88 Holland America Oosterdam Cruise Reviews

We will not recommend this trip to friends. It was not what we expected. The pictures in Holland America's brochure were spectacular - Glacier Bay was amazing. But in fact when our ship pulled in to the bay on one of the very few ... Read More
We will not recommend this trip to friends. It was not what we expected. The pictures in Holland America's brochure were spectacular - Glacier Bay was amazing. But in fact when our ship pulled in to the bay on one of the very few sunny days, the Glacier was small and not even stunning - not at all the picture in their catalog. In two of the ports, Juneau and Ketchikan we were greeted with more of the same jewelry stores that were already on board ship with salesmen pressuring us on the sidewalks to enter and buy. Not the wilderness we expected to see. Upon embarkation in Seward we were "herded" into a warehouse where all 2000 guests were signing in to board. We were in line for hours, even though we had booked a Neptune Suite and were suppose to have special embarkation status - there were no Holland American agents working the line as you entered it to help you navigate to your correct spot. In addition when we did go up the gangplank and boarded our ship, despite what we paid there was no one to help us find our deck, elevators, or stateroom. We were surprised to see that everyone's luggage was being xrayed as well before being allowed on our ship. We all had previously been through TSA, and Customs - why the x ray - to find if you carried on your favorite bottle of scotch or wine. We heard from other guests how their bottles were taken and would not be returned until the disembarked the ship at the end of the cruise - unless they paid and $18.00 corkage fee per bottle! To us that was their personal property......! We had been looking forward to the food as we had heard it was wonderful. Again, we were disappointed Out of 5 stars the best we could give it is 3 and that was even with the evening in Le Cirque thrown in. I would not recommend the Pinnacle Grill or the evening in Le Cirque - they were overpriced for what you got. Our Stateroom on the other hand was very nice, and very well taken care of by our Stewards who were constantly available to help. Service in any of the restaurants was excellent as well as the bars. We were surprised though to hear the wait staff push whole bottles of wine on guests when they tried to order just a glass. Also, we overheard several Holland America staff pitching future cruises to several of the elderly guests. Disembarkation was as unorganized as embarkation - We will not recommend this trip . Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
My wife and I have just completed a 14-day Alaska cruise with Holland America on the MS Oosterdam. It was such an incredibly disappointing experience on all fronts that I feel that I must share my experience with other cruisers considering ... Read More
My wife and I have just completed a 14-day Alaska cruise with Holland America on the MS Oosterdam. It was such an incredibly disappointing experience on all fronts that I feel that I must share my experience with other cruisers considering sailing with Holland America. I apologize for the length of this review, but it is necessary. ACCESS FOR THE MOBILITY IMPAIRED - Like most cruise lines, Holland America only supplies wheelchair assistance for embarkation and disembarkation. The thing that sets Holland America and this cruise apart was the fact that I had to WALK several hundred yards from the bus/taxi drop off point to the office where you could request a wheelchair. While I was getting mine, a porter told the Holland America representative that a lady was sitting on the curb at the drop off point since she was unable to walk to the office. The HA rep was visibly annoyed and said that the woman would have to come to the office to get a wheelchair. Unbelievable! I do not know how the problem was resolved. There was a similar problem with disembarkation. We were told to report to one place on the ship if we needed a wheelchair. When none came, I managed to attract the attention of a HA rep and asked where the wheelchairs were. He appeared to be annoyed and told me “didn’t you hear the announcement?” You have to WALK to another area of the ship to claim your wheelchair for disembarkation. FOOD - This food on the trip, with a couple of exceptions, was very disappointing. The descriptions of the food made it sound fabulous, but they didn’t reflect reality. The food was not as described and was obviously “altered” to save money for HA. For example: “waldorf salad” consisted of apples and a little bit of celery (no grapes, no walnuts); a slice of fruit pie had two small pieces of fruit in it, the rest of the filling was thinned out fruit? liquid with a ton of cornstarch in it to make a gelatinous solid; “New York style cheesecake” looked like cheesecake, but was a concoction whipped up with air obviously to save money on ingredients; “baked Alaska” was just a small scoop of ice cream. Most of the main courses were of poor quality the worst being the fish, which was obviously frozen and was always dry and overcooked. After my second fish dish, I learned not to order that again. Unlike on our cruise earlier this year on the Emerald Princess, I never looked forward to dining on the Oosterdam. Worthy of special mention is the food on Lido buffet. I can only compare it to the worst of the chain cafeterias. For breakfast, the eggs were good (custom prepared), but that’s about it. The bacon was bordering on being raw, the waffles and pancakes were cold and like rubber, the “toast” was usually never toasted and was just awful and rubbery. They served you mini-portions (to save money). If you ordered an omelet, they would put about a teaspoon of fillings in it. I was in line next to a teenage boy (you know how they eat). He asked for pancakes and was given two, each about 3 inches in diameter. He was too intimidated to ask for more. While you can get by with breakfast and lunch (you can get a salad) on the Lido, don’t even think of eating dinner there. Enough said except to state that, as the cruise wore on, they were running out of food and the food became poorer by the day. FOOD SERVICE - Food service was terribly slow and inefficient. Either the waiters were on some kind of “work slowdown” or HA was understaffed. Can you imagine it taking an hour to have bacon and eggs! The hours of food service were very short (I’m sure they wanted to push you to eating at the Lido) and even the Lido had limited hours and was shut down by 10:30 at night (you couldn’t even get a cup of coffee after that except from room service). Our last cruise (3 months ago) was on the Emerald princess and they had the “International Café” which was staffed by a couple of people 24 hours a day. If you couldn’t sleep at night, you could go there and get a cup of coffee and read without disturbing your cabin mate. There was no such option on the Oosterdam. You would think that a ship with 2,000 passengers could afford to provide this service. Room service was, I believe, intentionally slow, in order to train you not to use it. It typically took the best part of an hour to get some coffee (or anything else) by which time you no longer wanted it. THE PASSENGER COMES SECOND - You would think that, at a minimum you should be able to enjoy the comfort of your room (we had a balcony). We returned back from breakfast one day to find that the balcony railing had been varnished. I have a lung condition and could not breath. We had to leave our stateroom for the day until the stench died down. Nobody ever bothered to ask us before doing this. Another day, we were told that they would be coming into our stateroom (at a time that we would normally be in bed) to hose down the veranda. It seems to me that whether it is ship maintenance or food service hours, or anything else, no consideration is given to the passenger. SALES PITCHES AD NAUSEUM - Being on this HA cruise was like being locked up with a bunch of high-pressure salesmen. The vast majority of activities on the ship either cost money or were sales pitches to make you spend money. Two weeks of this becomes very tedious and annoying ROOM STEWARD - The one bright spot on this cruise. Our steward was outstanding. As an example, the first day of the cruise I asked for ice so I could make myself a drink in my cabin. Thereafter, there was always fresh ice in my room without me asking. OTHER THOUGHTS - We took a 14-day cruise (Vancouver to Seward and back). HA should treat it as a 14-day cruise and not two seven-day cruises. Not only did we visit the same ports coming and going (we expected that), but also we were subjected to the same entertainment and same never-ending sales pitches. HA is way too cheap when it comes to making the passengers feel good. Princess had small token gifts and at least recognized it when you had a special occasion such as an anniversary. There was a wonderful lady on our cruise that was celebrating her 100th BIRTHDAY!!!! WOW! Guess what HA did to help her celebrate that great moment, NOTHING!!! I don’t know if HA is dishonest, or just doesn’t care about its customers. We had paid for an excursion and the HA staff directed us to the wrong bus and we missed our tour. I spoke to a HA representative the day we left the ship to get a refund and was given a business card and told to contact customer service. Customer service did not answer their phone (I was on hold a half hour) and they have failed to respond to an e-mail that I sent them regarding this matter. We are retired and will be cruising 3 to 4 times a year, but as I said earlier, NEVER NEVER again on Holland America.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
After having cruised with various lines (20 times) My wife and I decided to try the Holland America line (Oosterdam) cruising to the Pacific Islands on the 2nd of March 2014 for14 nights Embarkation and disembarkation was excellent The ... Read More
After having cruised with various lines (20 times) My wife and I decided to try the Holland America line (Oosterdam) cruising to the Pacific Islands on the 2nd of March 2014 for14 nights Embarkation and disembarkation was excellent The ship to us seemed too dark in colours Our cabin with balcony (the balcony could not be used due to cabins on either sides were smoking and of course the smell wafted to our side made it very unpleasant) Also smoking in the casino and other places should be a definite NO as internationally smoking and passive smoking is a Health Hazard We did not like the Lido having different service bays and to line up in one then lining again in another and the food getting cold The screening room was a joke 32 seats for 1900 passengers The port of Luganville was wasted time , why not go to Champagne Bay which is nearby Two months previously we were advised by another Line that in New Caledonia there was a severe ZIKA FEVER alert Nothing about it was told to us. I mentioned this to the other couple on our table who approached the medical about it (they knew nothing about it) and yet someone in the front office was aware of it   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Just arrived back today (19 January 2014) from a South Pacific Cruise departing Sydney. Firstly, the cabin upgrade from verandah to veranda suite was a lovely surprise and was really appreciated. Then comes the rest, not necessarily so ... Read More
Just arrived back today (19 January 2014) from a South Pacific Cruise departing Sydney. Firstly, the cabin upgrade from verandah to veranda suite was a lovely surprise and was really appreciated. Then comes the rest, not necessarily so good. Food: Main dining room choices, style and flavour were very good as was the Pinnacle Grill.Temperature checks need to be done in the Main dining room, as often food temperatures were barely safe serving temperature.The Lido was passable with reasonable but limited choices. Service standards and staffing levels: Open seating in the main dining room was a debacle from day 1 with a wait time of 45 minutes but ok, it was the first night. After attempting to book for for following nights, I was told that the only available times were 5.15pm or 5.30pm. Every night was line up and then wait for 30 to 45 minutes to be seated. Once seated, the service was good but it is obvious that staff numbers have been cut dramatically, particularly in Wine and Food Service and it is very noticeable. The wine waiters can only serve wine by the bottle. The food servers now take orders for all drinks including glasses of wine, this poses difficulties and takes more time. Our last cruise with HAL was Sept 2012 in Europe and the reduction of staff numbers is very obvious and having a serious impact of quality and service standards. No more coffee/tea trolley in the Lido, over the 14 days, we were lucky to see 2 trolleys go by. Ran out of clothe serviettes and cutlery on the last lunch day in the Lido. Cabin stewards are amazing, the work they do and the time they get to do it in is amazing, 10 minutes per room and no overtime. Those guys are worth every tip they get and then some. Furnishing and fit out: VERY Tired,with the Oosterdam in real need of upgrade from soft furnishings right through to general furnishing. Lots of holes and stuffing showing through in cushions and lounges both in cabins and public areas, wooden tables, chairs and railings needing major sanding and revarnishing, worn carpets in all public areas including stairways and corridors. We have a European cruise booked with HAL in September 2014 and I hope this shows some major improvements, otherwise this Mariner will be travelling with another line. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Quick synopsis: Old ship in need of total refurbishment to bring up to today’s standards. Crew at times were surly and quite confrontational. Food okay but not outstanding. Entertainment mostly appalling Ships senior offers not ... Read More
Quick synopsis: Old ship in need of total refurbishment to bring up to today’s standards. Crew at times were surly and quite confrontational. Food okay but not outstanding. Entertainment mostly appalling Ships senior offers not available or seen above the rank of a 1 bar. Scandalous! Front desk, polite but useless. Certain areas of ship need a good spotless clean. Carpets on stairwells worn-out. Ships crew seems to lack discipline and smartness of dress untidy. Review: It has been 8 years since our last HAL cruise, in this time there is a noticeable difference in the standard of service for which Holland and America were once renowned for. The Carnival Corporation has now worked its policies on this line to make it more affordable to everyone, so for those of you accustomed to the old more prestigious line or to travelling on Celebrity or Royal Caribbean out of Australia then possibly the now old, bruised and battered Oosterdam will not be up to their high service levels in all departments. Check in was pitifully slow with only 80% of the check in counters being manned. No priority line for mini suite guests. Once on board no staff to welcome you, find your own way, for an avid cruiser not a problem but for those new to cruising they found it more difficult to find their cabins. Our suite upon arrival was smelly, from body odours and not being sanitised thoroughly. The bathroom floor tiles had large areas of grout missing, clear evidence that both maintenance and supervisory attendance were lacking. No cabin steward in sight or one to introduce themselves to us until well after we were on our way to evening dinner. We asked for the strong odour smells to be irradiated, no such luck. We persevered that night but the next day the smell was equally as prevalent, we asked for the cabin to be deep cleaned, which apparently it was, to no avail. So we left the cabin door open on the balcony which after 8 hours did the trick along with us spraying our deodorant over the fabrics. No more smells of past bodies. The bathroom was re-grouted too. Unfortunately now the cabin stewards have to attend to 30 cabins on Hal, up from 19, so in all fairness they have little time to really spoil you and spruce up your cabin, past a very quick spit and polish if you are extremely lucky. The bathroom toiletries consisted of a single bar of soap for basin and shower with a single small pot of body lotion. This was your luxury pack of toiletries. Our towels were constantly old and grey not white, fluffy and pristine. Occasionally when we were fortunate enough to find a relatively new towel it was a fight to see who showered first. Cabin overall was adequate but for a suite nothing too special to entice you back. Lido, breakfast and lunch both offer a good range and selection, again not to RCI or Celebrity, quality wise but, good enough, if your first cruise you would not be disappointed. Vista dining room, here too they now have 30 covers to serve, that's per steward, which again gives a lot of work for one person to cover. The quality of the food was again good but not outstanding. Not to the same level as Radiance, Rhapsody or Solstice, all three outshine the Oosterdam by a mile in all degrees of service level, quantity, quality and presentation. Whilst the waiting stewards were fairly joyous and happy, due to their volume of work they had little time to make your dining experience that extra bit special, as was the case previously. I would go as far as to say that my experience on the Pacific Dawn was indeed superior to that of the Oosterdam, which was over 3 times the price to that paid for similar accommodation on the Dawn. Officers above 1 bar were never to be spotted on this ship, never, even if requested, you were not able to voice your concerns to a senior officer of this ship. It was as if you were prevented from asking a question that you may have been given a real answer to, instead this ship diversifies your real question and answers with a totally irrelevant one, which of course is extremely frustrating and irritating. Entertainment was below par for what is perceived as a 5star cruise line. Only 3 cruise line production shows on this a 14 night cruise. No doubt they only now have 3 in their portfolio as most cruises out of the US are for 7 nights which would make show every other night but one would have thought that at Christmas a little bit of extra thought would have brought them up to speed and introduced extra shows for this over priced cruise, which all Christmas cruises are. No show or entertainment at all in the Vista lounge on the last night. The venue itself has many seats which have a pillow blocking the view of the performers, this spoils any enjoyment. The layout of the seating is particularly badly designed with the first 7 rows set out as if you were in a two bit club, tables and uncomfortable chairs, taking up where at least 12 full rows of theatre seating could have been installed. So many people could not be seated at the evening shows. Brought into service in 1995 the ship is badly in need of a total refit, this is not a luxury liner of the 21st century, is this why it is brought to Australia for our summer. Why are all cruise lines guilty of bringing all of their old worn out ships to die in Australia? After all our rate per cabin per day is far higher charge than say one sailing the Caribbean route or for that matter the northern European routes. Overall my experience on this Christmas and New Year cruise was very disappointing as it was for many that voiced their grievances to me. Many a comment was made about staffing levels and wait times for service from often quite surly crew. How times are changing. New Years Eve: At times ships run like clockwork and at others they seem to be run by idiots. On New Years Eve, the dress code was casual, first time in my 17 years of cruising at Christmas and New Year. Most of the bars were closed at 10 pm to allow for everyone to attend the pool party on the open deck under the stars. (Make everyone attend no options) When we arrived at 9pm they were clearing away all of the tables and chairs. They removed every single one, apart for those where 6 people were already sitting. Hid them and locked them all away out of sight. Asked officer why, he replied “there are going to be 1500 people up here and we want to make enough room” I replied “so you want people to stand for 3 to 4 hours on a moving ship for all this time” he replied “yeah” pointing out the age demographics of the ship seemed not to draw his attention to that plight. We ourselves went to another cupboard and grabbed 4 chairs and a table for our drinks. Over the next hour or so, everyone who then arrived went to the rear pool area through the Lido and brought back a set of chairs and tables. By midnight the place was full of tables and chairs brought by the passengers either from their own cabins or from the rear pool, area. I ask these idiots’s as that is clearly what they were, what was the purpose or locking way all the chairs in a room and drawing the curtains/blinds to hide them and then allowing all the passengers to fetch their own chairs, stupidly or what! Unbelievable.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
The agenda...14 days in Venuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji, followed by immersion for 14 days in New Zealand was great. The ports were wonderful, the activities available were plentiful and the agenda experience was outstanding. I wish I ... Read More
The agenda...14 days in Venuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji, followed by immersion for 14 days in New Zealand was great. The ports were wonderful, the activities available were plentiful and the agenda experience was outstanding. I wish I could say the same about our onboard time. Oosterdam operated like it didn't care if you were there or not. HAL, the once excellent cruiseline, has reduced itself to the lowest common denominator in the cruise industry. While their brochure promise Five-Star Luxury and treatment, they deliver 1-star performance. The company has decided that cost cutting comes before customer satisfaction. I really don't want to say anymore because I'll get in trouble with HAL defenders, but HAL needs to fire some folks and FIRE-UP their operations. They lack staff enthusiasm and it shows in the product they deliver, be it be the food or the service or the entertainment, Their "safety" drill...the one where you show up at your lifeboat station...is a joke. No one is paying attention and the staff we must rely (singers, dancers?) on appear to be incompetent and uninterested in the exercise. I can only imagine the panic in a real emergency! Our cabin was nice...about double the normal stateroom size. Finding storage space was not a problem. And it was comfy. The Neptune Lounge was nice, but hardly enough to justify the very expensive price of the suite. Some folks just love these suites, but I find it difficult to see the cost-value benefits. The staff doesn't seem to care if you're there or not. OK, no more on this. I'm already in big trouble with HAL fans. Go for the low price, but don't expect much except for what you can do for yourself. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
this cruise was nothing like we booked 12 months ago.Embarkation in Seattle was fine nice and smooth and first impressions of the ship were fine the cabin was good . how wrong can first impressions be. it was down hill from there on. the ... Read More
this cruise was nothing like we booked 12 months ago.Embarkation in Seattle was fine nice and smooth and first impressions of the ship were fine the cabin was good . how wrong can first impressions be. it was down hill from there on. the ship left Seattle one day late due to bad weather which we can fully understand as safety comes always first. but then it started they changed the port of Hilo for laihaini cut of a day in Honolulu changed the dates on Dravuni island and Suva in Fiji cutting of the evening visit in Suva. we have never been on a ship with so many changes happening to the itenerary as on this one never mind if you had private tours booked you lost your money.We have never seen so many unhappy people as on this ship. the food standard was very dissapointing in the main restaurant the food was bland a cold we send it back on a few occations and walked out. the dining room waiters were great they tried their upmost. food in the Lido was average apart from the Oriental and italian sections they were great. we feel the standards have dropped on this vessel from a 5 to a 3 we do hope that it was just this vessel as we have sailed before with HAL and were very happy.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Thank goodness for Seattle. I'd finally convinced my husband to take an Alaskan cruise ( about 4 years of talking). When he said yes, I quickly booked a trip before he could change his mind. Booked in August for travel in September. ... Read More
Thank goodness for Seattle. I'd finally convinced my husband to take an Alaskan cruise ( about 4 years of talking). When he said yes, I quickly booked a trip before he could change his mind. Booked in August for travel in September. Since he had agreed to the adventure, I added 2 days pre cruise in Seattle. Thank goodness for Seattle. We stayed at the Seattle Marriot Waterfront. Nice hotel,great views, close to Pikes Place Market ,the BigWheel and lots of restuarants. We took two Savor Seattle Tours ,both great , a city bus tour and went up into the Space Needle. We had a great time and want to return for a longer visit. Thank goodness for Seattle. Since this was our first cruise , we were a bit apprehensive about embarkation. Happily , it was painless. Everyone was courteous and helpful. We were feeling excited, we were on our way. We had heard so many good things about Holland America obviously they had not been in our room on the Oosterdam. We walked into room 5154 and were so disappointed. The room looked worn and shabby. The sofa's arm was torn ,the springs ( it was a sofa bed) were showing. The pillows on the sofa were dirty and stained. The plaid throws looked liked they should have been thrown away cruises ago. But what I had noticed first was the most upsetting. The black knob on the blonde wooden cabinet over the sofa was being held on by white tissue sticking out all around the knob. Really. I realized it was the second to last cruise of the season and things may be a little worn,but REALLY. The bedding looked worn and the pillows smelled old. Thank goodness for Seattle. By Wednesday-the third day of the trip- the knob had been glued,the sofa had been changed. The bedding did not improve. The ship's decor was a bit dated and worn. Know now I should have checked the last time it was refurbished when choosing a ship. Positive note, the mattress was comfortable even in high seas. The food---------the buffets, not bad not great. Hard to find a place to sit. The Vista dining room was better but service was slow. We had dinner at the Pinnacle Grill, probably the best meal. The crab cakes were wonderful. Again the service was a bit slow. Canaletto, pretty good, BUT. We were offered the dessert menu before we were served our pasta. Lots of servers, one not knowing what the other was doing. We ordered drinks. We waited for the bill. Finally got up and told the person at the podium about the drinks and our room number. Our evening at Le Cirque is another story--------food very good ,service good BUT with 80 mph winds and 20 foot seas, a little hard to enjoy. I could see huge waves through the window ! We ordered breakfast room service each morning. Food good but always a little later than the time we requested. It was hard to get a call through to room service. Always busy. One afternoon i requested some orange juice. They said they only serve orange juice in the morning?? Thank goodness for Seattle. Alaska is BEAUTIFUL. We saw only a small amount and would love to go back. Just not on a cruise. Tracy's Arm was overwhelming. Could not believe that blue even on a cloudy day. Our Juneau tour,a glacier and whale watching photo safari, was great. Fun and educational. Our photo guide and boat captain were wonderful. THEN , a real adventure began. We thought we left the Gulf Coast and hurricanes. No, we were on a ship in Alaska with 85 mph winds and 20 foot seas and we couldn't evacuate !! Stuck on a ship rocking and rolling. We could not stop in Sitka--the reason I booked this cruise-- not many cruise ships stop in Sitka and from what I have read since we have been home,Holland America skips it often in September. I wish I had done more research on this cruise line. Let the buyer beware. We also missed Ketchican. So for a 7day cruise, we were on the ship for 5 days. Thank goodness for Dramamine and Seattle. Had never seen ships shows before. After the first show didn't really care to spend time there again. Though I did go back for Dancing With The Stars the last night-----entertaining. Wanted to see the magician, boat was really rocking that night , had to hold on to the bed instead. Most activities involved some sort of a fee. Movies were free but unless they moved to a bigger room only about 30 people fit. The Digital Workshop was so informative but there again if you didn't get there early there was no room. So happy to get to Victoria. To get off the ship. But by then we were a little ship shocked and sad we had missed so much. We did take a city bus tour. Victoria is beautiful and we want to return but not on a cruise. We tried but just couldn't get into it. Don't want to be, but still sad about the whole cruise. From what I have learned since returning home,maybe Holland America should leave for Hawaii at the end of August. It seems the weather is often not conducive to cruising in September. The salmon are gone--we saw none and the whales are on their way to warmer weather. Maybe the cruise ships should also leave or when offering a lower price also tell the customer that some ports may be skipped because of the weather in September. We are not from that area of the country and had no idea of September's stormy weather. Seattle was cloudy and rainy but thank goodness for Seattle. We paid $20 per person extra to have our luggage , best money spent. The disembarkation seemed a bit disorganized. Wish we could have stayed a few days in Seattle after the cruise. Thank goodness for Seattle! Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
I just returned from Holland America's Cruise to Alaska on the Oosterdam sailing June 23rd. I was very very disappointed. The room was clean and our steward could not have been better. The food was horrible. Old Country Buffet would ... Read More
I just returned from Holland America's Cruise to Alaska on the Oosterdam sailing June 23rd. I was very very disappointed. The room was clean and our steward could not have been better. The food was horrible. Old Country Buffet would have been gourmet compared to the food available. No taste. Poor Quality. Rude service from the buffet staff. Room service was a joke. Long waits and never get the order right. I was even sent rotten fruit. Any time I asked for something I was told they were out of it, on the second day. We were told on prime rib night they forgot to load the prime ribs. Turkey day the was no turkey in the buffet. We opted for open dinning. Do not do it the servers were over worked and we waited and waited. The next day we opted for late seating and our waiters at table 8 were great. With most of our food left on our plates(four adults) they asked if it was good they offered to bring something else after a few tries we gave up. The entertainment was poor. The singers and dancers work to canned music. Old and dated material. I have seen better high school productions. The magician was good. The ventriloquist's material was from the 60's-70's and not very funny. We ended up entertaining ourselves in the library with the games there. Other main night entertainment was provided by the passengers in the form of newlywed game and dancing with the stars. That's ok for extra entertainment, but not the night's main entertainment. Our ports were great, all but one excursion we booked after we got off the ship at much less. Alaska was beautiful! We wanted to adjust our tip that is automatically added every day and give to people who went the extra mile. We were told we were not allowed to do that and that was that. If that is the case then they should include it in the cruise price. We will not cruise Holland America again. They have cut back so much it was such a disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
I had read several reviews about cruising Holland America as well as the ship Oosterdam, I do not know what ship they were sailing on, but it could not have been the same. On a positive note, the crew were very friendly, always smiling, ... Read More
I had read several reviews about cruising Holland America as well as the ship Oosterdam, I do not know what ship they were sailing on, but it could not have been the same. On a positive note, the crew were very friendly, always smiling, and so helpful. Sometimes the language barrier was a little frustrating, but I would not trade that in as the crew was wonderful. That being said, lets start with the ship. It seems to be older, basically clean as long as you stay out of the casino, but there was not much to do unless you want to pay a couple thousand dollars just to get on the ship and spend several hundred more on shopping and activities. Everything seemed to cost. Internet usage was expensive, deoderant(my husband forgot his) was almost $8, every turn someone was trying to sell low quality wine at a price that would suggest robbery. I was excited about the movies, but there is only room for maybe 30 people-keeping in mind the ship holds around 2,000! And help you if you are caught saving a seat for your spouse, I thought one of the families who was saving a seat for her inlaws was going to have to walk the plank! Seating is cutthroat so go early if it is a decent movie that you really want to see. I went to an activity called "make a candy box", Ok there was no candy, and it involved a prefolded HAL box that took all of 15 minutes. * Ok now the room. I had the VA, which is delux verandah. I don't know what was delux about it. I always heard HAL rooms were bigger than other cruiselines-this room was no bigger than any other cruise I have been on, and our toilent did not work the first 4 days. We were constantly calling for someone to unclog it-keep in mind my rule is always flush twice, once before the paper and once after to prevent clogging. It was never less than 2 hours to get the toilet unclogged. Half the time it wouldn't even flush-you never knew when the toilet would work. Beds weren't bad, and the one thing I can say was great was the run of free movies in the room, especially since the screening room was always full. * The ship performances were low rate, say if you visited the old part of Branson Missouri, they were better performers. Even if you wanted to see the shows, there was no room. The only explanation I have for the tiny spaces, is they must have been trying to fit as many staterooms as possible, and no room for other spaces. The fitness center just plane sucked (sorry). It was one tiny room with a few treadmills and weights-people hovered trying to get a treadmill. My husband and I took to running the flights of stairs since working out was not working out in the fitness center. * The ports were great. Alaska is wonderful-but I would not take HAL to visit again. Careful with the excursions. We did the zipline and it was great-all we expected. The second excursion was not very active, and I did not realize that. It was the Wilderness Crab feast. The food was great, but it is more suited for a 70 year old than a 30 year old. We did meet a couple who found their own excursions in Juneau and Sitka. They went to a glacier on foot and kayaked-we were jelous. Their excursion turned out great and they made it to port in plenty of time. Yes, the boat will leave you if you do not make it in time, but don't let that scare you from a wonderful excursion, just do your homework. * Now I saved the best for last-the food. It was for the most part terrible. The positives- the fresh fruit is great, breakfast was just fine. It is hard to mess up 2 fried eggs and french toast, but that is where the good news ends. There were a couple exceptions. I had escargot and it was actually very tender and flavorful. That same night I had a salad with mushrooms and gorgonzolla cheese that was great. The rest of the food is typical buffet food. Tough beef-stay away from the prime rib, it is a sad waste of a cow's life, unless you like boot leather. Vegetables were super salty and full of butter, pizza was comparable to cardboard, I was given a salad that had bloated raisens and soggy apples-it was terrible. The desserts were awful, no flavor at all. We stopped eating in the dining room because it was the same food that was served on deck, and it took forever to get the food. We heard everyone say that the restaurants you pay extra for were great-but I already paid almost $3000, I should have great food. The better food on the boat is the in room dining. You are very limited on your choices, but the quality seemed a little better, and you didn't have lines of people. Oh, and you have a place to sit in your room. The buffet restaurant, you spend most your time fighting for a place to sit and eat before your food gets cold. * I am sorry this review is so negative, but both my husband and I were very disappointed. We are not first time cruisers, but may be last time cruisers. We were not the only passengers with this opinion, we spoke with several others who were disappointed. Yes there were people who were thoroughly enjoying themselves, but I suspect those are the same people happy with the golden coral special. If you like chicken stuffed with prunes, bloated raisens in your salad, the excitement of not knowing if you commode will work, and fighting to the death for a theater seat, this is the cruise for you, otherwise, I would look elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We have many cruises under our belt and this one to date was by far the poorest of them all....read on :) Wintertime cruising may have had a lot to do with the sea and weather conditions but certainly not the appearance of the ms ... Read More
We have many cruises under our belt and this one to date was by far the poorest of them all....read on :) Wintertime cruising may have had a lot to do with the sea and weather conditions but certainly not the appearance of the ms Oosterdam. First off, let me start by saying this Cruise was more forgettable than regrettable. After all it was a holiday cruise and we were sailing to Hawaii with friends and family. But that's it!! We sailed on the well used ms Oosterdam from San Diego, Ca. on Dec 10 for 14 days via Hawaii/Ensenada, Mexico and back to San Diego on the 24th of Dec. Passenger total around (my guess) 1700 vs 1916 max Passenger ratio to staff was about 12:1 or maybe even 13:1. Seemed a little thin. AVERAGE age for THIS cruise: 70+ PROS: > Staff was most likely the friendliest and most polite crew we have ever experienced on any cruise! Hats off to Abdul and Atkar for keeping our cabin ship shape and for the friendly smile of Carina each morning in the Lido Buffet Restaurant. > "Buffet" style food was absolutely the BEST, by far a better dining experience than assigned/scheduled seating, with no comparison! We did NOT experience one bad or even marginally poor meal. > Ports of call were outstanding! Lahaina being the exception, (mentioned in the body of this review) CONS: Some of our cabin furniture was ready for the recycle bin, with deep scratches and gouges in the table, the "imitation" leather chair had tears and the bedding just wasn't new and fresh. Even the pictures on the walls resembled something out of a 60's Sammy Davis movie. > The atrium appeared old and outdated. >Exploration Lounge and quiet area was pretty tired as well. It is adorned with leather seating everywhere, most of which in need of repair or replacement. > The carpet, throughout the vessel, was spent! Stained and faded by severe foot traffic helping show its age! < VISTA RESTAURANT (assigned or scheduled seating) WAS A JOKE! HORRIBLE SERVICE, UNTIMELY FOOD DELIVERY AND SUB PAR MEALS! < On board recreation.......again, don't count on it. Deck 10, the sports deck, was so cold and windy EVERY day that only the brave would venture a morning walk. Don't wear a hat, you'll never see it again. Basketball, shuffleboard, and other outdoor activities on this deck simply won't happen while at sea. < Itinerary says 4 days at sea to and from Hawaii. This isn't true. Those are calendar dates, and in reality you're at sea for almost 5 days or 110 hours. THAT'S A LONG TIME in rough seas! < My wife being a health Spa fanatic would NOT get in any of the "community" hot tubs. (yes, that swirling hot tub scum was evident in both midship and aft tubs, nasty!) She used the midship pool on the first day and didn't use it again! < Seriously HACL!!! You can't afford to at least maintain the Ping Pong tables! The table tennis nets needed to be super glued or nail gunned in place in order to use them. The paddles were purchased when the ship was christened! Throw them away and get new ones. (We brought our own, which turned out to be a GREAT plan) My take: Our group of 5 had reviewed this very site for positive and negative reviews of this particular vessel and cruise. We decided that there wasn't really any bad signs that would inhibit us from taking this cruise to Hawaii. Embarkation was a SNAP, I mean literally a piece of cake! We arrived at the dock parking lot in our POV and off loaded our luggage where we were met with efficient baggage handlers. From that moment until we were in our cabin was not more than 30 minutes. No lines, little fuss with security and very few people. This was nice. We made a timely pushback from the dock as scheduled at 5pm under a gorgeous rising full moon over the San Diego sky line. Day 1 at sea: Water Water Water, rough seas and more water. Not much to go on as you read this but the sea was so rough that sitting down attractions were the only way to pass the time. Cribbage anyone? First night entertainment was slightly better than that roadside puppet show you'd see at the county carnival. We opted for the Vista "As You Wish" seating and made our way to dinner around 6pm. We were seated promptly, but that was only the good part of this experience. We had 2 waiters, both of whom seemed to be in training or somewhat lost with there job descriptions. It took, literally, 30 minutes each time for 4 different courses of food to be delivered to our table of 5. That's soup, salad, entree, and desert, followed by a cup of coffee. We spent almost 2.5 hours in the Vista Restaurant waiting for service and food. On top of that, our entrees were room temperature and certainly NOT palatable. First night slow start, maybe, we gave that to them and moved on. Day 2 at sea: Water, Wind, and still more water, except the wind had increased. Pretty boring day it turned out to be, but that was our choice as we really didn't want to be cabin bound all day. Cribbage anyone? Formal night wasn't going to happen after our first Vista dining experience. We ate at the Lido Restaurant, and as it turned out was excellent!!! Day 3 at sea: Review Day 2, except we tried the Vista Restaurant for a second attempt. This experience was actually efficient and notable turn-around from day 1. Exceptions being we had different table and waiter assignments. Go figure? Day 4 at sea: Water is really getting boring and the sea was continuing to toss us around. Still nothing to do but wander the girth of the ship and explore. We were bobbing around in 10-12 foot swells with 30 knot cross wind. Our cabin sliding door was actually whistling loudly by the vacuum being created from the strong wind on the port side of the ship. We could barely open it. Day 5 Hilo!! Can you say rain.........one of the rainiest places on earth, but this POC (Port of Call) was awesome. Highly recommend the helicopter tour of the volcano and keep your camera with you at all times. There's plenty to see and do. Day 6 Honolulu.......Not so much fun...college students were out of classes for the holiday break and the traffic in Honolulu is beyond belief. It was literally the worst we have EVER experienced. And I used to live in Southern Cal. We did the Arizona Memorial, which pretty much took up all of our time. Took us exactly 1 hour to drive 6 miles to get lunch. Still the sites were pleasant, but we will never do Honolulu again. Day 7 Nawiliwili....Kauai, this was the best island by far, rent a car or scooter and enjoy it all. You won't be disappointed. This was also the evening we tried the Vista Restaurant once again, citing a good experience from 3 or 4 days earlier. OH man!! what a mistake this was. We got seated at the same table as our first visit and had the same deplorable waiters. Again we sat for an unnecessarily long time. We even questioned if we could sit at the adjacent vacant table by the window but got denied. About 15 minutes later that table did occupy. All our orders were placed, almost exactly like the first day. And like the first day I ordered a generic green salad, nothing extra, with dressing. The waiter could NOT comprehend what it was I wanted, even after many clarifying definitions. I asked him to disregard my request and move on. Magically a salad showed up??!! I'm thinking someone had to translate my order for him. Remember that table that was by the window that occupied 15 minutes after us? They received their main entree before we did, and they also ordered the same number of courses from the dame waiters. The maitre 'd explained that there was a screw up in the kitchen and that our order was on its way. Oh yeah, our entree showed up! They showed up cold, we couldn't believe it!!!! We each ate a small portion of our meal and got up and walked out. Actually the looks on the waiters faces made my day. The VISTA Restaurant is HORRIBLE! Certainly not worthy of having the distinction of serving world class entrees. Day 8 Lahaina, Maui.....Well here we go............We were tendered off the vessel while anchored in Lahaina bay. Even though we had rental cars waiting for us there, we caught a glimpse of some advertising for scooter rentals conveniently parked at the dock.....and took the bait. Actually it is a great way to see the island. I made a phone call via the 800 number listed on the ad and was given instructions where to wait. 25m later a van arrived and drove us "across town", (10miles??) to the rental location. This is where you really get a taste of the local economy and businesses. Shortly after we arrived we discovered that the scooters advertised were indeed NOT the scooters we were intending to rent, and even though the engine size was the same, the overall size of the scooter was more fitted for use as a circus ride rather than a SAFE escort around the island. We immediately questioned the availability of the larger version and was told they were not in stock and that what we see is what we get! I'm 6'1" and my buddy is 6'5" and there was no way we could safely manage our way around the island on the smaller versions, which is probably why they were left in stock. We subsequently denied the rental agreements and politely asked to be returned to our pick up location, to which we received a CURT and DISRESPECTFUL reply of "you're on your own!" Remember this, if you get anything out of this review, that ALOHA MOTORSPORTS shouldn't be your first choice when it comes to renting transportation on the islands of MAUI or KAUAI. There attitude towards tourism and their customers has definitely set the bar for the LOWEST of industry standards. Avoid them at any cost! Regardless of this unfortunate error in judgement, we still recorded a wonderful day on the island. Day 9 at Sea: We left the bay of Lahaina on time and set sail for Ensenada Mexico for 125 hours of rocking and rolling. We experienced, at one point, 66kts of wind head-on through the bow of the ship. That lasted through the night and wasn't very pleasant. The following morning yielded an overcast sky and windy conditions which lasted for the remainder of the 4+ days at sea. Our entertainment was limited to eating and watching the ocean, because going below deck was typically unpleasant. Day 13 we arrived at the port Ensenada, Mexico. International Maritime Law, (if I heard this right) says that before a vessel can return to the US after leaving a US port, they must first stop at a foreign POC before returning to the US. Ensenada is merely a token POC, barely enough time to get off the ship and have a Margarita. A serious waste of time. Disembarkation, like embarkation, was a snap as well. Took about 1 hour to gather our gear and wait for our ride. IN REVIEW: We didn't do any returning shows, because our first viewing was somewhat of a let down, so we elected to avoid any future efforts. Lido "dining" was superb! The focus of a quality cruise like this one should have been is the dining experiences. The VISTA RESTAURANT fails miserably in that endeavor. There is ample room for a great degree of remedial training for the VISTA waiters. (at least the 2 we had experiences with, they failed miserably) Having to get gussied up and looking pretty for a 2+ hour wait for sub standard food really wasn't worth the aggravation. If Holland will change the wiper blades, wax the hood, and put on a new set of tires, this boat wouldn't look like it's ready for the scrap heap. It is truly worn and tired looking. This cruise was clearly geared for the elderly, again the 70+ generation, Rascals and 3 wheeled scooters everywhere! I don't recommend taking ANY kids on this trip, they will have absolutely NOTHING to do while at sea. The pools are heated, but I we just couldn't help but wonder how funky they really were??? POC were incredible, with exception of the scum personnel at Aloha Motorsports, we'd go back. We still managed a wonderful day dispute the deplorable treatment hours earlier. Would I take this Holland trip again?, absolutely NOT, would I cruise Holland again?, probably not. Can I recommend Holland Cruise Line all things considered? I don't think so. Scaled from 1-10 this cruise is about 4.5 Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
First and foremost I will start off as - no question - I had fun since went with my friends. That was my objective - spend time with close friends, sun, read, and eat lots of good food. I have been on the Mexican Rivera cruise on ... Read More
First and foremost I will start off as - no question - I had fun since went with my friends. That was my objective - spend time with close friends, sun, read, and eat lots of good food. I have been on the Mexican Rivera cruise on Carnival before. Due to hurricane we were diverted to Catalina (Come on! Catalina? Seriously? Who pays for a 7 day cruise to stop in Catalina?!) The weather may not be the cruise line's fault - but for the "Holland America brand" you would think they could have picked something else - like say - stay in Cabo for 2 days? We stopped in La Paz on the other day. La Paz is the cleanest city in Mexico I have ever seen. I will probably go back there for a week on my own someday. Cabo is excellent as always! My biggest complaint about cruising to Cabo - why does it always have to be the shortest port stay??? There were 6 of us all together in our group - all age ranges. I was VERY disapointed in this cruise and Holland America. This brand isn't even remotely luxury as was expected. The food is horrible. I've sailed Carnival 3 times and their food was so much better in selections and options. And I believe people's first complaint about Carnival is the food - so that's how bad it is on this ship. While we had a few bright spots (Maha in dining room was lovely, our room steward was excellent, and another waiter in the bar where we met every night made our nightly before dinner meet for drinks very nice) the rest of the service was lacking. Especially the lido deck. My first thought was no incentive for them to even clear plates and refill drinks. And how do you have a Taco special on the deck but out of tacos? Room service is very prompt and on top of it. But that's all I can say for that - zip selection - and zip taste. My best friend (her first cruise) and I splurged and got a balcony on the Rotterdam deck. While the balcony was beautiful - you cannot help leaving with that bad taste in your mouth of such good money wasted for nothing. We could have just flown to Cabo for the week much cheaper and guaranteed good food. On our way off we talked to two guys on our floor who we never met before who were complaining about what a waste of money this cruise is, now that makes us 6 plus two more. How many more? Oh and most of all - the shower is mostly warm, lukewarm and lots of intermitant cold water in between. Had to keep turning the shower off and let it run through the bath - I did not pay for 7 days of cold/lukewarm showers. Obviously the hot water doesn't reach that high up - or it's seriously out with everyone else showering for dinner. This ship looks and acts old. It seems like a cookie cutter ship. Nothing special about it. Important for non-smokers - not a lot of spots for smokers to go - and I certainly didn't appreciate having to have that smoke in my face all day long at the adult pool. No ventilation in the casino. You can't get away from it. On your balcony or on the deck. Sorry smokers - but all cruise ships need to adopt a smoke free environment. Clean air is first and foremost when sailing in the open waters! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
After reading the review just posted about the Holland Oosterdam, I must also express my disappoint with our recent cruise on September 4th. I also am in the hospitality/restaurant business and I believe that customer service is the most ... Read More
After reading the review just posted about the Holland Oosterdam, I must also express my disappoint with our recent cruise on September 4th. I also am in the hospitality/restaurant business and I believe that customer service is the most important element to anyone's vacation. We have been on over 20 cruises, with only a very few bad experiences. But this one was bad from the beginning. At the airport, the Holland bus was there to pick up our group of 12. My mother-in-law is in a scooter, so a bus with ADA lift was needed. The lift did not work and after an hour we were finally on our way. At port check in, my wife's parents were told that a military ID was not valid, after checking with our agent prior to leaving. That took more time and delays to get that approved. Once on board, all buffets were served by the crew, more delays. We were told that this was their policy for the first 48 hours. Come to find out from some crew members, the sickness that we had on board that was mentioned by the prior review, actually started the week before. And since they were not sure if it was gone, they served all buffets for 48 hours. Then they let people serve themselves by Tuesday, but on Tuesday night many people were sick and at the medical clinic. 7 of our 12 became sick. Now for food and service. Since I am in this business, I too watch this very closely. Both food and service were very poor. We had two large tables, some would get their salads, others that appetizers, then others would get salads a few minutes later, etc. There was no organization to meal service, very frustrating. Example of food quality. I order Surf and Turf, a filet mignon and lobster tail. Sounds good right. The lobster was not cooked completely, had an interesting smell, and my filet mignon, well it was about a 1/2 inch thick, tough and looked like a piece of flank steak. I told the waiter that is is not filet mignon and he said yes it was. I did neat not eat my meal. The head waiter then came over, I explained myself again, and he returned from the kitchen with the exact same poor quality dish. I said no thank you, and they literally tried to force the plate in front of me. There are many other stories of poor food, poor presentation, and poor service. Due to the sickness, they did not put anything on the tables. No butter, no bread, no salt/pepper, nothing. You had to ask then wait. One last comment on food. My wife wanted a vegetarian meal the first night, nothing on the menu. The waiter said that you have to order that 24 hours before you meal time. What????? I have never heard of this on a cruise ship, ever. How do you know 24 hours before your dinner what dish that you might be in the mood for???? In the spa, they had no drinking water before, during or after a treatment. They blamed this on the sickness and said they could not provide drinking water. After any spa treatment, the first thing you want is water. The answer was NO. Even if they could not provide a glass of water from a pitcher, the least they could do is provide a small bottle water after you paid $250 for a treatment. That is not too much to ask, is it?? We have sailed on Holland America in the past, many years ago. We were very happy then, not happy with our most recent trip. Where has the quailty gone? Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
As seasoned Holland America cruisers, we definitely expected better. Having gone to Alaska about 8 years prior, and taken the Oosterdam just 7 months ago (January 2011), we were sadly disappointed by the lack of maintenance in the ship, ... Read More
As seasoned Holland America cruisers, we definitely expected better. Having gone to Alaska about 8 years prior, and taken the Oosterdam just 7 months ago (January 2011), we were sadly disappointed by the lack of maintenance in the ship, and the lack of courtesy offered by the crew. We have been on 10 cruises before this one, 2 on Carnival, 1 on Norwegian, and the rest with Holland. We have grown to love Holland for the courtesy offered by the crew members, the general relaxed and slow-pace of most of the other cruisers, and the satisfaction we generally get from cruising on this line. Unfortunately, this was not a good example of the quality we have come to know and expect. Emabarkation was a breeze, as usual, there was hardly any waiting at all to get on the ship once you'd arrived at the pier. Day 1 was at sea, which was fine, we walked around the ship, visited the shops, ate, checked out the movie (which we'd already seen), etc, etc, etc. A typical day at sea. Day 2 was at Glacier Bay. I don't remember exactly what the bay looked like last time we came to Alaska, but I'm fairly certain it looked nothing like what we saw this time - dirt covered snow. I'm from Calgary, Canada, and well, it just wasn't exciting. It was almost like trying to build a snowman, and ending up with all that grass. (Example here: http://www.geekfill.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/e-vs-r-6.jpg) BUT we did see quite a few whales and some maybe seals/sealions. We were disappointed that the captain/cruise director didn't announce sightings of wildlife over the P.A. like the cruise director from our last trip to Alaska did.Day 3 was at Juneau. We didn't join any excursions as we'd already seen Mendenhall Glacier, and pretty much all the excursions went to Mendenhall Glacier. We did do some tourist shopping through the town, however, visiting the jewellery boutiques and the T-shirt factory. It was a fairly good day. Warm, fairly sunny. Day 4 was in Sitka. It was drizzly, but not too bad. We went around on our own again, as the excursions were either a repeat of our last trip or not suited to our interests. Sitka was a quaint little town, quite interesting, and we managed to walk by St. Micheal's Cathedral, as well as tour a Russian Museum, which we'd seen in the excursions. We also found a shop that sold Russian dolls (the kind that comes apart and has lots of 'babies,' which was fairly interesting. We also had to tender to port, but that wasn't a big deal, the system was fairly efficient and worked fairly well.Day 5 was in Ketchikan, which the crew members had nick-named Catch-it-if-you-can. We had to be back on ship by 12:30 in the afternoon. I would have liked to have a tad more time here, as we felt somewhat rushed, but we visited most of the places we wanted to. Day 6 was in Victoria. We were allowed off ship around 6 and had to be back on board around midnight. We decided to follow the Walk Victoria signs around to the Fisherman's Wharf, etc, as we'd already been here many times and had visited the Buchart Gardens, etc. on our own. The walk was good, and we noticed that many other people had decided to explore Victoria on their own as well. Day 7 was disembarkation. This went as it usually does. Nothing special. Except we found it odd that the Cruise Director didn't call out the colors for disembarkation. Usually, the times are listed and the colors are called, but this time it seems it was expected that you would get off at the appropriate time yourself, and there was only an announcement for the first people disembarking, and the last call. Not a big deal, but worth noting. All of the ports were ok. And if this review ended here, our cruise would have been pretty good. However...The snowballing of all the incidences which occurred left us wondering if Holland America as a line has truly deteriorated, or if it's only this ship and most of the crew members on it.1) We returned to our cabin one day to find someone working in the bathroom with both the bathroom door and the cabin door closed. If not for him flushing the toilet, we probably wouldn't have realized he was inside until we had to use the bathroom. We felt that this was unacceptable. 2) The cappuccino machine was broken - all through the trip. Not a huge issue, but when questioning our dining room stewards (Usman and Beng Beng - who were both fantastic) we found out that it was because Holland had decided to install new machines, but fail to provide the ship with adapters for the power source. This seemed a little ridiculous. 3) A toothbrush was misplaced. When we asked our cabin stewards to see if they could find it maybe accidentally grabbed with the towels or something, we were scoffed and told "We don't steal toothbrushes." We were not accusing them, and felt that being snickered at was both inappropriate and rude. Inquiries made to front desk were redirected with a "I'll ask them to look for it." Which was fine, BUT a second question "What if they don't find it?" was answered with "We have toothbrushes for sale in the shops." We found this answer to be unsatisfactory. 4) A 15" stuffed animal (with a gel pack inside) was taken. One of the members of our party is a young adult who is diagnosed with Autism. In order to sleep comfortably, she needs both her Lavender spray and her stuffed animal. At home, we could warm up the gel pack on cool nights, or for whatever reason, and basically, she has it every night (but leaves it in the cabin during the day). She distinctly recalls it being on the bed in the afternoon (day 3) after the beds were made, and gone when she looked for it at bedtime. Other members of our party remember seeing it the previous night, but not in the afternoon after the beds were made. Either way, when we realized it was lost, it was late, and so we tried to make due with more Lavender spray and reassuring words. We inquired with the cabin stewards the next morning. They replied that they would look for it. Then we thoroughly searched the entire cabin, but did not find it. We asked them the next day and the next if they had found it. All replies were negative. Finally, on Day 5 we went to the front desk and notified them of the missing item. They said that they would look for it, contacted the supervisor of our cabin stewards, and said they would let us know whether or not they found it. We received no calls, no messages, nothing. The next day, Day 6, we went to front desk again. No news. They suggested we complete a 'lost item' form. Needless to say, we didn't find it. All involved seemed apathetic and seemed to simply brush aside our frustrations with trained smiles and apologies. 5)The ship, in general, seems to be in disrepair. The seal on our bathroom door was falling off, the glass paneling at the ice cream station was cracked.... Before going on this cruise, we'd read reviews from previous travelers, and it seemed that this ship had gone downhill since April. Having just cruised in January, we doubted it, but were sadly mistaken. This ship has deteriorated, and if this was the first time we'd sailed with Holland, it would probably be the last. And 6) a minor, but still noteworthy point. The songs and dances (shows) that were presented each night were exactly the same as when we'd been on the ship in January. This was disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
I have cruised with 4 other cruise lines and I have to say, HAL Osterdam was my only regret. Before selecting Holland America, I researched the internet and found they were rated tops in several categories. How?? I must give credit to the ... Read More
I have cruised with 4 other cruise lines and I have to say, HAL Osterdam was my only regret. Before selecting Holland America, I researched the internet and found they were rated tops in several categories. How?? I must give credit to the room stewards, Lido food servers, and Atrium wait staff-they were ALL friendly, courteous and attentive to their guests! Bravo!! We checked into 5002 and couldnt believe our eyes. What a mess! -The mini bar had dried tomato juice and was dirty inside -The carpet was dirty and stained(had to be cleaned on our Cabo shore day) -The wallpaper was dirty, stained, and ripped -Furniture was FILTHY!! Chairs dirty with water stains and ottoman had liquid dripping down -Toilet seat was broken I couldnt believe my eyes! I asked the head of housekeeping if I was being unreasonable or is this typical of Holland America-she assured me it wasnt. I could go on.... Mila with guest relations was nice enough to invite us to the Pinnacle Grill for our inconveniences. By this point we were actually tired of complaining and just wanted to enjoy our holiday. Mila's service recovery convinced us not to take further action. However Louie the wine steward in the Pinnacle Grill sent us over the edge!!!!! We graciouly accepted Mila's invitation with no intentions of taking advantage of the situation. My partner ordered salad and lamb chops, and I ordered soup and steak. We didnt order any appetizers nor cocktails and we split a dessert. We did however order a bottle of wine. I was familiar with some of the pricier wines($200 and up) but not the moderately priced ones and again, my intentions were not to take advantage. I told the wine steward that I was looking for a Full-Bodied Red with a "Strong oak flavor" and ask which of 3 wines he recommended. He suggested the $89 bottle. Louie then asked if I was familiar with Italian wines and suggested another. My experience with Italian wines is that they tend to be lighter but I figured he is the 'expert.' My initial taste was a bit disappointing but as I said, I was tired of complaining and was hoping the wine would later come alive. Also, we didnt see the need to offend our hosts since there was never any mention that we would be responsible for our beverages. After all, I would NEVER invite guests to my house for dinner and hand them a bill for their wine at the end of the night. I wasnt familiar with that particular Italian wine however, I am familiar with 'upselling.' The $108 bottle of wine that Louie recommended was not on the Pinnacle Grill wine list but I did find it the next night on the Atrium list. Its description began...Soft and Velvety with no mention of 'oak'. When checking out Saturday morning, we were surprised to see that Louie added the bottle onto our tab without our consent. We felt taken advantage of, swindled and gouged-exactly what WE set out not to do. What Mila had accomplished through service recovery was not only nullified by Louie but infuriated us!! No one likes being deceived! We spent almost 2 hours Saturday morning with Mila and Louie trying to resolve the issue. I asked Louie how could he recommend a wine described as 'Soft and Velvety" when I SPECIFICALLY as for a Full Bodied Strong red wine with Oak? It was clear Louie's only interest was in fattening his gratuity and not the wishes of the customer. I am a flight attendant with Delta Airlines and my spouse is an accountant with the Ritz Carlton(which Mila informed us is who Holland America models its customer service) and we come into contact with 'thousands' of travelers and are asked daily for recommendations regarding travel. I can assure you(as I did Mila and Louie) that the ill will created by that $30 bottle at cost was not worth it. My spouse assured Mila that this is not an example of how The Ritz Carlton would have handled this situation. The condition of our Suite alone would have dismissed the haggling(which caused us to miss our 11:15 flight). I have never written a complaint letter and although HAL offered us a wine package as an apology, I will NEVER cruise HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Cruised from San Diego to Mexico and back, last FebruaryOosterdam is an old ship. The AC is clogged with all the bacteria that had accumulated in last 10 years from the 50,000 passengers/year carried on that ship and the air is stale, and ... Read More
Cruised from San Diego to Mexico and back, last FebruaryOosterdam is an old ship. The AC is clogged with all the bacteria that had accumulated in last 10 years from the 50,000 passengers/year carried on that ship and the air is stale, and it stinks in the rooms. Early morning, it smells like paint, later, like sewer.We called and like talking to the toilet. And that is another one, the bath, when drained flowed onto the bathroom floor with clogged drainage, and they did nothing about it.The lighting in the room is not sufficient for reading, lucky we had a balcony.On the 5th "great dinner" I was served a Shrimp Cocktail that caused my body to rebel, and the food poison diarrhea that flowed at night onto every thing in this Cabin. Will you be in it in the future?And for the finish line, we all of us, 7 members of our family, got the flue. my wife- pneumonia. What a good cruise, with the Mexico nothing to offer, the ships food just like in any tourist area, for show and plating, not quality of cuisine.Well, not again with this ship or any one over 2 or 3 years old. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
This was on 2nd cruise, first on HAL. I'll review the cruise in sections below. Embarkation Got to the port about 11:00 on Saturday. Showed our boarding passes and IDs a few times, dropped our bags and sat down on benches ... Read More
This was on 2nd cruise, first on HAL. I'll review the cruise in sections below. Embarkation Got to the port about 11:00 on Saturday. Showed our boarding passes and IDs a few times, dropped our bags and sat down on benches to wait. Very quick process. About 11:30 they started calling the groups. We were Group 2. Went to the Lido to wait until rooms were ready. We were surprised that they announced rooms were ready at about 12:15. Public Rooms To me, the public rooms' decor seems dated and tacky. Cabin We had an aft deluxe verandah. Room was ok, but also old and dated. Bed was comfortable, until you roll over to the middle crack. Bathroom was small, but sufficient. Balcony was usually wet. Limited viewing options on the tv. Refrigerator in the room was nice for drinks. We would hear the chairs being moved a little, but not a big deal. Fitness and Recreation Tried to go to the gym a few times, but it was always busy at the times we went in the morning. Probably an off time you would be able to use the equipment. We bought the spa package for the week, which we used a lot. It was quiet and peaceful there. A few things that were annoying were how the pool would turn off in 15 minutes and you had to get out of the pool to turn it on. Also, walking from the pool to the heated chairs/steam room was awkward. And of course, there could be some chair hogs and there are only 6 chairs. But we were definitely glad to have a nice place to relax and unwind. Enrichment N/A Rates I work for an airline, so we got a good deal. $399 pp for the verandah. Dining Lido gets old after a bit. Breakfast best option for me was the omlette bar and the fresh fruit. People definitely fill their plates here with lots of mediocre food. I liked the salad bar for lunch. We ate in MDR only on the first night. Service was abysmal. Got room service a few nights. We would get a few options so that way you could try different things and find something that you liked. I didn't have a good piece of fish all week. We went to Pinnacle Grille for lunch, pretty good. Canalleto was a little disappointing. And my husband got sick from something he ate on Friday. Entertainment We didn't go to the shows, they do not interest us. Saw a bit of the crew show on TV, I'm sorry but that was painful to watch. We tried to go to the movie theatre a few times but it was always full. Get there early if you want to get a seat. Service In my experience, a lot of the staff seemed kind of indifferent and uninterested. I did not seem to get excellent, personalized service. I had to leave a note for the cabin steward to clean off some bird poop off the deck rail after it had been there for 3 days. Never did get wine glasses for the room, had to drink out of a regular glass. Shore Excursions We did not purchase shore excursions from HAL or had them reserved prior on our own. PV-Just wandered around a bit, went to an internet cafe nearby ($1/hour compared to 75 cents/minute on board was great) Mazatlan-Went to Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay for the day Cabo-Walked along the port, went on a whale watching tour. It was really cool to see the whales that close. Value for the Money We got a really good deal and went to relax, so a good value for us. Disembarkation Disembarkation was late because of a delay in Cabo and high winds coming back to San Diego. We had expedited disembarkation. Was not able to get off until about 10:30. Got the the taxi about 10:45, got the airport about 11:00, and managed to get on a 11:30 flight. They called many times for a certain non-American passenger. Overall I thought the Oosterdam was just OK. I don't think I will cruise on HAL again. I think we prefer the larger ships. The last few nights the seas were very rough. The outside decks were closed due to the high winds. I felt a little 'cabin fever' on the smaller ship. There was a variety of age groups on board. But the Oosterdam just seems old and tired to me. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We booked the Oosterdam for the 24 day Venice to Barcelona Cruise. Firstly, I thought the Oosterdam was in fine shapevery nice public areas,cabin in reasonably fine shape. We had a smaller cabin and it was well laid outplenty of light, ... Read More
We booked the Oosterdam for the 24 day Venice to Barcelona Cruise. Firstly, I thought the Oosterdam was in fine shapevery nice public areas,cabin in reasonably fine shape. We had a smaller cabin and it was well laid outplenty of light, good storage, bathrooom was fine, no toilet problems. Even though cruise was full (or almost full) there were never crowds or lines and really very pleasant to get about the ship. Never a long wait for the elevators. I really felt the the plan of having the library high up was very nice-you could read a book and lookout at the view etc. Re food pretty good. Occassional dishes not good at all, but most food really fine. Some dishes simply great. Had very good vegetarian optionsin factif you are looking for spicy food the vegetarian options tended to be tasty. No problems with Lido food or the lack of trays. Staff generally very nice, friendly, helpfulboth food servers and the cabin stewards ere great. Occas lido deck server a little grumpy though. Re ports the usual cruise issuesthey wanted you to take the shore excursions but that is typical. For the med cruisesmostly nice portsCatania was really nice. Napoli is greatly improved citygreat food. Only poor port and not sure why HAL goes there is Argostoliwaste of time (although if you are there they have a great english book storekind of out of place for this small city but great to get some more books to read). Fellow passengers other than the usual 600am towel on pool chair routinevery nice group of peoplemix of americans, british, spanish, russians, and prob others but again everybody very nice. Since HAL generally offers a "peaceful" cruise the cruisers it attracts are generally nice, "laidback" people. Overall, at its price point HAL is doing a great job. Now the big problem I got food poisoning from the ship. I developed what I believe was Staph Aureus Food poisoning in the middle of the cruise. I am a primary care doctor so I know the signs and symptoms of food poisoning and it appears that I got what looks like Staph Aureus food poisoning, which is commonly caused from improperly stored food, not an uncommon problem from buffets. I was violently (and I mean really really unpleasant with uncontrolled vomiting) ill for a good 8-12 hours and felt tired for about another 18 hrs or so. Based upon my "food history" (i.e what and where i had eaten before I got sick) that the cause of this was food on the Oosterdam. I did speak to a HAL physician and he stated that there was not an outbreak on the ship i.e I was an isolated case. But still, it certainly was an unpleasant outcome from a Holland America Cruise. I would think carefully what food you eat from the Oosterdam. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
12-day cruise was a bit long. The cruise ship is tired and we had a lot of problems in our Balcony stateroom that were not corrected during our cruise despite our many requests to the front desk. Front desk staff generally inexperienced, ... Read More
12-day cruise was a bit long. The cruise ship is tired and we had a lot of problems in our Balcony stateroom that were not corrected during our cruise despite our many requests to the front desk. Front desk staff generally inexperienced, frazzled and disinterested for the most part. Our toilet got clogged everyday with the most minimal amount of toilet paper and they would come by with a plunger. Their toilets on this ship need to be completely overhauled. Sofabed in the room would not close completely so we could not use the sofa. This cruise would not honor rewards earned via Holland America Barclay's Bank VISA, so don't bother getting that card. After showing award documentation to the front desk for days, they finally honored the Drink Cards as they made us buy the $65.00 drink cards in lieu of the $50.00 rewards cards (guess they weren't making enough money). The coffee machine in the Explorations Cafe was broken almost every day, so our coffee cards were useless. Finally got a partial refund. Shore excursions were great for the most part. We missed a couple of our 5:45PM fixed dinner seatings and they gave us a hard time to get another seating that evening. We were told to go to the LIDO cafeteria, which was always crowded with long lines and marginal quality food. The balcony was recently painted and there were paint splatters all over the furniture and glass doors. Obviously there is no attention to detail for this alleged 'premium cruise line'. The Pinnacle Grill was great and well worth the $20.00 per person charge. Our last cruise was a cheap 4-day cruise to Mexico on the Carnival Paradise, and it was a lot better overall. We signed up for the unlimited laundry, and they gave us a bag that was the size of a large ziplock baggie. Couldn't get hardlyl anything in there. Nickel and diming on everything! I went to the bar to get a drink and asked for Jim Beam, was rudely told I needed to pay an extra fifty cents. What a joke. The cruise director spent the last day's exit presentation making fun of questions that were posed by guests that he felt were rediculous and spent a lot of time talking about tipping and how the various service groups got their cuts. I thought this was classless. Balcony cabin 5155 was tiny and felt crowded. Lido cafeteria smelled dirty and was always crowded. They shut down at around 10PM, so don't bother trying to get a late nite snack. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Arrived at Venice airport on time (we had arranged our own flights and transfers)and walked out to a waiting taxi at the airport taxi rank.The taxi cost 40 euros to the ship which shared between four of us wasn't bad.Dropping off the ... Read More
Arrived at Venice airport on time (we had arranged our own flights and transfers)and walked out to a waiting taxi at the airport taxi rank.The taxi cost 40 euros to the ship which shared between four of us wasn't bad.Dropping off the luggage and checking in was a breeze as there were no queues at all, and we were on the ship within an hour of landing which was great.We found our cabins and were pleased with the size and layout,then decided to wander round the ship.My husband and I had sailed with HAL twice before so we were expecting things to be good especially as we had recommended it to our friends.We were all generally pleased with the ship and the friendly greetings from the staff,and after a quick bite to eat we returned to our cabins to find our luggage was waiting.Dinner in the restaurant was good although there is still a very limited choice for vegetarians and the waiting staff were friendly and amusing.We had decided to have late option dining as we usually are not back for the early seating and this proved to be a good choice as we had lovely people on our table and there seemed to be a lot of complaints about the waiting times on anytime dining.Just as everything seemed to be going well we then had the problem with NOISE in our cabin and this ultimately spoilt our holiday.Our cabins were located on deck 8 directly underneath the aft deck pool/bar area, and the noise was constant.Everytime somebody moved their chair or sunbed the dragging noise reverberated around the cabin.This was bad enough during the day ,especially when you were trying to rest after a hectic day on shore but it was a lot worse when it continued into the early hours of the morning(sometimes until 2.30-3.00am.The noise then started up again at about 5.30 as the staff were moving sunbeds and tables.We did complain quite a few times to the front desk and while the staff were friendly there was little they could do as the ship was totally sold out.We did receive a letter stating they were offering us $300 dollars per cabin for our inconvenience but we have requested a better offer as we had virtually no sleep all trip,and even didn't manage to go ashore at Livorno (Florence) as we were so exhausted.As we were only able to book a guaranteed verandah cabin(and not a specific deck or cabin)we felt unfairly treated and this has made us think twice about travelling with HAL again. We did generally enjoy the ship although there was very little entertainment on any day or night, and there were a lot of unsupervised children breaking all the rules in the pool area making it generally unpleasant on most days.The service in general was pretty good as was the food, we especially liked the lido for choice and we always found a seat even when it was busy.The ports were generally good and easy to do your own thing in(especially as HAL prices for tours and transport are the highest we have ever seen).It was a shame about the cabin noise as otherwise we would have had a very good time, but having very little sleep for 12 nights is not good and definately had a big impact on our enjoyment. This is our primary reason behind the overall low score as we need another holiday to recover from the sleep deprivation!! Disembarkation very easy and we decided to get taxi to the airport which took about 25 mins. Organisation of the taxi queue by the port Police was excellent and prevented any arguments. Taxi cost was €27 (€30 with tip) for all four of us. HAL wanted $39 EACH for coach transfer. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Where to begin. This is my first review and only write it because of how disappointing my experience was while cruising with Holland America (Oosterdam). I realize everyone has a different experience and reserve the right to say my ... Read More
Where to begin. This is my first review and only write it because of how disappointing my experience was while cruising with Holland America (Oosterdam). I realize everyone has a different experience and reserve the right to say my experience could have been a minority (or rare) experience. The embarkation process was probably the absolute best I have ever experienced. I was truly amazed at how efficiently I boarded the ship. The process (regrettably) elevated my expectations to a level that was unfortunately non-sustainable. No cruise has been without problem but the manner in which the problems were dealt with were vastly different. Day one: When I opened the cabin door, I was blown away by the intense odor of smoke. The steward did his best to deal with the smell (de-ionizer) but even this could not remove the smell. I was able to pin point the smoke odor (it was the curtains) and asked that they be removed. They were not! Instead, the staff just sprayed the room (daily) with some type of spray which did "mostly" remove the smoke odor. Despite the steward's best efforts, the smoke odor remained albeit, tolerable (did I have a choice?). I have to give props to my steward; he busted his butt for me (and was rewarded for his efforts). Day two: The toilet backed up 3 times. This was the first cruise this ever happened to me. Was it me? The crew did "fix" the problem but it was just another blemish on the cruise experience as it took them three attempts to get things right. This was NOT a major blemish rather cumulative. Day three: Here is where it got bad. The GI virus (Norwalk Virus) broke out on the ship. The ship's crew implemented a "code red" (their term) status. I immediately noticed breeches in their own policies and quickly pointed the breeches out to crew. Unfortunately either they did not know how to implement the ship's code red policies or did not care. I continued to complain. I actually called the ship's medical crew and was told by the crew member, "that is not my job". Whether it is or isn't can be debated. However, maintaining proper Hygiene controls is EVERYONE'S job!!! According to the Captain, the crew would serve the passengers from all "common" sources (food, drinks, towels, utensils). For the record, the virus is spread via contact. After day 5 and several more complaints that the crew were not implementing the Captain's orders, they FINALLY got it! However, how many more people got sick because the crew did not know what to do or did not care to follow orders? All I know is what *I* observed. As a final note, I observed (on day 6) a crew member in a shop lick his fingers while handling a cruise card. Was the passenger sick? Who knows. If they were, then that crew member would have (potentially) spread the disease (virus) to more passengers. I have not mentioned the food service (well the lack of service) because it is possible many of the crew were infected which would have weakened the wait staff to a point of being unable to properly serve dinner. However, if they were not sick, the service was absolutely unacceptable. Again, this was not my first cruise thus, I had a benchmark to compare HA Oosterdam by. Finally, the part which put me over the edge was the way in which I was "handled" by the front office when I called to point out the breeches of sanitation. On one of my calls, the first thing out of the staff was "what other safety concerns do you have now Mr. "Smith" not, how may I help you. It was not of a tone of concern rather the tone of OMG, another complaint. I don't know about you, but hygiene is one of the MOST important issues facing a cruise (the boats are otherwise extremely safe). Will I sail with Holland America again? I understand they are part of a conglomerate or outright own other lines (of which I have sailed with) but will never step foot on one that says Holland America!!! Peace and happy sailing, Acetylsleeper Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
Our family (my wife, me, 3 adult children, daughter-in-law) choose Holland America because while we had wonderful experiences on Princess, Royal Caribbean, and NCL, we were looking for a little more service and luxury on Holland American. ... Read More
Our family (my wife, me, 3 adult children, daughter-in-law) choose Holland America because while we had wonderful experiences on Princess, Royal Caribbean, and NCL, we were looking for a little more service and luxury on Holland American. In particular, we wanted something a little less hustle-and-bustle, and great food. We got half of what we were looking for, and a few pleasant and one very unpleasant surprise. First the good. The ship was beautiful - tastefully decorated and spotless. Room layouts were beautiful. Easy embarkation and disembarkation. We found the front-line service people (stewards, waiters, etc.) to be accommodating and very friendly. Food was wonderful, and actually exceeded our expectations. Excursions were life experiences (although I'd note that the Juneau dog sledding is very frequently cancelled due to weather). Sounds wonderful, and these aspects were. Not withstanding this, we'd NEVER go on a Holland American cruise again. To our surprise and amazement, the ship was over-crowded, and this manifested itself in many ways. Buffet lines were often long (I waited 30 minutes for my wife to join me at breakfast and actually thought we had missed connections - she was waiting in the waffle line). Wait for tender was very long (we expressed concern that although we were an hour early for excursion that tender line might cause us to miss excursion departure, and staff shrugged their shoulders). Often times all the treadmills, bicycles, and ellipticals were taken at gym. Most frustrating, if you wanted to eat at the main Lido buffet during a popular time, there were no tables to be had - you had to walk around looking for someone to leave and dash to the spot, or alternatively take your tray to your room. I was incredulous to see, on multiple occasions, a senior ship officer taking up a large table to himself (eating and talking on his cell phone) during this prime time. We had to reconcile ourselves to long waits, or eat, exercise, take tenders, etc at "non-prime times." Not a terrible problem, but ironically, it was to avoid this kind of thing that we choose Holland American in the first place. However, by far the most frustrating aspect of our cruise was the rooms we got for our adult children. While my wife and I got a suite, we had one exterior room for our daughters, and an adjoining room for our son and daughter-in-law. Turned out that the rooms were directly below the piano bar. In our opinion, they NEVER should have had rooms there. It was open late (until the last customer left, which could be well into the morning). Loud (my daughter, who is a music teacher, could identify the chords while wearing ear-plugs). Foot stomping. Margaritaville night. The ship people claimed they never had complaints before, which we just felt wasn't credible. They'd claim to try to contain the noise (never were willing to close the bar at a reasonable hour) but then came the foot-stomping! Ultimately after 4 noisy nights, they sent chocolates (nice gesture but room service was free anyway), put a fan in one room to drown out the noise, and gave my son and daughter-in-law use of an interior room from another couple who had to leave for medical reasons. And, they credited us $75 per person - while this was a nice gesture, of course it didn't address the problem, and had we been given the choice of a noisy room for a $75 discount, of course we wouldn't have taken it. We felt betrayed that a line like Holland American, or any cruise line for that matter, would do this to passengers devoting their time and considerable money for a top-notch memorable vacation. Okay, it was memorable. Yes, we had a good time and as I said, there was lots to like. However, ironically, we felt that the service was meaningfully short of the other lines we had been on that were much less expensive. By the way, our final departure gift was that two of our heavy-duty suitcases were damaged on debarkation. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
From the moment we stepped on this ship, everything seems a bit "off". I'm accustomed to being greeted with a glass of champagne, but on this line passengers are just shuffled through. Our veranda suite was spacious and ... Read More
From the moment we stepped on this ship, everything seems a bit "off". I'm accustomed to being greeted with a glass of champagne, but on this line passengers are just shuffled through. Our veranda suite was spacious and attractively furnished, except that the sofa pillows were stained and dirty. I hid them in a cupboard for the rest of the trip. The sofa was upholstered with slick vinyl, and was extremely uncomfortable. the veranda was large, had an attractive wicker-look table and chairs with cushions, which were a huge improvement over the veranda furnishing on Celebrity ships. The bathroom was also nicely done, with twin sinks, plenty of storage and both a stall shower and a whirlpool bathtub, but the fixtures were an unattractive shade of pinky-beige. The towels and bath mat were thin and dingy. Things didn't improve much in the public areas. The shops were small and crowded, the merchandise indifferent. The library wasn't convenient to use - each time I tried to get a book it seems that the librarian was "out". The Internet center was good, made even better by the package deals which offered a significant discount. Packages are sold by the number of minutes you use. The quality of the coffee and espresso in the coffee bar was absolutely horrible - worse than in your average fast-food venue or a convenience store. The bars were nice, except when an art auction blasted noise into what was meant to be a quiet, relaxing spot. And now ... to the food. There are three dining venues, all mediocre. The first is cafeteria style "casual dining" in a very ugly dining room. The carpet was a bright royal blue; the tables had tartan plaid laminate tops. IMO, not a particularly appetizing combination. The food was nothing special. Meat was often overcooked and dry, veggies were soggy. Although the desserts looked appealing, they were almost universally tasteless. The Vista Dining Room serves breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Passengers can choose either open seating or assigned tables. But, as another reviewer noted, other passengers didn't seem to be as open and friendly as on other cruise lines. I can only speculate that their subdued demeanor was due to the generally uneven quality of the food and service. One difficulty we experienced was a "language barrier" with the mostly Indonesian wait staff. Many have accents that were difficult to understand, especially against a background of clanking dishes and cutlery. On one evening the dining staff in the Vista puts on a "show" that is incredibly cornball and annoying, unless you consider silly hats and parades of napkin-wielding waiters entertaining. The third dining option is the Pinnacle Grill, touted as "speciality dining". Considering that this dining room comes at an additional cost, it is definitely not worth it. When we made our reservation, we were told they would "fit us in", but when we arrived the room was nearly empty. Once diners are seated, the waiter trundles over a large trolley displaying enormous cuts of raw beef, from which a diner is expected to choose. Maybe it's just me, but I would rather not see my dinner in the raw before I eat it. Despite the massive display of raw meat, the cooked beef was oddly tasteless. My husband had the fish, which was better but not spectacular. Desserts were better than in the Vista. I will never take another HAL cruise, but will stick with the more reliable Celebrity ships. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
m/s Oosterdam Embarkation 5/5/2007 We flew into Seattle a day ahead and visited the space needle and visit Pikes Market. The space needle was great for views and picture taking. If you elect to eat dinner at the restaurant at the top of ... Read More
m/s Oosterdam Embarkation 5/5/2007 We flew into Seattle a day ahead and visited the space needle and visit Pikes Market. The space needle was great for views and picture taking. If you elect to eat dinner at the restaurant at the top of the space needle, the cost will run about $75.00 per person not including drinks. This was our 4th cruise on Holland America, our friends who traveled with up insisted on this cruise line but I prefer Princess. Boarding- We stayed at the Comfort Inn on Roy Street offering an excellent free breakfast and an $8.00 shuttle to the ship the next morning. After arriving at the port we started walking in to start the boarding process, we had to stop to prove we had our immigration forms filled out then took a few steps and another person stopped us to make sure we filled out another form showing we are not sick and then stop showing our state ID's. Having to stop and grab and show stop grab show stop grab show and drop and re-gather our luggage every time was nerve racking. Once on board we have disinfected our hands a few time with that gel we proceeded to our cabin (6022) inside and so small it was scary. There was just enough room to walk to the bed, bathroom and closets but they put a table and chairs in the way so you could jostle around them for the entire cruise. The room was not much bigger then the queen size bed in side. The bathroom was small and the drain was clogged and drained very slowly so our showers had to be in short duration or the water would flood the floors. The toiletries have been upgraded and were very nice, and the bedding was fantastic, comfy, clean, nice sheets...I can't say enough nice things about the bedding. In typical Holland America fashion we immediately got a bill 1.00 per person for additional port charges that were not charged initially when we booked. The food: The food in the Lido was not very good, you really know the difference when cooks measure and follow recipes and when they fake it. All of the prepared salads were so salty I had to throw them away. The pasta bar was interesting, they grab the pasta, drop it in boiling water, drain some of the water and then place it on a plate with a few tablespoons of sauce on top....hospital cafeteria food would put the Lido's food to shame. The food at the Vista Lounge was very good, care was taken for quality, taste, and presentation featuring Fillet Mignon, Lobster, and Alaskan king crab. Sterling's Steak House was overpriced and every time I looked it sat empty. Ports of call: Ketchikan & Juneau had fantastic scenery, the towns were shanties. Sitka was the most breathtaking, bald eagles flying about and snow crusted mountains reaching up to and through the clouds. Beautiful islands dotting the calm inland sea and covered in pine. The town was also very pretty, the people were friendly and took great pride in their town. To really get the most out of this cruise I think people should bring a camera with a zoom lens, and binoculars. I did the Douglas Island Sea Kayaking, (about $120.00) and was told by the tour desk that we would be kayaking around glaciers however there was only one about 10 miles away however the scenery was fantastic & we had an excellent time while also having a surprise visit from a Sea Lion who popped it's head up very near by to see us. The other tours I signed up for were so overpriced they had too few people sign up and were cancelled as a result. The canopy tour was sold out immediately, if you want to do this Canopy tour zipping though the forest on cables then sign up before the cruise or it's too late when you get on board. The entertainment was ok, the Indonesian crew show was long and pretty bad. The hot tubs were drained and closed a day early to prepare for the next cruise, during the cruise they they were also often covered up so no one could use them, the pool crew seemed to think this was a great way to keep them clean. I learned the trick to using the hot tubs, look and see if their available, run like mad to your room and get into a swimsuit, run like mad back to the hot tub and if it's available and not covered up with nets then you got really lucky. While not a premium cruise line Holland America advertises my experience was exactly what I expected. Go on board with low expectations and "all in all" you can have a really nice & enjoyable cruise, I know I did. Read Less
Sail Date May 2007
My wife and I just returned from a 7-night New Year's cruise aboard Holland America's (HAL) Vista Class ship Oosterdam. We are in our late 30's and have 2 children ages 7 and 9 who also accompanied us. As a point of ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from a 7-night New Year's cruise aboard Holland America's (HAL) Vista Class ship Oosterdam. We are in our late 30's and have 2 children ages 7 and 9 who also accompanied us. As a point of reference all of us have cruised extensively - this was my 40th cruise. This was our 2nd voyage in just over one year on the Oosterdam. Our first cruise on this vessel was October, 2005 again on the 7-night Mexican Riviera itinerary out of San Diego. During our first sailing on Oosterdam about 80 percent of the ship was chartered for a group of very large alternative lifestyle biker men who call themselves Chumley Bears (look them up on the web). We were never advised in advance by Holland America of this very large group. Being the minority on a ship where the majority was a special interest group who pre-reserved much of the ship for private functions was frustrating to say the least. Not only were we disappointed in HAL for not advising us of this special interest group and giving us the option to cancel or reschedule, but the cruise itself was mediocre at best and not consistent with our other HAL experiences. So here we are again giving the Oosterdam another chance for the New Year - what a mistake; never again! Embarkation in San Diego was very smooth and efficient. The HAL representatives were very courteous and well organized. My advice to anybody sailing HAL out of San Diego is to have ALL of your documentation filled out and available in advance as a document check is necessary before being directed to the check-in counter. I would highly recommend registering online and printing the forms to bring with you. In addition to these registration forms you will need your passports, tickets, and on board charge form. Upon arrival at the pier a HAL employee will have you fill out a form to indicate if you have recently or are currently suffering from a gastrointestinal illness. Ship DEcor/Layout is similar to the other 3 Vista Class vessels. In fact, this same hull design has been used for multiple Carnival and Costa ships. HAL was very concerned about introducing the Vista Class ships to their fleet as they felt ships of 80,000 tons carrying 1,800 passengers would be overwhelming and not received well by their loyal passenger base that are set in their ways and creatures of habit. Subsequently, HAL instructed the ships interior designers to make the Vista Class ships sport the feel of smaller more intimate ships. Unfortunately, the result is a drab, depressing, and poorly laid out ship. The flow in public areas is awful and bottlenecks often. The dEcor can be perceived as offensively obnoxious. For example, the Lido Cafe is adorned with bright red and canary yellow Formica which resembles the colors of McDonalds as opposed to a fine ship. Public rooms are not well ventilated. One smoker quickly fills a room with a cloud a smoke. On a positive note, the promenade deck on Vista Class vessels are amongst the nicest at sea being lined in real teak wood and sporting old fashioned steamer chairs with very comfortable cushions. The Promenade is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable places to sit and watch the sea. Cabins on Holland America are some of the best and biggest at sea. However, the colors schemes and furniture selections leaves a lot to be desired. We splurged for an SA Suite which comes with access to the Neptune Lounge and other amenities including priority embarkation, complimentary laundry and dry-cleaning (multiple items lost), upgraded bathroom amenities by Elemis, a stocked bar (no host), a bathroom with dual sinks, whirlpool bath with shower, separate stall shower, dressing area, large balcony, waffle type spa bathrobes, priority tender service, champagne on embarkation, breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill, full menu room service and a special welcome aboard reception as well as a farewell lunch the last day at sea. Other amenities available in all cabin categories include incredible beds with high thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, flat screen televisions, magnified bathroom make-up mirrors, and fruit baskets replenished daily. Our suite was immaculately maintained and appeared as if we were the first guests to ever occupy it. Hats off to our room stewards. Unfortunately, the smell of sewage frequently was present in our suite and despite multiple complaints the engineers were unable to figure out the source. Food on board was a terrible disappointment. Menu choices were strange and lacked taste, quality and any type of creative presentation which would appeal to the senses. Most disappointing was one breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill where we were served molded cream cheese and stale bagels after literally begging to be served despite being only 1 of 2 tables occupying this room. This was after being verbally assaulted by one of the waiters and demoralized in front of my son. There were only about 6 guests in the Pinnacle on this day and we watched the 4 waiters huddled in a corner laughing while ignoring the guests in a passive aggressive manner. It was a struggle to get our order taken. The manager of this venue seemed indifferent to our bringing these issues to her attention. The main dining room is a disastrous design example of how the interior designers ruined this ship. Certainly, entering this strangely designed room is enough to take anyones appetite away. This room is dark and dilapidated with shades of red, gold, and dark wood tones which simply are depressing and poorly coordinated. The center of the two story room is decorated with some really strange Star Wars like fixtures with tiny blue lights sparkling as if they were meant to be stars. We were waiting for Scotty to beam us up! Unfortunately, I cannot report that we had one meal in either the Pinnacle or Vista (main) Dining Room which could be considered anything better than mediocre. The same can be said of the Lido Buffet for breakfast and lunch. Perhaps the best food on board could be had from room service a turkey club sandwich that is if they could get your order right! Lastly, HAL only spends about $10 per person per day on food. By comparison Seabourn spends just over $20 and provides one of the best culinary experiences on land or sea. If HAL increased the per person per day food budget by only $5 and passed this cost along to the passengers that translates to only $35 for a week long cruise! Perhaps the perception is that cheaper is better and thats what people want. Not on HAL. I'm confident that HAL passengers would gladly pay a slight premium to ensure a higher end culinary experience. Room Service was always a disaster. Orders were never correct and delivery always took more than an hour. In fact, we received a memo on the second day of our cruise to be patient with room service on our port days as they are frequently overwhelmed and delivery times would be delayed. This is shameful! If the ship can't handle room service they should not offer it. I blame the language barrier which was responsible for many of the botched orders. It does not seem unreasonable that a ship which caters to American English speaking passengers employ staff which is proficient in the English language. As an example we like to feed our kids through room service and then take them to Club HAL while my wife and I eat in the dining room. This is a win-win as our kids don't want to sit through a 2 hour meal and it allows my wife and I to have some quality time together. On several occasions after waiting in excess of 1 hour for my children's meals they arrived only to be the wrong orders. This would not be such a big deal if room service would simply apologize for such errors and correct them immediately. Both times we were told by room service that they should have the correct meals delivered in about an hour! When an order is screwed up that you already waited an hour for the correction should be almost immediate. There was no evidence at any time of anybody being accountable. Service and attitude of the ship staff is the worst I have experienced on any vessel! However, with all due respect, I must give kudos to housekeeping, Club HAL, and the Neptune Concierges all were wonderful! The staffs in all other departments were clearly unhappy and many times rude and miserable. It was obvious that most of the ship's employees did not enjoy their jobs or want to be there. In addition to poor, indifferent, and rude attitudes the language barrier was always a struggle. One morning while getting my breakfast from the Lido buffet a steward literally pushed me out of the way as the cook was preparing my plate of eggs and they started to drop the curtains on my head which cover the buffet as it was closing time. One of my more frustrating moments was when my daughter became violently ill with vomiting at 5am one morning which we believe was due to food poisoning. At this point I called the guest relations desk to send a steward with towels as we exhausted all we had cleaning up the mess. Additionally, we needed our carpets cleaned. I was left on hold for over 20 minutes until I got a hold of guest relations! She was rude and said it took so long to answer the phone because she was doing paperwork! Noro Virus seems to be alive well and flourish on board cruise ships. It is no wonder to me that Oosterdam has had its share of Noro Virus problems. The ship is absolutely filthy with staff frequently demonstrating dirty habits and no regard for cleanliness. On many occasions the public restrooms were out of soap and paper towels and dirty food trays were frequently left for hours at a time. By the pool sticky umbrella drinks and sodas were often spilled on the floor and when my wife brought these tripping hazards to the attention of deck staff nothing was done and she was told not to worry that they wash down the decks every night! One afternoon during lunch at the Lido Buffet I witnessed a server blowing his nose into a rag and then proceeding to serve guests. Unbelievable!!! That's not to say that this type of thing does not happen at land based restaurants, but one would think there would be a heightened awareness of disease on a ship given the publicity given to Noro Virus over the last few years. Diapers in the pools are clearly not allowed per the signage poolside. However, many parents insist on ignoring these signs and bringing their diapered children in the pools and Jacuzzis. It is a health hazard to have adults or children defecating and /or urinating in the ships swimming holes with or without diapers. I wish that that a policy requiring fecal and urinary continence was a requirement for swimming on board and was enforced for the protection of all passengers. HAL was in no way proactive in helping to prevent this health hazard. Certainly, I do place blame on the irresponsible parents who ignored the sign as well, but HAL should have enforced its own policy. Other passengers tended to be mostly older with the average age being well above 75. Wheelchairs, oxygen tanks, and walkers were as commonplace as would be expected while visiting Aunt Millie at the nursing home. I felt as if I spent my week at an assisted living facility. 4 passengers were removed from the ship for medical reasons before we even sailed from San Diego which delayed our departure. In fact, one lady died tumbling down the stairs shortly after embarkation. Holland America claims they have tried to attract a younger and more active clientele in recent years, but to date has failed. If HAL can't attract a younger crowd or families on a holiday sailing there is no hope. Fellow passengers tended to be fussy, easily agitated, and downright rude. The broken Azipod meant that we could only spend 6 hours in Cabo San Lucas and our stays in Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta were also shortened. Incidentally, my wife and I chose this cruise out of San Diego versus a similar one out of Los Angeles due to the extra port time in Cabo when sailing from San Diego. Being that we live in Los Angeles it would have been much easier to sail from San Pedro. It was rather strange to look off the back of the ship and see a wake from only the starboard Azipod. There was no other consequence of the broken Azipod. Most disturbing is that unless one was savvy enough to read Cruise Critic posts or know a passenger on a recent Oosterdam sailing the broken Azipod would come as a surprise upon embarkation. HAL has known about this for months, but up until this point decided it would be best to fail to notify passengers in advance of this problem. I called the toll free HAL number just for kicks before the cruise for an update and was told the problem was fixed and not to worry! Many passengers were complaining as they made plans on their own for the whole day in Cabo San Lucas (golf, etc.) which had to be cancelled. Some passengers even complained of non-refundable deposits they made for tours which they would not be able to make. Shame on HAL for being purposefully negligent and failing to advise passengers in advance of this issue. Forewarned is forearmed and I'm sure many passengers would have appreciated advance notification. In fact, I'm willing to bet that very few if any passengers would have cancelled due to this issue, but it would have been courteous to be in the know. HAL's intentional cover up of this issue speaks volumes about the lack of integrity of this company, their disregard for honesty and lack of respect for its loyal passengers the very people whose success of the company can be attributed. Hats off to Hotel Manager James Deering who finally convinced corporate that covering up this problem is not the proper way to handle the situation. As of last week, HAL is now notifying passengers and travel agents in advance of the Azipod issue and the expected impact on their sailing. The Late Arrival in San Diego was attributed to the inclement weather. We arrived after 10AM on Saturday, January 6th. The captain actually had the nerve to advise passengers that the strong winds and high seas delayed us. This was yet another lie to hide the truth. The truth is that we did have 35 knot winds, but only steaming forward on one Azipod made it impossible to overcome these conditions. The Diamond Princess left Cabo San Lucas the same time the Oosterdam did, but was bound for Los Angeles where she tied up dockside at 0630am on Saturday, January 6th. Keep in mind that Los Angeles is 100+ miles north of San Diego! Passengers on the Oosterdam were angry as they felt they were deceived and wanted only the truth. Many passengers had independent air arrangements which HAL said they were not accountable for changing. There was a lot of bad will and angry passengers on this ship. Club HAL (the children's program) remains one of the best programs at sea according to my children. We usually feed my kids early at the Lido and then drop them for a few hours at Club HAL as they have no desire to sit through a 2 hour meal in the dining room. Quite frankly, it is the only time of day that my wife and I have time alone to ourselves and we value this time. Unfortunately, Club HAL does not open until 8pm making it difficult if not impossible to have any time for a before dinner drink or trip to the casino, shops, etc. Nonetheless, the counselors do a wonderful job and keep the children engaged. Hats off to this terrific program which my children rate a perfect 10! The Neptune Lounge serves its purpose and provides suite passengers with a retreat whereby one can avoid the lines of the front desk as most shipboard passenger business can be taken care of here. The concierges were wonderful and very accommodating (Jun and Louise). However, the concierges are merely glorified front office staff who rotate and have little authority or power to make anything happen. The food and beverage presentations which are changed multiple times a day in the Neptune Lounge are a nice touch, but are merely fluff and pretty to look at. The best part of this lounge was the cappuccino/coffee machine which always provides a delicious cup of java. Disembarkation was the most disorganized disaster we have ever experienced. I will leave it at that. In summary, Holland America claims that they strive to provide passengers with A Tradition of Excellence. Unfortunately, the poor attitude of this ship's staff, pathetic and often non-existent service, deceptive practices, and horrible quality and presentation of the food made this Oosterdam cruise far less than excellent. My kids now refer to this ship as the Sewerdam. I would not recommend this ship. Twice now, Oosterdam does not fairly reflect our experiences on the other ships in the HAL fleet. I'm not sure what has gone wrong with Oosterdam, but she is definitely broken and I'm not just referring to the Azipod. Additionally, the upper management of HAL is clearly sleeping on the job. If HAL does not begin ingratiating their product to a younger generation they will find that their passenger base will quickly become extinct as these are passengers who became loyal many years ago when HAL was a different product. HAL is doing nothing progressive to win over my generation of cruise passengers. Royal Viking Line had a similar management philosophy and management drove that line into bankruptcy Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
Oosterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.5 3.6
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.2

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