around them. Plus the hummingbirds at the feeder..... We LOVED this place! The people who work her are passionate about their animals. After this,we walked over to the nearby bus stop (just ask the workers,they'll tell you the hourly schedule) and paid $2 to head back into town. All in all,a great bargain of a day,and lots and lots of fun! In Ketchikan, we wandered the town a bit. My son wanted to shop in all the souvenir stores,and there were a LOT of them in this town. Anyway...... we also walked over to Creek Street,and Married Mans trail,and up to the Cape Fox Lodge. It was all nice, but left us wishing we had gotten out of the town a bit more to look around. We only stopped for a few hours here anyway. Glacier Bay was beautiful,and we took lots of great pics out on the bow,in the crazy wind and rain. This cruise was one of our best vacations ever! I really like how Holland America cruises,and I want to go again.My whole family agrees, it was great fun,and also relaxing. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This was our second cruise on Holland. We had done one a month earlier and said we need to go on this line again! After my second cruise, I can say I am a loyal Holland customer already. There are so many things they do right and so many ... Read More
This was our second cruise on Holland. We had done one a month earlier and said we need to go on this line again! After my second cruise, I can say I am a loyal Holland customer already. There are so many things they do right and so many things that remind me of how cruising used to be. The Oosterdam is a perfect size ship. It's perfectly maintained and it seems like it is constantly being updated. Our room was on deck 4 midship in an ideal location. I love Holland for the bath amenities, bathrobes and they always make sure I have feather pillows. Dining is overall very good.I can't say I really had anything bad thing the entire cruise. I love the fact that they serve breakfast in the dining room every morning whether you are in port or at sea. Its the little things like offering fresh berries at breakfast that make all the difference. My only complaint about dining would be the buffet was always too crowded. The fitness center was very large for a cruise ship and all the equipment was brand new. The pools were both nice although we only went in the solarium hot tubs mainly since we were in Alaska in April. There was always entertainment in the evening between the theater and the other venues. Also ,the on demand movies and tv shows in your cabin is awesome! Sometimes you just wanna lay in bed and watch a movie! Bottom line is if you haven't been on Holland, you need to go. It is a wonderful cruise line and the staff is always amazing. Looking forward to my next cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
This was our first cruise as a newly married couple. We chose this cruise line over its competition because of its excellent reviews. The service was exemplary, the food was impressive in quality, quantity and diversity. The ship was ... Read More
This was our first cruise as a newly married couple. We chose this cruise line over its competition because of its excellent reviews. The service was exemplary, the food was impressive in quality, quantity and diversity. The ship was beautiful and stately and there was always plentiful entertainment options throughout the day. In particular we enjoyed the main stage performances and the string quartet. Our favourite spots on the ship were the eagle's nest library and lounge in the evenings and strolling along the promenade during the day. The excursions were very well organized and extremely enjoyable. It was our first time snorkeling and this proved to be a highlight of the week. There were lots of great options and it was difficult deciding which to choose. It was a great experience all around and we look forward to our next cruise aboard Holland America. Thanks to your team for making possible so many great memories! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We chose this cruise because it leaves from Tampa (live in the area) and because of the unique itinerary to Central America and Key West. We were pleasantly surprised with how nice and how clean the ship is. The crew was "friendly ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it leaves from Tampa (live in the area) and because of the unique itinerary to Central America and Key West. We were pleasantly surprised with how nice and how clean the ship is. The crew was "friendly enough" in that they provided good customer service but certainly did not bombard you with greetings or asking if you needed anything. Have to admit that I was a little surprised after just sailing with Princess two months earlier that crew members walked right by me without a smile or eye contact or anything - other passengers were more friendly than the HAL staff. I got used to it the second day. Room was average size (small) but the balcony was huge! At first I thought there was no place for our stuff because there was no traditional dresser space but the room is loaded with storage opportunities - look under the bed for the drawers and a place to stash luggage. Also, the loveseat has drawers for storage, both night stands, and 3 closets where I has shelves, one hanging, and one can convert between the two. I was expecting to be disappointed in food because we've taken several Princess cruises but we were not at all. I would say the food was as good or better than Princess which is known for good food. The only comment I have about it is the availability and assortment. My husband felt the variety was good but he can eat the same thing everyday. He also felt there was always something to eat, which there was, but very limited between standard meal times. This just meant we had to plan well. The Lido dining room for the buffet is beautiful; stunning really. Every table has an orchid. The views from the main dining room (Vista?) were fabulous no matter where we were seated. Tea was nice and I liked the casual foods available on pool deck (taco bar & dive in). We were about to be really disappointed with the entertainment (especially after having a blast on the Carnival Paradise last November) when on night three we discovered the BB King Blues Club and were able to coordinate times to attend Lincoln Center concerts. We never went to the Main Stage again - it was just too carnival- like for our taste (the circus type, not cruise line type).Both of these venues had awesome performers. The size of the ship was good but we still got turned around. I've become accustomed to a central open plaza to navigate the ship and this ship is a bit more closed in. The folks at the excursion desk were very nice and helpful and we really enjoyed both our excursion, I also felt the price was fair. We never could catch the future cruise desk open which is their loss because we were in the mood to book and did so on our return home but with RC. I was intrigued by the Microsoft Digital Workshop but because we had early dining each of the classes I wanted bumped into my dress for dinner time. I did visit the screening room twice and it's very comfortable. Once to see a new movie and once a documentary. I commend them for including documentaries and not just box office type movies. The only thing I bought at a shop was mascara because I forgot mine. The stores were not that appealing to me and the jewelry was super overpriced in my opinion. Overall, it is a beautiful and well maintained ship and I would gladly go on it again. You will need to plan our your dining and activities because there are limited opportunities for many of them. I almost forgot the pool. Nice large pool which I did not go in but I did go in the adjoining hot tub. There were not many kids on the ship but they all seemed to congregate at the pool when I was there. I did not see an adults only area/pool. My husband used the fitness center a couple times, It was small but had everything you typically see in a gym. It was never crowded. Finally, we missed our last port of call in Mexico due to high winds but honestly I didn't miss it at all. We had three port calls and were busy and enjoyed the two sea days. Not disappointing at all. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Having been on the Koningsdam last Fall, I was prepared to be disappointed in the Oosterdam since it is an older ship. I was very pleasantly surprised at how nice she was. The refurbishing that took place in 2015 showed in all of the ... Read More
Having been on the Koningsdam last Fall, I was prepared to be disappointed in the Oosterdam since it is an older ship. I was very pleasantly surprised at how nice she was. The refurbishing that took place in 2015 showed in all of the public areas and in our balcony cabin. Another great surprise was the quality of the music in Billboard Online (dueling pianos with singalong) and in the BB King lounge. We were onboard during spring break so maybe that was the reason there were such lively audiences, but both venues were hopping! The shows were also very good though we did miss two of the seven offered. The food was wonderful, but the soups were not as good as we remembered them being. We didn't go to either of the specialty restaurants. As usual, the Indonesian and Filipino crew were wonderful though they were probably overworked! Our room steward was so efficient and remembered every one of our special requests. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We have taken a Holland America cruise in the past, in January 2016 on Nieuw Amsterdam to be specific, for the 'Dancing with the Stars' theme cruise early that month. We were impressed by the quality of the line back then and ... Read More
We have taken a Holland America cruise in the past, in January 2016 on Nieuw Amsterdam to be specific, for the 'Dancing with the Stars' theme cruise early that month. We were impressed by the quality of the line back then and knew we had to take another cruise with them in the future. Mom and I chose this cruise as it aligned with Syracuse University's spring break dates for March 2017. The Oosterdam was a ship in super condition since the refurbishment done in Spring 2016. Oosterdam's Crows' nest, Queen's lounge, MDR, pool areas (main and sea view), Casino and Billboard Onboard, Lincoln Center Stage, and MainStage were all kept in beautiful condition throughout the voyage. After a enjoying a relaxing day either in port or at sea, we would settle into our nightly routine. This routine included pre-dinner drinks at the Crows' nest, followed by dinner which was always good and served our needs, then head to either B.B Kings' Blues Club or Billboard Onboard for entertainment, and then hit up the casino to try our luck. One night we did try the Pinnacle Grill and must say it was spectacular. The steak offerings and the baked Alaska desert alone are worth the cover charge for the specialty restaurant. Entertainment options at night got an upgrade since we first went on Holland. Billboard Onboard was always full of life and energy at night, and the two pianist/singers there kept the crowd's attention and got some to sing along! B.B King's was amazing as always and is a staple for many at night, got the crowd going, got floor dancing to start, along with audience participation. Our issues with the casino were that it has horrible odds of winning and that there are far too many cruisers for machines in this sector of Oosterdam. The itinerary for our 7-day leg of the 21-day voyage included stops at: Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan Isle of Honduras, Santo Tomas de Castilla in Guatemala, and Costa Maya, Mexico. Our favorite stop was easily Mahogany Bay, Roatan Isle. Beautiful beach, great ocean- very calm and inviting for a swim, and nice little restaurant off the beach area where we grabbed Jerk Chickens and local Honduran beer to enjoy for lunch. Helpful hint: absolutely do a tour in Santo Tomas, you will not regret it. Guatemala is a developing country that will hopefully one day have much to offer tourists in the way of things to see. We booked a shorex through the shipboard offerings called "A Tale of Two Towns", where you got to see Puerto Barrios, Santo Tomas, and Amantique Bay Resort. I definitely recommend getting off the ship this day to both experience this location in Central America, and educate yourself on a new port stop. Overall, Holland America delivered another excellent cruise and we have found our "regular" line to take, so to say. Holland America Line has a classy and memorable atmosphere, with activities going on throughout the day, good food and drinks, crew who may remember you from the past, and fun port stops. The Oosterdam is a lovely ship with a nice crowd of people from all over the United States and Europe looking for a quick or lengthy getaway, depending if you took the 7 or 21-day voyage. The week we took this voyage, the Northeastern United States got hit with a Nor'Easter delivering 20 or more inches of snow in certain regions- no better time to be in the Caribbean! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
I booked this cruise last minute for my daughter's spring break from college. I have been on over 25 cruises including Holland, Norwegian, Celebrity, Royal, Disney and Carnival. Each experience is different and this happened to be one ... Read More
I booked this cruise last minute for my daughter's spring break from college. I have been on over 25 cruises including Holland, Norwegian, Celebrity, Royal, Disney and Carnival. Each experience is different and this happened to be one of the best cruises I have ever taken. I was a little hesitant when booking because the passengers on Holland America are typically older as I am in my mid forties and my daughter is a 20 year old college student. My daughter has been on many cruises, but we have always gone as a full or extended family so this cruise was going to be much different experience being just the two of us. Now don't get me wrong, I love my daughter but at home we don't always see eye to eye. My husband just hoped that after his wife and daughter had spent a week together in less than 200 sq ft, that we would both come home alive. The fact is, we came back and he was surprised to hear that we had the best time of our lives. Ship - The boarding process was one of the quickest and efficient I have experienced. The port of Tampa is nice because it is small and uncongested. The ship is mid-sized, well designed and easy to navigate. The rooms are spacious and well laid out with a bathtub in oceanview and above. The ship offers many dining options and the buffet is spacious and bright. The open spaces and decks are clean and this ship is traditional in décor. Cabin - The balcony cabin was a decent size with a small sofa, table and vanity. The closet had three doors with two sections of hanging racks and one shelf unit with safe. The bathroom was spacious with a bathtub, toilet and ample storage space including a medicine cabinet. The cabin steward was excellent always tidying our room as soon as we left. Dining - We had anytime dining which I do not prefer. The late booking did not give us the option of traditional seating so we had to make reservations. This posed somewhat of a problem because unless you wanted to eat with others our choices for dining were 5 p.m. or 9 p.m. We don't mind being seating with others and had some wonderful dinner guests but a few times we didn't have much in common with our tablemates. We did eat at the Italian restaurant one evening and the steak restaurant another evening and in both venues we got 7 p.m. seating for 2 with no problem. Both of the specialty restaurants were excellent with the steak place being superb. All the meals in the main dining were also outstanding in taste, temperature and quality. Entertainment and Activities - The entertainment venues were outstanding. We loved music row with the Blues Club being by far our favorite! The piano players were talented, entertaining and played different sets each evening. The Lincoln center venue was also entertaining with upscale stringed musicians playing nightly. The main shows were also some of the best I have seen on cruise lines. The productions shows were visually appealing and had amazing costumes and lighting details. The guest performers were also entertaining and we enjoyed the variety. Service - Since this is a mid-size ship you get more individualized service and attention which is the uniqueness of a cruise vacation. We were on a first name basis with many of the wonderful staff on board. I can not say enough about the hard work and tireless effort of the crew. Ports and Shore excursions Cozumel, Mexico - We got off the ship and booked a private tour with a taxi company. I have been to this port numerous times and since my daughter hadn't been since she was little I thought it would be interesting for her to see the island. We spent three hours exploring highlights, shopping and stopping for beach time. We stopped at this port on a Sunday and we were the only ship in port so the town was a little desolate but I found this much more enjoyable than the last time I was there with seven other ships and 20,000 people. Roatan, Honduras- I have also been to this port and booked an independent tour through Expedia. I booked a private vehicle for the day and researched the places I wanted to visit. We went to Daniel Johnson's Monkey and Sloth hangout which was an experience of a lifetime and then we went to Jungle Top Zipline and swung through the trees on a fabulous adventure. We also had an extensive tour of the island and made time for the beautiful waters and beach. We ended up enjoying all these adventures for a third of the price by booking in advance through Expedia. Santo Tomas, Guatemala - We booked a ship tour to the Village of Ak- Tenamit. This is a boat ride to a boarding school in the middle of the jungle. This tour was the highlight of our trip. I have read varying options of this port. You have to understand, I researched this port before I went and was well aware that it is a container port in a third world country and to experience this part of the world you need to book a tour. In my research, I came across information that the students at this school were very poor and in need of any type of school supplies. I went to the dollar store before I left and filled my suitcase with varying supplies and brought them along when I went on the excursion. There are no words to describe the gratitude and pure joy the students expressed when we walked into the small one room classroom where they were learning. They wanted my daughter to talk to them in Spanish and translate. My daughter and I will never forget the wonderful experience we had in this remote part of the country and we are appreciative of Holland America to offer this experience. Costa Maya - We stayed at the dock and shopped and had a few drinks at this port. It is a good stop for relaxing and enjoying the lovely weather. Overall - We had a wonderful cruise and had experiences we will never forget. We met wonderful people, young and old and will not hesitate to take another Holland America Adventure! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
My daughter, surprisingly chose to do her senior spring break trip with me - her mom. She said she wanted to go where she hasn't been before. I proposed 4 different cruises and she chose the Oosterdam. We had a lovely itinerary to ... Read More
My daughter, surprisingly chose to do her senior spring break trip with me - her mom. She said she wanted to go where she hasn't been before. I proposed 4 different cruises and she chose the Oosterdam. We had a lovely itinerary to Cozumel, Honduras, Guatemala, & Costa Maya. I had booked an inside room, but my husband upgraded us to a balcony and then we rented a cabana on the top deck, which was overkill. I would take the Cabana anytime. They spoil you rotten! We also booked the spa pass for the week, so we were very pampered. And I purchased the drink package which really made everything wonderful for me. The boarding in Tampa was a breeze and so was disembarkation. The food was excellent and plentiful. I really enjoyed reading my news sheet in the mornings while breakfast was being set up on the Lido. Apparently, another 20 or so early risers like myself did too! We loved Guatemala. Holland America did a great job. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We chose this cruise because it embarks out of Tampa and we live 30 miles from Tampa. Double bonus for us is that Tampa cannot handle the mega ships because of bridge clearance so size of ship was just what we like - about 1900 passengers. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it embarks out of Tampa and we live 30 miles from Tampa. Double bonus for us is that Tampa cannot handle the mega ships because of bridge clearance so size of ship was just what we like - about 1900 passengers. This size ship makes for more manageable group functions like dining, pool usage and seating, as well as shore excursions. Only exception to this was first stop in Key West which was only half a day in port so everybody queued up to disembark and got backed up because shuttle trams off ship couldn't keep up to the numbers of people. You have to shuttle from ship through a Navy Yard to get into town. We are a senior couple and we traveled with two other couples from our neighborhood so we all got same level of suites (Neptune Suites) and were located all together on starboard side. Neptune suites have a private lounge where we could get snacks, read, play cards, watch TV, and was staffed with concierge type employees who could coordinate any special requests we might have (shore excursions, specialty dining, anything requiring appointments, and could print out itemized account info so we could see how much we might be spending). Neptune suite residents also could eat breakfast in one of the specialty restaurants (Piccadilly) at no extra cost. Suites were large and roomy, along with bathroom (double vanity, whirlpool tub, shower stall, marble counter tops), couch and chairs, dressing area, extra closets, and large balcony. Room attendants courteous and efficient; not as personable as we're used to on Celebrity cruises but still pleasant to deal with. They just stayed out of sight for the most part. Dining in the main dining room was used each night. The first night we expressed wish for better table location to assistant manager and starting following night were given a much better (more scenic) table. Dining steward was efficient, friendly and very personable. He earned the extra gratuity we gave him and made dining a very pleasurable experience. Wine steward was almost as good but had to coordinate ordering drinks via a note pad that he could swipe with room or beverage card. This was kind of a long and involved process (but got quicker as days went by) but the system meant, for example, three drinks ordered were delivered by three different orderlies at three different times. Half a minute between drink orders could result in five minute separation of delivery to the table. Entertainment was exceptional. Stage productions combining dance, song, and electronic scenery was above any other cruise experience we had. Comedian was very good, a concert pianist played Spanish themed program very well, and on last night they combined their performances into one gig. A string quartet was available in a small lounge each evening between main stage show times and was excellent. There was also a lounge called B.B. King's Blues Club which had excellent musicians and vocalists but was a little too loud for our taste. Key West was Key West. Been there before but played tourist again anyway just for kicks. Disembarkation frustrating as mentioned above. Signed up for Hop On Hop Off tram ride. Name is misleading. You ride for 1.5 hours and stop for a break and for rest of the day you can catch one you can hop on or off of. First part you are just riding about town. Probably okay for anyone on first time visit but for us it was kind of boring. In Roatan we did city tour/beach. Took us to a mountain top lookout offering majestic views of the water and reefs but you had to maneuver your way around the local shell and bead merchants to see anything. Kind of pesty with a sales pitch to make you touch their "hand-made" bracelets and necklaces and very tiresome after just of few minutes. Beach portion was nice but mundane. Belize went to Mayan ruins of Altun Ha after a bus tour of Belize city. City tour was sort of boring but gave you a perspective of how one person's luxury is another person's slums. Typical Caribbean island mix of 4 story high rises, half built or abandoned construction, trash everywhere, and places we wouldn't walk through at night without an armed guard. Altun Ha was exquisite. Absolutely fascinating. Can't say enough about it or the bus/tour guides who explained everything to us. The whole thing was less than 5 hours duration and worked out just right. Also got to visit the Iguana farm and feed large and small iguanas.Belize has no docks for ships to tie up to so took tenders from boat to shore and back. Kind of choppy with good sized swells that slowed disembarkation some but not too bad. Tender rides were hold on for rock and roll. Cozumel did the chocolate and wine pairing trip. Never thought the two were good with each other but turned out very interesting and very tasty. Overall, cruising on Holland America's Oosterdam to Western Caribbean was a very pleasant trip. If we had the money and were offered the chance to turn around and go right back out, we would. We've gone numerous cruises and have always enjoyed Celebrity the most but now we are placing Holland America right up there on the same pedestal. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We love the port of Tampa for easy access and boarding and have taken the Ryndam twice and a RCCL ship also. The Oosterdam was very similar to the Westerdam we took last year and we like the layout of the ship and most common areas on the ... Read More
We love the port of Tampa for easy access and boarding and have taken the Ryndam twice and a RCCL ship also. The Oosterdam was very similar to the Westerdam we took last year and we like the layout of the ship and most common areas on the ship have been refurbished and in very nice shape. We did notice the cabins on Verandah Deck 5 could use some refurbishment as the bathtub was badly pitted and broken handle on a cabinet... nothing major though. The food was outstanding at all places and hours. We tried the Pinnacle one night and although the service could have been better (a lot of diners!), the outstanding food was worth the wait! Breakfast on Lido Deck has everything from crepes to a bagel station and the coffee is excellent for a cruise ship. We were pleasantly surprised with a major improvement in entertainment and each night was very enjoyable. We were also surprised that both pools had fresh water in them! However, the hot tubs with the exception of one are very small and only accomodate 4 people. The crew is very friendly and helpful on this ship!!! We were only on the 1 week cruise and dined with a Canadian couple who took the full 3 weeks and they loved the entire Carribean experience. We did not take any ship side trips but took a private trip on Roatan to Little French Key which was a highlight of our trip! Beautiful little island with crystal clear water for great snorkeling. We had a wonderful cruise and we highly recommend this ship. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We were traveling with a small group of 19. We live in the Tampa Bay area, so access to the ship was smooth and easy. We hired Barracuda Travel for transport our group from our community clubhouse and it worked perfectly. A helpful ... Read More
We were traveling with a small group of 19. We live in the Tampa Bay area, so access to the ship was smooth and easy. We hired Barracuda Travel for transport our group from our community clubhouse and it worked perfectly. A helpful porter, Larry Hemmingway, suggested we put some identifying item on our luggage and then we returned, he had pulled our luggage and grouped them together. So very easy! Embarkation was smooth. Debarkation was a bit slower but I venture to say no one on the ship missed their flight home. The ship was beautiful! We have previously enjoyed several Holland America cruises: this was the best so far! The combination of excellent dining and entertainment, friendly staff, great service plus wonderful weather made the trip perfect. I hope this doesn't sound like an infomercial for Holland, but after this cruise, the bar has been set high for my future cruises. We had a Signature Suite, cabin 6108, which was a accessible cabin. The layout of the bathroom, with the toilet in the roll in shower area was a little strange and storage for toiletries non existent. We did have an issue with wet carpeting which I reported. The staff worked hard to resolve the problem and they even gave me on-board ship credit for the inconvenience voluntarily and without us even asking or suggesting it! We really enjoyed the Lincoln Stage performances, but the highlight for me was the BBC Planet Earth film of the Arctic and Antarctic with the musical score set to live music. The main stage shows were very good also. You had to get to the theater early to get a good seat...at least a seat that wasn't behind the dreaded support poles in the theater. We hired private excursions in Roatan and Guatemala. Mahogany Bay (Roatan) was a fairly steep walk to get out to the taxi area and the expensive "Disney like" shops in the port area. Highlight shore excursion was "Go with Gus" Humanitarian tour in Guatemala. Our group had know in advance to bring school supplies etc. for the school kids and it was an enriching experience. I enjoy the size of the Holland ships. The mid size of the ships allow a good variety of entertainment without the 4000 plus guest experience. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We have cruised may times previously and with many different lines. We choose our operator depending upon the itinerary and this was the reason for our first cruise with HAL, although we had heard good reports in the past. This was a ... Read More
We have cruised may times previously and with many different lines. We choose our operator depending upon the itinerary and this was the reason for our first cruise with HAL, although we had heard good reports in the past. This was a 14 night Caribbean voyage from Tampa and the majority of passengers were America. The average age was older than other ships we had sailed in and the overall atmosphere was quieter than usual. No silly games round the pool etc. This was a mid-sized ship with just under 2,000 passengers but plenty of room around the decks. The food was much better than other lines we have sailed with and the Gala Nights reflected that, fillet mignon and lobster tails!! The entertainment around the ship was also very good and varied with guest artistes featuring in the main theatre. BBKings showroom ws particularly excellent. We cannot fault the service, cabins (signature suites), entertainment or the food and drink. The best cruise for a long time. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We chose this cruise to celebrate a special birthday and chose to splurge on the Neptune suite experience. We have been fortunate to have taken more than 50 cruises on various lines including crystal, Oceania, princess, and others besides ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate a special birthday and chose to splurge on the Neptune suite experience. We have been fortunate to have taken more than 50 cruises on various lines including crystal, Oceania, princess, and others besides Holland America. We are driven by a combination of itinerary and price with HAL meeting the criteria most often. The 14 days round trip Tampa with excellent and varied ports including Key West, San Juan, St Thomas, St Maarten, Dominica, Curaçao, Aruba, and Grand Cayman . The weather was fantastic and the seas were calm. Notables - service was super in the bars, the cabin and main dining room. We particularly enjoyed Sip and Savor in the Pinnacle bar each day at 5. The parings were interesting and Alvin was very informative about the wine. While experienced wine sippers p, we still enjoyed. Wine service in the diningroom had been a concern on previous cruises it was very good thanks to Clifford. The Ask the Captain presentation was fun and informative, not to be missed if you have the opportunity. KK the port lecturer was a good presenter as well as available on the dock at each port. Oh, oh' - it is unfortunate that the only smoking area is at the Seaview Bar aft which renders that bar unavailable to other passengers due to the heavy cigar smoking. As a former smoker, there does need to be a pleasant place to enjoy if one must but it just killed that bar which is a nice place for a late night drink. It's also not great for the employees that work in that area. The suite experience - was wonderful with access to the lounge and breakfast at the pinnacle grill. The other perks included free laundry, priority tender to shore (not back) , bottle of champagne, nice robes and slippers and of course a very spacious cabin. We enjoyed NFL playoff game on our 65" flat screen. It was quite the deal. That being said, it was not quite special enough for the price point. Our veranda cabins have been spacious enough and the amenities good enough. Value for money wasn't quite there. Based on our previous cruises we found the portions larger and the quality higher in main diningroom. Service was so good, we could have been in and out in 45 minutes if we hadn't dragged out feet to pace things out a bit. I like the Lido in that we, the passengers don't handle the utensils, just can't do the self-serve as you never know where the last handler has been. Got to love those fries at the Dive in - pagers work well as opposed to the princess line up and wait. The shops were not exciting -too much $10 stuff not enough duty free value. Jewelry could be much better displayed - didn't seem much personality in the sales department but then there wasn't much to sell. Maybe the Caribbean is so much a cruise of convenience for an older demographic, All in all a grand trip, made better by being surprised by good friends! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Just returned from a 14 day Caribbean Cruise which was wonderful. Enjoyed all the ports of call, snorkeled, went diving, hiked, played with Stingrays, explored cities. We really enjoyed the music on the Lincoln Stage Center by the chamber ... Read More
Just returned from a 14 day Caribbean Cruise which was wonderful. Enjoyed all the ports of call, snorkeled, went diving, hiked, played with Stingrays, explored cities. We really enjoyed the music on the Lincoln Stage Center by the chamber quartet and piano and were regular patrons at the Dueling Pianos, Danny and Anderson were just great! Very entertaining and fun. The food was good, we finally enjoyed our first meal at the Pinnacle and it did not disappoint. Steaks were very good! This was our fourth cruise, third on HAL. I was a regular at the happy hours in the Crow's Nest and Gallery and the bartenders were wonderful. A shout out to Oliver, TJ, Ami, and Mike! My next cruise I'm going to take more advantage of the culinary classes and digital workshops. The boat seemed to be in great shape, I like the new configuration of the Lincoln Stage Center and the Billboard dueling pianos area. The seating in the Lincoln Stage Center isn't the most comfortable, at least for me, and we often got there early so we could grab a more comfortable couch in the rear of the room. We thought the food was very good, similar to our other Holland experiences. We started going to the dining room more for breakfast and lunch when it fit our schedules and we really enjoyed that and will continue to do that in the future. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We have taken this cruise twice already. We like the ports, and it is a 14 day which we enjoy just the right amount of time to get away. We are retired and just go on the cruise to enjoy the pampering we get. The staff on the Oosterdam ... Read More
We have taken this cruise twice already. We like the ports, and it is a 14 day which we enjoy just the right amount of time to get away. We are retired and just go on the cruise to enjoy the pampering we get. The staff on the Oosterdam were fantastic. We found them very friendly and couldn't do enough to make us happy. Our cabin stewart was especially nice, we wanted harder pillows and we got them right away, our beds were moved apart to make more floor space, and it was taken care of while we were out of the room. We wanted wine glasses and the apeared. He always seemed to know when were gone and would do his jobs then. The ship itself is just yhe right size, not so big that you can't find your way around and there was always a placd to just sit and relax from your busy day on board. This is the best cruise for retired couples, we find the entertainment to be geared toward our age group now, 70s, 80s, 90s. We booked the same cruise next year! We had dinner at both the specialty restaurants, the steak was excellent at the Pinnacle as was the planked halibut. The italian was family style, the veal appetizer was very good, a lot of food for just two of us, but it was tasty. The dining room seating was nearly always available right away, food was beautifully presented and tasted good too. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2017
Delbert McClinton's 23rd Sandy Beaches Cruise was considered by most, the best vacation of their lives. The talent on board the ship was amazing. Delbert McClintons band, The Mavericks, Marcia Ball, Wayne Toups, The McCrary Sisters ... Read More
Delbert McClinton's 23rd Sandy Beaches Cruise was considered by most, the best vacation of their lives. The talent on board the ship was amazing. Delbert McClintons band, The Mavericks, Marcia Ball, Wayne Toups, The McCrary Sisters were just a few to name. The Seaview Pool was transformed into an outdoor theatre where many artists performed. This cruise was for music fans who got to meet up close, their favorite performers who mingled with the guests onboard as a big family. Unfortunately, the weather from the start was not cooperating with the outdoor activities. The waters heading to Grand Cayman from Tampa were rough and slight rain hampered some of the outdoor shows. The stop in Jamaica was cancelled because of rough waters. All in all, a little liquid sunshine, the event was a giant success and everyone can't wait for the next Sandy Beaches cruise January 6, 2018. Thank You Delbert & Friends for making this happen. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2016
We love sailing with HAL, they treat us so well, for seven days, we are treated so well, they just can';t be beat. It's sophistication, class and relaxation. If you want partying an pizazz, and pool parties, this isn't it. I ... Read More
We love sailing with HAL, they treat us so well, for seven days, we are treated so well, they just can';t be beat. It's sophistication, class and relaxation. If you want partying an pizazz, and pool parties, this isn't it. I f you wand to feel like royalty without feeling like you don't fit in, such as on Cunard or such, then this is it. Yet in the evening most everyone still dresses up, (respecting) and the entertainment is so good, then it winds down late er on so people can sleep. The food is decent, in the main dining room, is done very well. Keep in mind the buffett on lido deck is open at specified hours, if your'e not aware of this you would be frustrated, recently they've stepped up the variety there. Enjoy! They pride themselves on "a signature of excellence", the crew is what makes the cruise, they are what brings us back again and again. Shore excursions, they do a very nice job of intimacy and you feel like they did this just for you. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
The entire experience surpassed anything we imagined. Needless to say, we would recommend the Holland America Oosterdam to our friends and family. The cabin was well attended by Anon and Agus---they served our every need and were so ... Read More
The entire experience surpassed anything we imagined. Needless to say, we would recommend the Holland America Oosterdam to our friends and family. The cabin was well attended by Anon and Agus---they served our every need and were so courteous and professional. Cleanliness was stressed and carried out. Our cabin was impeccable and our attendants went above and beyond to please us with room service and nightly chocolates! The dining experience was absolutely wonderful. We had the same servers every night and they were amazing. Didit, Marlon, and Arief really took great care of us. The food was well presented and ever so tasty. Christmas dinner was excellent, and we loved the surf and turf. Lunch and breakfasts offered a vast array of delicious items. Service and care for the passengers is 100% consistent. I have never been so impressed by great service in my life. We enjoyed all the shows and the piano bar. We listened to Danny and Justin perform piano duets every night and then went into the BB King Bar. There was entertainment for everyone---even classical piano nights. Congratulations to Holland America. There is nothing but praise from our group of eight passengers. I can't wait to sign up for the next one! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We took this cruise for Christmas. We loved it! The only downside was that they made you pay for fresh water in your stateroom. The cabin we stayed in was very spacious! We had a balcony, mini fridge, 3 closets, and lots of mirrors! The ... Read More
We took this cruise for Christmas. We loved it! The only downside was that they made you pay for fresh water in your stateroom. The cabin we stayed in was very spacious! We had a balcony, mini fridge, 3 closets, and lots of mirrors! The staff and food were excellent. The crew were very nice and socialable. They made cute animal towels at night along with lots of information for the upcoming day. There was a Lido Market with buffet style food and nicer restaurants too. The ship had 2 pools with 3 hot tubs. The shore excursions were very nice. We went to Key West, FL, Roatan, Honduras, Cozumel Mexico, and Belize City, Belize. There was always entertainment going on any time of the day. From cooking shows to live quartets, you were always busy! We would definitely go on this cruise again. We loved the ship overall and it was fun! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Since this was my first Christmas sailing, I had some high expectations and I was pleased that HAL came through for my family and I. Christmas decorations were found throughout the ship, including a large gingerbread house display in the ... Read More
Since this was my first Christmas sailing, I had some high expectations and I was pleased that HAL came through for my family and I. Christmas decorations were found throughout the ship, including a large gingerbread house display in the atrium and chocolate sculptures in the main dining room. Overall, I was very pleased with the quality of food for dinner in the main dining room. There were at least 5-6 selections for at every night. We brought our own wine on board and found that the $18 corkage fee was well worth paying. Don't feel bashful about bringing your own wine, we saw several people each dragging whole cases with them throughout embarkation. Normally we ordered room service for breakfast and found that it was routinely delivered earlier than desired. Entertainment was a little lacking. The One World show was pretty good, but other acts later on in the week got a little stale. The highlight was when members of the crew sang traditional songs from their Philippine or Indonesian homes. We got the thermal suite pass during embarkation and loved it. It should be noted the NCL does a better overall spa experience. There is one large hydro therapy pool with two shower heads, a more intense whirlpool area (max 2 people), and steel bars arranged in a lounge chair formation where 4-6 people could bask. There was also another shower area and assorted lounge chairs. I rarely saw more than 6 people in the thermal suite area at a time. Then there is the second room with 6 heated mosaic tile chairs with views, two scented wet saunas, and various showers/misting areas. If there was a dry sauna on board, I missed it. There was also a premium wine tasting on the last day at sea. I felt it was a good value since the head sommelier was extremely knowledgable and you got pretty big pours of 5 different good quality wines. Also included was a welcome glass of sparkling wine and light snacks that compliment each of the wines. The sommelier also demonstrated sabering champagne bottles, which was quite thrilling. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
This was our first Holland America cruise. We have previously cruised on Royal Carribean and Norwegian. We enjoyed the cruise. We stopped in Key West, Roatan, Honduras, Santo Tomas, Guatemala, and Costa Maya. Key West was great! ... Read More
This was our first Holland America cruise. We have previously cruised on Royal Carribean and Norwegian. We enjoyed the cruise. We stopped in Key West, Roatan, Honduras, Santo Tomas, Guatemala, and Costa Maya. Key West was great! Quick tip- the ship drops you off downtown via a trolley (no charge). It's right in front of a CVS and we picked up a case of water to bring back to the ship. This was great. Roatan, Honduras was a great stop. We organized our own excursion while we stopped in Roatan, Honduras. It was the best excursion we have ever had. Daniel Johnson's Monkey & Sloth Hangout. Prior to our trip, I communicated with Daniel via Facebook and organized the tour. He is very responsive. After walking off the ship, down a hill, they were waiting for us with signs. They drove us all around the island, sharing history and landmarks. Always asking if we'd like to stop for pictures. She really understands the importance of service and friendliness. Of course, the highlight was visiting Daniel Johnson's Monkey & Sloth Hangout! We absolutely loved it! The experience of holding "Sid" the Sloth is almost indescribable. A once in a lifetime opportunity. He moves so slow, arms around you, hugging closely, feeling his heartbeatI can't say enough about how great this adventure was. It was so easy, reasonable, and of course memorable! I would rate it a 10 of 10. Santo Tomas, Guatemala- This port is disgusting. Trash floating in the ocean everywhere. Containers everywhere, as it is a shipping port. I've travelled all over the world and didn't feel good about leaving the port shops area. If you want cool Guatemala trinkets- this is the place. Costa Maya, Mexico- rather than doing an organized Excursion, we walked through the fake port shops and took the trolley into town. It cost $3 each one way. Cab it back (they are everywhere) and costs $2 each. We went to the Krazy Lobster, by the beach. Bucket of beers 5 for $5, they have bathrooms, no charge for seats by the ocean under an umbrella. The ship food was good. We had a balcony and ordered room service breakfast most mornings. Great view. Great cruise! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Holland American wowed me once again. I book a signature suite for me and my son. I love that the rooms on HAL are ready when you board. I hate dragging luggage the ship while trying to get lunch. We went to the Mariners Lunch, where We ... Read More
Holland American wowed me once again. I book a signature suite for me and my son. I love that the rooms on HAL are ready when you board. I hate dragging luggage the ship while trying to get lunch. We went to the Mariners Lunch, where We had a great lunch. I had the salmon, which was cooked perfectly. Alex had calamari and a burger, both were great. I had reserved in cabana in the Retreat, an adult only section on deck 11. The elevators only go to deck 10, but there is the slowest elevator in the world from 10 to 11. Roderick an Andrian greeted me warmly and treated be like royalty all week. So with a glass of champagne, I watch as we sailed from the port of Tampa and toasted to vacation. The cabana guys would bring me breakfast each morning, provide the daily lunch memo and deliver lunch at the specified time and at 3ish, they delivered more champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and grapes on skewers. Fresh fruit as well as water and Evian misters were replenished daily. While it was windy and rained for part of the day, the Retreat was my sanctuary for the week. The robes and towels are a wonderful addition. There are two showers to rinse or cool off. We loved Danny and Justin of Billboard on Board and spent every night at the piano bar, singing, meeting people and have great drinks. We did purchase the elite beverage package and could have beverages up to $15. It was well worth it. If I didn't like the drink, I didn't feel compelled to drink it. We dined at Canellato once and Pinnacle twice. Pinnacle was our favorite. I had a perfectly cook New York Strip and the lobster bisque. Alex had steak tartare and the Maine lobster tail, a surcharge but it was worth it, which looked more like a Carribbean lobster it was so big. The second time I did the Alaskan King Crab Legs no surcharge and added a small lobster tail for 10. The crab was a good portion, which I couldn't finish and took back to the room. I did get to try the piña colada soup. It was served in a bowl and was a cold soup, but a straw was needed not a spoon. Glad I wasn't driving. We got off in Key West to visit the Heminway houseI in Guatemala, which is a horrible port, we went through the marketplace inside a metal warehouse. Everything was the same. Not much to look at. It didn't look like handmade crafts. The port is an active port for cargo ships. The harbor water was filled with debris. It was noisy because it is a working port. Please remove this and maybe go to Belize or Cuba? The room service menu had changed but the service and quality haven't. I had to remind my 27 year old son that the portions are small, so order two. The turkey club,however, was more than enough. I am on Weight Watchers so I usually ate the sugar free desserts. This is the only cruise line that makes very tasty sugar free desserts. I had a seaweed wrap in the spa. It was heavenly. Alex did the teeth whitening and brought home a back of products, but he looks great. I hated to say good bye. When I got home, I kept dialing 92 but no one every answered. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Living in St Petersburg, Tampa is our home port, just 45 minutes from home to terminal 3 where the Oosterdam was docked. I have cruised from Tampa before, as my first ever cruise was 28 years ago on the Veracruz, a 10,000 ton ship that ... Read More
Living in St Petersburg, Tampa is our home port, just 45 minutes from home to terminal 3 where the Oosterdam was docked. I have cruised from Tampa before, as my first ever cruise was 28 years ago on the Veracruz, a 10,000 ton ship that did a 2 night cruise to nowhere. We had a wonderful time on it despite a tiny inside room with no frills what so ever. I think it was $119 each. Having graduated up to Holland America in 2003, on the previous Noordam, never really envisioned a ship the size of the Oosterdam (82,000 tons) sailing from Tampa. When questioned at the Captain's chat, Captain Robert Jan Kan responded that the Oosterdam has about 2 meters (6 feet) clearance under the Skyway Bridge which spans Tampa Bay near the entrance from the Gulf of Mexico. That is if it passes directly under the middle, which we did, about 6:30 pm after leaving the dock in Tampa quite promptly at 4:00. Prior to Oosterdam, HAL has never had a ship here bigger than the S class; Veendam and Ryndam were the biggest HAL ships here. This was the first 14 day cruise of the season and only the second Oosterdam cruise from Tampa. Captain Albert was also aboard as the traveling and training officer. Probably with the head navigation's decision as he has been in and out of Tampa about 300 times over the years by his own figures. It was great to read his blogs of exactly what the bridge was doing while we were enjoying. We booked a verandah knowing how nice they are for warm weather cruises. Just 2 days before leaving, we got the upsell email to change to a Signature Suite, deck 8 mid ship. Knowing that the suites had been completely redone on the O'dam, we added the additional charge to our credit card, and must say we were pleased with it. The SY suite was like a new ship with what is probably the Koningsdam colors and features. The verandah has 2 padded chairs that recline with padded ottomans and a table. It took until the second week for us to have room service coffee and juice delivered to it early enough to enjoy sunrise which was about 6:30 am. Then we would go down the mid ship glass elevator to the promenade deck (3) and do a few laps around before returning to our room and cleaning up for breakfast in the MDR. The bathroom has 2 sinks and a shower plus tub/shower and great lighted mirrors so a couple can both use the bathroom at the same time if necessary! The bathroom has a night light when the lights are turned off which we loved, too. The bed side lights also glow very faintly at night. We ate most of our breakfasts in the MDR and all of our dinners except one Pinnacle and one Canaletto night. Lunch was at the Lido Market, which also looks like new with new tile floors and trim and new chairs and tables. The meals were very good to excellent with very few exceptions. The service was prompt and gracious. The staff remains as one of the best reasons to cruise with Holland America! Lido table service, although sometimes challenged at peak times, is much appreciated. Ice tea, water, coffee were brought to us along with refills as needed. In addition to the upgrades to the physical ship, the entertainment has also been boosted impressively. The singers and dancers from the Koningsdam had just started new shows on the O'dam and with new LED panels and technology in the theater they were excellent. Look for "A Thousand Steps", "Musicolgy", and "Off The Charts" as the productions. Also the BBC production the Frozen Planet was beautiful. The Lincoln Center consisted of 2 violinists, a viola, a cello, and piano where they play a variety of classical music. Much better than just the duo previously in the Exploration Lounge, which is still there only smaller. Billboard on Board replaces the piano bar. Two pianos in a more open setting. Nice variety of oldies and new. I would miss the regular piano bar on a longer cruise. BB King in the Queens Lounge is the high energy venue. The Ocean Bar now has just a pianist for the quieter bar. The new Gallery Bar off the casino replaces the disco bar and it is stunning with nice paintings and a big screen TV for sports and comfy chairs. Trivia games abound around the ship with different. Sometimes they even awarded something better than a dam pin. Did I spell that right??? Jordan, who was the assistant cruise director, was our favorite trivia host. He had a most enjoyable personality and looked like he should be a personal trainer. The CD was Simon James, with a nice UK speech, was also enjoyable. He has worked on the mega ships of NCL and RCCL and seemed honestly happy to be CD on HAL. Can you imagine being in charge of anything on a ship with 6000 guests....just getting to the right place at the right time is a challenge. Our room stewards were fine. How they smile and ask if we need something when working long hours cleaning, is so appreciated. Only thing we asked for was more ice several times; the little ice buckets are small and the weather was warm on the verandah. Of course at home my servants do the same for me....in my dreams. We brought 2 bottles of wine with us and were given another, so we enjoyed them in the comfort of our suite on sailaways. Ports: Key West. Docked next to Mallory Square. Wonderful. Walked Duval and back the side streets. San Juan: Docked next to Old San Juan. Walked and rode free tram. Also took city bus to Conando Beach. Full day as we left at 10:30pm. St Thomas: Docked at Havensight Pier rather than Crown Bay. Took open air taxi to Red Hook and ferry to St John's VI. Nice day St John's, Antigua: First time here. Took mini van with another couple around island to English Harbor and Nelson's Dockyard. Huge super yachts there for a regatta. Not a favorite island for us. Castries, St Lucia: Ships tour on a mini bus to the south end of the island by Pitons and drive in volcano. This island, with its rainforests and winding road along the cliff, was our favorite. The tour was excellent, we were on it the whole day for 6 hours, and felt we saw and did a lot. The O'dam cruised down to the Pitons after departure and did 360 turns for everybody to see. Perfect sail away! Curacao: Queen Emma Bridge a delight. We docked just outside the entrance as Zuiderdam got the closest spot. Did a tour to the countryside. Good day Aruba: Took city bus to the lighthouse, well almost to it. Got in the water before going back. It was a short day, but nice. Grand Caymen: Took a van to the east end of the island and back for $10 US each. A UK lady who stays there often said she only pays $5. Much better than staying in port with 4 other ships there. Tender port. Overall: A great cruise on the OOsterdam! Highly recommend the 14 day over the western Caribbean 7 day. The updated ship and entertainment were much appreciated. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
We like Holland America because it fits our life style (we're both retired, in our mid 60's). We chose this 21 day cruise because it visited several ports we had not been to before. The ship had just arrived from Europe for the ... Read More
We like Holland America because it fits our life style (we're both retired, in our mid 60's). We chose this 21 day cruise because it visited several ports we had not been to before. The ship had just arrived from Europe for the start of the Caribbean season and there had been an outbreak Norovirus on board. This delayed the embarkation process by several hours as the crew did an extra special job of sanitizing the ship. Although HAL sent notifications of delay to passengers a couple days ahead, it was too late for most of us to change our arrival plans. This resulted in a very long line passengers having to wait outside the terminal (in the sun) for an hour or more prior to checking in. Let me state for the record that this is NOT the norm and we've always found HAL embarkation to be quick and painless. We were among the first to get on the ship and found our cabin clean and our luggage inside. We had a mid ship ocean view cabin and it was perfect - close to the elevators and free from much of the ship's motion. On the first 7 day leg there were probably 25 children on board (which is most I've seen on any HAL ship) while the next 14 day leg there were only two. We ate all breakfasts in the Lido as well as most lunches and a few dinners. We like the variety offered there. Seating was plentiful and readily available unless you chose to have a table to yourself. We don't like to share tables as it gives us the chance to meet our fellow passengers. On this cruise there were a number of folks from the Tampa area as well other parts of the US and Canada. We found the Lido food to be very good and a cut above what we've experienced on past HAL cruises. The salad stations were great as was the pasta station. Their pizza is pretty good and the Dive-In serves up great burgers and the best hot dogs I've ever had (Nathan quarter pounder on a seeded brioche bun). We ate in the main dining room for most dinners. For the last several cruises we've selected anytime dining as it gives us the chance to meet more people. Unless we got to the restaurant prior to 6:00 pm we found ourselves with 30-45 minute wait and generally eating at 8:00 pm or later. Dinners generally lasted two hours which was fine with us as it allowed plenty of time for good conversation. Happy hour drink prices are now buy one and get the second for $2.00. The times were staggered so that you could enjoy these prices for much of the night. I'm not a big drinker but I found the mixed drinks a bit watered down - HAL should just raise the prices if need be but give the customer a good drink. We attended most all of the stage shows and really liked most everything except for the juggler and the first comedian. Some shows were really, really good. It all comes down to preference. Cruise Director Simon and his staff did an outstanding job of keeping us occupied. We especially liked the trivia, cooking demonstrations and Simon's own personal presentations. Game prizes varied from a free round of drinks to HAL Caribbean buttons. The service provided by the HAL crew was excellent (as usual). All of the crew and officers greet you warmly and make you feel genuinely appreciated. By the second day, your room stewards will know you by name. Our room was always clean and the sheets changed several times. If only land based hotels and restaurants treated you so kindly. As for ports of call, we don't really care so much as where the ship is going so long as we're on board. I personally like the days at sea best just to relax. On this cruise we found Key West, Roatan (Honduras), San Juan and Curacao to be our favorites. We did the Bacardi tour in San Juan (which I would not recommend) and the Tiki Beach tour in Grand Cayman. You'll need your water shoes if you go in the water here (lots of rocks and coral on the bottom) and bring a wad of bills if you want to drink. Disney and three other ships were in port so the small beach was packed and there lots of kids running around. We did the Trolley in Key West which is a good choice and reasonable. With few exceptions, HAL land excursions are overpriced. In Antigua, you can save money by getting a tour on your own - I recommend the guys in the orange shirts in the tourist center. Lastly, if you drive to Tampa, I would recommend 241 Car Services to store your vehicle. They have a fenced area just a half mile from the pier and will drop you off and pick you up and store your vehicle for about half of what the Port Authority charges. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2016
I booked this one at last minute, price was too good to pass up. Originally booked Oceanview HH, got a deal on upgrade to VA 2 days before departure. The first part of the cruise we visited ports in spain and funchal, portugal. Each ... Read More
I booked this one at last minute, price was too good to pass up. Originally booked Oceanview HH, got a deal on upgrade to VA 2 days before departure. The first part of the cruise we visited ports in spain and funchal, portugal. Each one on the shore excursions were winners. The caves tour in Mallorca were fantastic...ended with a classic music quartet playing in dim lights on a boat in a large underground lake. Next tour we went from Cartagena to Elche, spain, beautiful walking tour of classic old town. Third tour at Malagda was to a private owned auto and clothing museum, truly unbelievable collections of antique autos and ladies clothing. Fourth tour at Funchal, rode the cable car to the top and took a LONG "sled" ride down. Great fun. Rest of trip was cross Atlantic. Captain said near the end that in his 23 years, this wwas the smoothest crossing he had ever experienced. Holland had upgraded their entertainment. Main stage shows were all great, and between BB KIngs, the new Dual Pianos lounge singing all the classics, and the new Lincoln center all were great. This was my 23rd cruise, several different lines, heavily Holland, but we seemed like novices on this cruise. I've never had the pleasure of talking with so many 4 and 5 star mariners and round-the-world cruisers. Great fun. Unfortunately, the ship had a small noro virus incidence, so we had to deal with all the special precautions and limitations that come with that. In convenient, but it worked well, they kept the infections small and I'd rather be inconvenienced that sick. As a result, we ate almost exclusively in the main dining room, which made for lots of good traveler interactions. Service was sometimes a little slow, but we all knew the crew was diminished everywhere so they could scrub and keep everything extra clean. Overall I believe Holland did a great job. We are booked again for 28 days leaving Hong Kong in January. Read Less
Oosterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.5 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.5 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

Find an Oosterdam Cruise

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