6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
We were visiting family in Italy and decided that it was a good value and more fun to take a repositioning cruise back to the states. We looked at the repositioning cruises in Oct/Nov time frame and this one met our schedules. We ... Read More
We were visiting family in Italy and decided that it was a good value and more fun to take a repositioning cruise back to the states. We looked at the repositioning cruises in Oct/Nov time frame and this one met our schedules. We have taken many cruises -- Regent, Princess, Celebrity and HAL. Probably more on HAL because we like the smaller ships. Even though we thought we were experienced cruises there were others on the ship with much more experience and we learned a few important tips. Tip number one -- watch for the rotating happy hours on the ship. The 2 for 1 pricing on pre-dinner cocktails helps stretch the budget. Tip number two -- if a couple is cruising have one order a cocktail that both enjoy because you actually get two identical drinks for the price of one. Have the other person order wine -- you get two glasses. Save the wine and carry them to the MDR for dinner. What an idea. We didn't catch on to this savvy savings until day 3 of the 15 day cruise. Tip number three -- take lysol wipes with you when you travel and clean, clean, clean your room. There was a large contingent of Swedes onboard -- many take this cruise every year. "Skal" to our Swedish friends. They are fun to travel with. We also enjoyed traveling with more Europeans and Brits. It made for interesting conversations. This was a norovirus cruise and we give HAL credit for early detection and swift action. HAL flew a rep from the CDC and from corporate to the last port before the crossing to oversee the ship decontamination. We were IMPRESSED. The cleaning was 24/7. Noticible changes in the lido -- all the food was sealed from the passengers. I wish it were always this way. I read complaints regarding slow service on the buffets when you could not serve yourself, but really, wouldn't you rather wait a half-second longer than eat food that people have pawed over? Think about how many people have used that set of tongs that you now touch, or have sat in the food that you now eat? I didn't think about it much until this cruise. Other things the crew of the Osterdam did was remove salt and pepper shakers and any thing that might be handled by other passengers from the table in the MDR. All the spices were brought to the table in packets by the wait staff. All the crew cleaned the boat, deck chairs were sprayed with disinfectants every day, tables AND chairs on the pool deck were cleaned and disinfected as soon as the diners departed. All the work paid off because by the middle of the crossing there were no more new inections. All the other lines should study what HAL did on this cruise. The food was very good. We enjoyed the lunch selections in the lido, especially the asian and curry dishes. Salads were also great. The food in the MDR was very good. The selections on the menu always had choices that were very good. I like a cup of hot tea wih my dessert and after the first night I did not have to ask -- it was there. Bless you. We ate at the Pinnacle Grill one night and enjoyed the steaks and wonderful service. The enrichment activities were good. We liked the daily briefings from the ship's bridge crew which took place each sea day in a lounge. Also, new to HAL and much appreciated by the passengers was a Port Expert who was not there to sell excursions, or tell us where to shop for diamonds, but gave us a non-comercial overview of each port of call. I hope HAL makes this a permanent feature on all ships. HAL has stepped up their entertainment. We were inpressed with the diversity and quality of the performances. The stage shows had excellent performers. OK, I'll get to something that impressed me the most -- the TV. I know, you would think that I should have better things to do, but this was a crossing with multiple sea days. The up-graded on-demand programs and movies that HAL offers are wonderful. I became addicted to watching Downton Abby - as I never saw it before. There are movies and shows for all ages with plenty of childrens shows for family viewing. The service in the lounges was very slow. HAL could make more money if they would step it up here. We had to wait for the lounge staff to come around and then wait longer for the drinks to arrive. God forbid you ask for some peanuts -- you're in for another 30 min. wait. I believe that they were short-handed and should add more staff in these areas. We did not take any shore excursions, chosing to explore on our own and we had a great time doing just that. It made for some relaxing exploration and we loved discovering what was around the next corner. All in all it was a great cruise and we will definitely travel with HAL again as we are signed up for the November South America trip. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Food was excellent. Service as usual on HAL wonderful. Entertainment great. Absolutely no negative comments! Enjoyed the guest lectures. Loved the BB king music and dancing Billboard piano's and music selections excellent ... Read More
Food was excellent. Service as usual on HAL wonderful. Entertainment great. Absolutely no negative comments! Enjoyed the guest lectures. Loved the BB king music and dancing Billboard piano's and music selections excellent The best hamburgers I've eaten in along time served on deck "dive-in" The greenhouse spa and thermal suite is a must on any transatlantic even though we had warm weather and smooth sailing all the way. I did not eat at the specialty restaurants because the food in the dining room and the lido was wonderful Cannot say enough about the friendliness of the staff and their dedication to making the guest feel like number 1. The shows in the evening were great with lots of variety. Loved the dancers and singers and the production. Cruise critic is definitely a great site to use . I met people to share excursions with and share a ride from the airport to the cruisers hotel Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
I just returned from a 15 Transatlantic cruise on The Oosterdam.. There was nothing about the ship that I didn't like. The food, staff, entertainment and overall appearance of the ship was outstanding. It was my first time on a ... Read More
I just returned from a 15 Transatlantic cruise on The Oosterdam.. There was nothing about the ship that I didn't like. The food, staff, entertainment and overall appearance of the ship was outstanding. It was my first time on a HAL ship. I suspect it won't be the last. The staff were very genuine whenever they greeted me. Microsoft had a person to teach all of the Microsoft programs. She was excellent and the classes were always over full. The food in the Lido dining area was exceptional. We ate there frequently even in the evenings. The food was fresh. Many times the cooks were cooking things like pork chops while they were serving so the chops didn't sit on the steam table very long. Ice cream was available almost all day long. It was good stuff. Two nights a sirloin roast was served. Both times it was excellent. Great cruise. I was very impressed. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
It was for my wife's 75th birthday. We started looking at cruises and worked backwards. We ended up with 15 days in Prague, Vienna, Venice, Florence and Rome before our cruise. On the cruise we visited Las Palmas in Mallorca, ... Read More
It was for my wife's 75th birthday. We started looking at cruises and worked backwards. We ended up with 15 days in Prague, Vienna, Venice, Florence and Rome before our cruise. On the cruise we visited Las Palmas in Mallorca, Cartagena and Malaga in Spain and Madeira. We are big fans of Holland America which is why this cruise was the right fit. It did not disappoint us. We did not tour Cartagena because we had been there before but it is an historic port. The other stops were new to us so we took ship sponsored city/history/culture tours. I got to sip a little "Madeira my dear". I had read about that drink while reading many British naval novels. Onboard there were a variety of activities all day and night both in port and at sea. Our favorites included the string quartet every night before dinner, B.B. King's nightclub, the dueling piano bar after dinner, the showroom shows and the Park West Art auctions. Our inside cabin was spacious and comfortable. Dining on Holland America ships is always a highlight. We opted for the choose your time option on a daily basis. We chose to sit with four or six new dinner companions every night at 6:30 (1830). On a scale of one to ten, this was an eleven (that is not a typo error). We ate once or twice at Canaletto their extra fee Italian restaurant and once in the Pinnacle Grill. Breakfast at the Lido buffet. Lunch at the Lido or at the pool grill. We plan on more HAL cruises in the future. I have been on four dating back to the 1950s and 1960s. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
On the Oosterdam...everyone was friendly and happy. Many employees (of all levels of employment) ate in the buffet area and got along with each other and the passengers. The stateroom (aft, end stateroom) was large and quiet. The room ... Read More
On the Oosterdam...everyone was friendly and happy. Many employees (of all levels of employment) ate in the buffet area and got along with each other and the passengers. The stateroom (aft, end stateroom) was large and quiet. The room stewards were a hoot, it seemed everyone loved working there! The breakfast buffet was spread out and varied menus offered as was the case for lunches and dinners. The entertainment was good and the bars offered a Happy Hour where you buy one and get one for a dollar...we hit all three most days. The stops were not all that interesting and the shore excursions were expensive and not very interesting either,(tour office people were rather short with passengers and were seldom available) but I was prepared and we made our own excursions and had a good time! ( I have an entire portfolio of port information if anyone needs anything.) They celebrated our anniversary and my birthday was a big deal! I even got a bottle of champagne for it! Halloween was festive and fun! We made a lot of friends on board and settled into a favorite bar for the evening Happy Hours. We had a SMALL problem with the toilet and were sent a bottle of wine as an apology, I made a positive comment about the staff to the front desk and was rewarded with a bottle of wine....everything was just wonderful! I would HIGHLY recommend this ship! This ship had some T Shirt sales and inexpensive things for sale. The menu's at dinner were always new and exciting. There were many rotations on this cruise...people getting off and on at different locations, but the dinning room did not repeat any menu's. Service was classy and friendly. Some nights I did not care for much on the menu so I was told to order what I felt like eating and it was served quickly! (As a background, we had just left the Queen Victoria and that ship was such a disappointment. This ship was a breath of fresh air!) Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2016
The ship is very smart, plenty of room and facilities for allService first class - all crew always spoke with a pleasant greeting no matter what they were doing. Cabin (1123) excellent. We have been on cruises before,and always had an ... Read More
The ship is very smart, plenty of room and facilities for allService first class - all crew always spoke with a pleasant greeting no matter what they were doing. Cabin (1123) excellent. We have been on cruises before,and always had an outside cabin .We decided that we had rarely if ever used the balcony,and on one trip the view was mostly of the side of a lifeboat. We did not even notice that we did not have an outside view. Our steward cannot be praised enough,His towel sculptures were superb,I Photographed some, one in particular amused my grandson so much that it has been shown all round his school. Food as good as it gets, The Beef in particular was mind boggling,(whatever the cut,whatever the recipe, the beef was always very tender and cooked as you like it. On the minus side,drinks are very overpriced. Entertainment, very wide choice of top quality shows. Service faultless excursions very much overpriced, Would we go again - Yes Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
This trip first attracted me because I was looking for a cruise that started in Venice and hopefully visited some ports in Greece such as Athens and the Greek Islands, This cruise filled the bill and was well priced. Overall, the ship ... Read More
This trip first attracted me because I was looking for a cruise that started in Venice and hopefully visited some ports in Greece such as Athens and the Greek Islands, This cruise filled the bill and was well priced. Overall, the ship was lovely. The Main dining room, the main stage, the elevators and halls, were all beautiful The cabin: My cabin was a Neptune Suite and I am very glad of it. It was very roomy, lots of closets, drawers, shelf space. I also liked the sit down vanity area with extra lighting outside of the shower/toilet area. Bedding was comfortable. Contrary to what I had read before the cruise there were many electrical outlets -- no worry there. The bath area had a tub with stand up shower and a separate shower stall. The shower stall was too tiny to be very functional but the tub shower was adequate with a nice shower head and plenty of hot water. The tub itself had some jets but they were too few and too poorly placed to be of any consequence. It was also very convenient to have access to the Neptune Lounge. Sometimes I just wanted a light continental breakfast without too much fuss and the lounge was the place. Access to the lounge concierge was also a plus. They helped me in a number of ways such as making reservations, explaining ship procedures and printing out my boarding pass for the return flight. Dining: The Neptune Suite also granted the privilege of breakfasting in the Pinnacle Grill. Sometimes its nice to sit down and have table service for breakfast. My one experience in the Pinnacle Grill for dinner, the much touted Le Cirque dinner, was not so positive. The service was slack and the food not terribly good. Something was lost between the famous Le Cirque New York restaurant and the on board dinner. Also the wine pairing with the dinner was poor -- the wines did not go with the dishes. On the other hand, I did not have a bad meal in the main dining room, the Vista Room. There were enough choices to suit all different dietary tastes and the food was generally good. Service in this room was also excellent. Food choices on the Gala evenings were exceptional. The only quibble I have is that the wine stewards were not all that knowledgeable. Upstairs, in the Lido, the casual buffet style dining room, the fresh food was not too bad and some of it quite good. On the other hand, the deli sandwiches were always excellent. Service: Service in my cabin was excellent. The attendants were attuned to my needs and always greeted me with warm smiles. For the most part, the service staff throughout the ship were helpful and quick to give you a smile, bar tenders excepted. Entertainment/Activities: For the most part the entertainment was not to my taste except for the very excellent blues band and the classical quartet. You could catch several shows of one or the other or both almost every night. The venues were comfortable and had good sound. Most of the entertainment was more of the mass entertainment variety. There were also some very helpful Windows and digital camera seminars and if you are into poker, plenty of poker activities. The trip included all, if not more than all, the ports you would want in the Aegean Sea. I especially liked the tour of Olympia at Katakolon which explored a vast ancient site in too small a period of time. I only wished that there were more time so that we could see the nearby museum which held the statutes that once graced the Olympic ruins and would help fill out the story. Disembarkation was seamless -- very impressive. My only snickery points are: The cruise line did too much advertising of add on items. I felt barraged with ads. The TV was lovely but had limited channels and no closed captions for the hearing impaired. I would definitely choose this cruise line again and would recommend this trip. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
My husband and I have cruised many times, but never with Holland America. We chose them as we liked the Riviera itinerary and it certainly did not disappoint, nor did the Oosterdam. The ship has just been re-done and is stunning. Very ... Read More
My husband and I have cruised many times, but never with Holland America. We chose them as we liked the Riviera itinerary and it certainly did not disappoint, nor did the Oosterdam. The ship has just been re-done and is stunning. Very tastefully decorated. We had a verandah room which I don't think had been re-done yet (?), however it was very nice also. It has a nice size verandah with two reclining chairs and a table. The bathroom definitely hadn't been re-done, but was acceptable. We enjoyed the choices for evening entertainment, however felt that the "Main Stage" could use some improvement. I would say 50% of the shows in the Main Stage were good and the others just "so so" compared to Celebrity for example. The dining was excellent! We never felt the need to dine in the specialty dining venues. Food was great, presentation also very nice. Quantities were on the smaller side, but easily rectified obviously since you can have as much as you want and my husband would just ask prior to ordering so that it came on one plate vs. two different meals. We thought it may have been an older crowd based on things we had read about HA. We are mid 50's and I would say most were in their 50's or early 60's. This particular ship is suitable for couples from their 40's on as there really aren't children's activities, although they do have a children's club I believe. I think we saw 4 children during out 12 days. Service was exceptional in all areas, as you would expect. This was our first HA cruise, but definitely not our last. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We are a family of 4, mum, dad and twoo teenage daughters. This was our 6th cruise with HAL, all in the Med. The Oosterdam was recently refurbished in dry dock. She looked very fresh. We used anytime dining but with an angoing reservation ... Read More
We are a family of 4, mum, dad and twoo teenage daughters. This was our 6th cruise with HAL, all in the Med. The Oosterdam was recently refurbished in dry dock. She looked very fresh. We used anytime dining but with an angoing reservation at 6:30 pm. This is a great way to have fixed dining (and sometimes even fixed seating) but not to be limited to the regular fixed dining times 6 pm or 8 pm. The entertainment was great. The cast was excellent and performed in 3 shows during the 12 night cruise. Great addition with the upgrade from the piano bar to Billboard onboard. We loved Diego and Meagan on the dueling pianos. We upgraded to a suite from a verandah stateroom to a neptune suite. The suites were brand new and gave nice perks like breakfast at the Pinnacle Grill and of course the great service of the Neptune Lounge stewards. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We had wanted to take a Mediterranean cruise for our 30th wedding anniversary. Since we own 4 weeks with Marriott, we were able to use our vacation club points to choose this cruise. We booked this in the summer of 2015 and were able to ... Read More
We had wanted to take a Mediterranean cruise for our 30th wedding anniversary. Since we own 4 weeks with Marriott, we were able to use our vacation club points to choose this cruise. We booked this in the summer of 2015 and were able to get a Neptune Suite for the cruise. Our plan was to arrive early in Rome, stay several days there first, and then board the cruise. We stayed at the Boscolo Exedra in Rome and booked a car service to take us to the port, which is a good distance from the center of Rome. We arrived at the port around 230p and were promptly met by stewards to assist with tagging our luggage. We had expedited check-in and basically walked right to our room. Our luggage was brought about 1.5 hours later. After the required muster drill, we went back to unpacking and setting up for the cruise. Our Suite: We were in suite 7089 on the Rotterdam deck. Our suite gave us access to the Neptune Lounge on the same level. This was a nice perk if you wanted to grab a quick cup of coffee or tea and a snack without having to go to one of the dining rooms. The suite itself was quite spacious with plenty of room to store luggage, clothes, and personal items. There was a large screen TV with access to limited live TV, plenty of movies, music, and more. Our bath had a separate shower as well as a shower with tub. There were 2 sinks and a small vanity area to put on makeup. Dryer, magnifying mirror, iron and board were all provided. Toiletries were from Elemis, the same as the on-board spa. The electrical ports were abundant and worked for US or foreign adapters. It was also nice that each side of the bed had 2 USB connections that could be used for charging as well. We also had free laundry and dry cleaning for the cruise as a bonus for being in a Neptune Suite; this was appreciated and helped limit the amount of laundry to do once we returned. The ship was refurbished in April 2016 and is in great shape. It is a nice size - about 2000 people and 800 crew - and does not feel too big. There are 2 pools - both on the Lido deck. The one for kids is in the front and where the Dive In cafe is. The adult pool is in the back of the Lido deck and there are plenty of lounge chairs and seating chairs for use. Spa & Fitness: The spa is medium size, but they offer quite a bit of services - from massages and waxing to hair and nails to fillers. The fitness center is adequate with most folks using the treadmills or free weights. They publish a list of classes that can be taken during the cruise and sign up is easy. Dining: There are several restaurants on the ship for dining. We mainly ate at the Lido Market for the majority of meals when not on an excursion. Canaletto and the Pinnacle Grill were two of the special restaurants that have an added charge; we ate at both and thought the food and service was good. There were several mornings where we had breakfast by room service; this was a nice treat as well. Tours: We booked all our excursions prior to the cruise. All of them were very good with knowledgeable tour guides and drivers. The tours that included meals were in very nice restaurants and added to the ambiance of the visit. We were given ample time for bathroom breaks, time to eat, time to visit, and time to shop. My only complaint was that I did not think the original info was clear about final port tours; they made it seem that only those staying on the ship could book the published tours and that was not the case. (And the reason we made separate arrangements for Barcelona.) Entertainment: There is a small casino on the ship and they try to make it fun for the passengers with tournaments. Many bars are on the ship and each offers its own ambiance. With the exception of the dueling piano singers by the casino, all the entertainers were very good. The movie theater is a good size and we watched one film there during a day at sea. You can purchase internet access packages while at sea; the information is provided in the suite when you arrive. Disembarking was fairly simple. We had made prior arrangements to leave early in the morning because of a mid-morning flight so we had an expedited exit from the ship. The final bill was left for us outside our door before we left; there are kiosks on the ship on the 1st desk where you can check you bill during the trip. This is smart so that any problems with billing can be taken care of in advance and not on the day before leaving. Overall, we loved this cruise and plan to take another one in the future with HAL. The staff were all so friendly and pleasant that we really felt at home on the ship. We look forward to cruising on the Oosterdam again. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
This was an anniversary cruise and rather last minute. The ship had a recent refurbishment and looked splendid. The embarkation was quick and we went straight to our stateroom, a veranda on deck 8. The itinerary was mainly in the ... Read More
This was an anniversary cruise and rather last minute. The ship had a recent refurbishment and looked splendid. The embarkation was quick and we went straight to our stateroom, a veranda on deck 8. The itinerary was mainly in the Greek isles and each stop was spectacular. There was a change to our itinerary from Turkey to Albania because of recent troubles. This was the only stop that did not impress us, but as it was a last minute change we cannot blame the cruise line. Ashore we made our own arrangements for tours as this was much more reasonable than the cruise line. Or stateroom was lovely and always kept "spick and span" by our two hard working stewards. We ate mainly in the Main Dining room in the open seating option. After the 1st two nights we had the same table for two and same waiters thereafter.The food was very good and as I am gluten free I was well taken care of. Breakfast in the MD was shared tables and we met some interesting people.On the few occasions we had lunch in the Lido Cafe the meals were good. Great Asian station. The entertainment in the theatre was not so good and we gave up going there after a few nights. The overall cruise was very good. We cruise 2 times a year and this was the 6th time with Holland and was by far the best with them. The Staff went the extra mile to be courteous and professional. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
This was our 8th HAL cruise and second time on the Oosterdam. Perfect size ship (82K tons, 2200 passengers) and has recently been renovated (built in 2003). Never felt like we were on a crowded cruise ship. We had sailed on the Oosterdam ... Read More
This was our 8th HAL cruise and second time on the Oosterdam. Perfect size ship (82K tons, 2200 passengers) and has recently been renovated (built in 2003). Never felt like we were on a crowded cruise ship. We had sailed on the Oosterdam in 2005 in Alaska, and the improvements to the common areas/cabins were excellent. HAL ships are meticulously maintained and the crew was fantastic. We had a Signature suite which was perfect for a 12 day cruise and well worth the extra cost. The food on this cruise was outstanding. High quality, excellent presentations, and portion sizes that were just right. The itinerary for this cruise Rome/Naples/Crete/Santorini/Rhodes(we lost Kusadasi, Turkey)/Athens/Olympia/Corfu/Dubrovnik/Montenegro/Venice was spectacular. The mediterranean is very calm this time of year, and although it was hot, even first time cruisers would be comfortable as the ship was very stabile and sailed mostly after 6PM, except for one sea day. HAL tours are always high quality and the variety was perfect. Can't say enough about this ship and cruise line. If you want to party like rock stars, HAL is not for you. If you want a high quality cruise, with very interesting fellow passengers, this is the one. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
The cruise was chosen as a good value option with interesting ports. It delivered in some areas, not so good in others. The brilliant - 1 service was faultless both in dining and staterooms 2 the stateroom was roomy, clean and ... Read More
The cruise was chosen as a good value option with interesting ports. It delivered in some areas, not so good in others. The brilliant - 1 service was faultless both in dining and staterooms 2 the stateroom was roomy, clean and light 3 embarkation & disembarkation left Celebrity for dead The average - 1 the entertainment ranged from very good to don't bother 2 the choice of ports was unimaginative. Spain and Greece were overdone, and opportunities to visit North Africa, Malta and Sicily missed 3 excursions were expensive The worse than average - 1 as mentioned in another review, staff weren't especially helpful to passengers doing their own thing in a port. Also, the written info provided was average. For example, in Katakolon, the map provided failed to show the railway station! There are only 3 streets in the town. 2 the tv entertainment in staterooms, as regards news, was poor. Like Celebrity, HAL must take the cheapest feed. Consequently BBC was forever giving us updates on South American weather, and the scope of news coverage was poor. 3 the coffee in the buffet was worse than airline coffee. Thank God for tea bags Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We selected this cruise based on two criteria: the itinerary and it was a HAL cruise. HAL is our absolutely favorite cruise line based on the service, value, dining and size of their ships. We really don't enjoy the large or very ... Read More
We selected this cruise based on two criteria: the itinerary and it was a HAL cruise. HAL is our absolutely favorite cruise line based on the service, value, dining and size of their ships. We really don't enjoy the large or very large cruise ships; taking a vacation w/ 3000 or more people in a very confined space is not my idea of a good time. The itinerary was wonderful; 9 ports in the Mediterranean Riviera with 6 ports being new stops for us. The cruise embarked in Civitavecchia and disembarked in Barcelona. We arrived 2 days early & spent our time in Rome. This was our 4th trip to Rome, so we did not go to the big tourist spots, but visited some museums. We always stay near the Pantheon; love the piazzas in that area & the restaurants. Embarkation and disembarkation was a breeze with this cruise. We left out stateroom and were off the ship in 10 minutes when we disembarked. This was due to an overnight stay in Barcelona(didn't have to dock in the AM) and majority of the passengers stayed on for the next leg of the cruise. First time on the Oosterdam and HAL has done a beautiful job of updating the interior of the ship. The public areas and our cabin (SC suite) have been refurbished and are very stylish. Added lots of charging areas to the suite, so everyone's electronics cd/ stay charged, thank goodness or my 14 year old daughter might have jumped overboard(LOL). Service, as always, was very good in all areas of the ship. It does seem that HAL has cut back on service personnel however; there were some bar areas you cdn't find anyone to take your orders. The food in the dining room was very good to excellent each dinner and we ate in the dinning room every night. There was only one entrée that I didn't enjoy; shrimp & grits-had a tomato sauce rather than a Cajun sauce. I will say if the portions get any smaller, you will need to order a minimum of 4 courses every night. I found the portions to be just right for myself & my daughter, but my husband was left hungry if he didn't get 2 entrees. We did go to a show or musical venue every evening. Our favorite was the Lincoln Center Stage wh/ featured classical music performed by a quintet-4 strings & piano. This group was excellent and very enjoyable. We took 5 shore excursions at 5 different ports. Our 1st adventure was @ Livorno where we went to Cinque Terre for the day. What a beautiful place, but boy was it crowded. 2nd adventure was @ Monte Carlo where we went to Nice & Eze ; 2 more beautiful places. In St Tropez, we just took the tenderi in, spent the day in town & enjoyed mussels for lunch. It was Saturday, so the fresh market was open. Next stop was Ajaccio; it was Sunday, so lots of shops were closed. We went to Napoleon's house & museum. In Almeria, we walked up to the fortress on top of the mountain overlooking the city. Well worth visit. Our next shore excursion was in Ceuta Spain; we took the trip in to Morocco Africa. This was my least favorite excursion. In Marseille, we took a walking tour(as recommended by Rick Steves' guide), visited the cathedral that overlooks the Bouillabaisse. Our next outing was at our Sete port where we visited Carcassonne. What a fantastic fortress/castle. This was my daughter's favorite tour; they had just finished studying the Medieval times at school. By the time we arrived in Barcelona we just decided to hit the beach, so we took an excursion to Sitges, a lovely sandy beach 30 minutes outside of Barcelona. Our entire family enjoyed this cruise; it is one of our top 3 favorite cruises we have taken(and we have enjoyed 25+ cruises), with the other top 2 being Alaska & the Greek Isles. Would recommend this in a heart beat to anyone wanting to enjoy the Spanish, French & Italian Riviera. Love that HAL is always looking to add different and new ports to their itineraries. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We believe Holland America line to provide stylish cruising with elegance and sophistication at a reasonable cost. We like the traditional style of ship with spacious accommodation in the public areas and manageable numbers of passengers. ... Read More
We believe Holland America line to provide stylish cruising with elegance and sophistication at a reasonable cost. We like the traditional style of ship with spacious accommodation in the public areas and manageable numbers of passengers. The level of service provided but the Philipino crew is very high with great attention to personal comfort and forming a good relationship with the client to understand his needs. We always find the Holland America clientele to be a comfortable match to our expectations. The nature of the onboard activities and entertainment is sophisticated and in no way brash. Our recent voyage on the Oosterdam had a full passenger payload but because of the nature of the public areas in no way felt crowded. As British clients we enjoy the very international cross section of English speaking clients but are always rather surprised that the percentage of British clients is relatively small. We feel sure that more active marketing in the UK would create greater interest in Holland America in the UK. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Flew to Rome and spent an interesting 2 days. Trip was marvelous with the personnel outdoing themselves to assure our comfort. Great feeling on the ship and all ports visited. First Mediterranean cruise but have had many Carribean ... Read More
Flew to Rome and spent an interesting 2 days. Trip was marvelous with the personnel outdoing themselves to assure our comfort. Great feeling on the ship and all ports visited. First Mediterranean cruise but have had many Carribean cruises which are entirely different. After traversing the Mediterranean we disembarked in Barcelona. Then we spent an extra 2 nites in center of city which is an amazing place. Lovely trip. Wish the air travel was more acommodating. We enjoy casino gambling at night. The dealers and management were personable and treated us royally (winning and losing don't count). Warmth from all was a great feeling. Unfortunately there is not much action in the casino. Guests do not participate as in shore casinos but we made do. Excellent entertainment in small venue called Carnegie Hall. Folks who appreciate music were satiated by the 5 pleayers. Excellent venue on the ship and one that should be visited pre and post dinner Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, which included the Riviera, several stops in Provence, and a stop for the Alhambra (although Granada was quite a distance from Almeria, it was worth the trip). We are 2 active Americans in our 30s, ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, which included the Riviera, several stops in Provence, and a stop for the Alhambra (although Granada was quite a distance from Almeria, it was worth the trip). We are 2 active Americans in our 30s, no kids. We went in late May and had PERFECT weather: only a few sprinkles here and there, temperatures never above 75 F! We stayed one night in Rome fairly close to Termini station, and found the train to Civitavecchia to be very nice, although you have to walk quite far to get to the platform. Once we arrived in Civitavecchia station it was a bit confusing how to get to the ship; there's supposed to be a bus but we didn't find it. It was a bit too far to walk with luggage, but we made it. Embarkation was a breeze, and disembarkation was very nice - we really liked being able to stay in our state room until our group was called. We waited about 30min after it was called and walked right off, got our luggage, and were on to the next adventure. The ship itself is very elegant. Almost all of the staff are Indonesian, unlike other ships we've been on that had more diversity. They were all very friendly and spoke good English. The clientele of the ship was significantly older than we're used to (we've only sailed Princess and Seabourn before). We were (jokingly) asked several times if we'd wandered onto the wrong ship. I counted a grand total of 6 children onboard the entire time, and only a few other middle-aged couples like us; at least 90% of the pax were in their late 60s to 80s. Mainly Americans, but quite a few Australians too. Because of the small size of the ship (or the age of the pax?) there weren't a lot of activities onboard, but we were in port most of the time anyway. We did miss the people watching we've previously enjoyed in the Princess atrium. The overall atmosphere was very quiet and peaceful. Service was generally very friendly and helpful, except for the people in the Lido buffet who either didn't speak good English or were cranky. While I felt everything was sanitary, some details of cleanliness were less than stellar. For example, the phones and makeup mirror in our cabin had clearly not been wiped in some time, and there was crud around the edge of the bathtub that floated atop my bath every night (I easily scrubbed some of it off with a washcloth the first night, but it reappeared from somewhere to leave a brown ring around the tub every night). We were pleased with 'anytime' dining; we had a grand time dining with a big table of CC'ers we'd met through this forum! Dinner selection was good, breakfast ok, and Lido not so great (but we never like the ship buffets much). We didn't have much lunch onboard since this was a port-intensive cruise, but we did enjoy the afternoon tea service a few times. They had a crepe station one afternoon which was a nice treat. We aren't big drinkers so we just ordered a few drinks a la carte; prices are reasonable. The coffee was TERRIBLE, including the espresso, so we stuck to tea. We also brought our bottles of wine onboard (1 each), but there was no corkscrew in the cabin to open it! We had some onboard credit which we used at Pinnacle Grill one night, but we didn't think it was really worth it. I ordered the crab legs, which were also available in the MDR later in the cruise, and was served an obscene quantity (perhaps 5lbs?), half of which was overcooked. We only did one ship excursion, to the Alhambra (Granada) from the port of Almeria. The rest of our excursions we arranged with private tour guides and fellow pax from the "roll call" forum. These all turned out to be really good experiences, and we enjoyed meeting the other passengers from the forum. Livorno: we've seen the sights in Florence, so we decided to DIY to Lucca, Italy. This required 2 buses and 2 trains; while not particularly difficult, it seemed like more effort than the little town was worth. The Puccini museum was a rip-off. Monte Carlo: the seas were very choppy and we later learned we were lucky to get to shore, as they stopped the tenders completely by noon. The marvelous Michel of Revelation Tours picked us up at the dock and took us to several beautiful Provencal villages including St Tourettes sur Loup, St Paul de Vence, Eze, and Nice. Though the Grand Prix Historique was going on, we had no trouble getting in/out of MC. Michel gave us fascinating details about the history and geography of the region as we drove. In Nice I really enjoyed the Chagall museum (he's my favorite painter), while the others in the group enjoyed a tour of the city. The boardwalk in Nice is also very beautiful. Near Eze we stopped at the Fragonard factory; we probably should've skipped this, as it wasn't that interesting even to the ladies. We had planned to go back out and see the casino in the evening, but the tenders were not running and we were too tired anyway. St Tropez: Again the wonderful Michel met us at the port and took us to the villages of Grimaud, Port Grimaud (none of us liked this "Disney-esque" resort), Ramateulle, and Gassin. He also took us to a wine tasting at a winery where they make the local (excellent) rose. Again we'd planned to go out and people watch in the evening but were too tired after dinner to venture back out. Ajaccio: We didn't have a tour arranged from this port, as there weren't many good options. We walked around the markets and the boardwalk, and then along the beach for awhile. We were back on the ship in time for a late lunch, along with most of the passengers. It was pretty but not particularly interesting. Almeria: This was the only ship excursion we took. It was quite a distance (2 hour drive), but the Alhambra is worth it! However, the excursion only spent an hour at the site and then 2.5 hours on lunch - I would've much rather flipped that proportion. Ceuta: We were really at a loss as to activities here, since we weren't interested in going to Morocco. An Australian couple we'd met earlier in the cruise attempted to DIY the border crossing and were deterred by "guides" insisting on hundreds of Euros to take them across. Others we talked to later said the ship excursion was worth it, though. We just walked around the small town, had some really great coffee, and walked along the beach for quite awhile. (The beach was fairly nice, and it was sandy unlike the rocky beaches of Europe). At least we can say we've set foot on the continent of Africa now! Marseille: We had a little difficulty finding our guide (Delphine, arranged for us by Nancy McGee), since the port won't allow private tour vehicles to park very close to the ships. Delphine took us to Aix-en-Provence, which was very beautiful and clearly more wealthy than other villages we had seen so far. There were very large markets going on while we were there. Since it was a perfectly clear day, she then drove us up to the highest European cliff at Cap Canaille for a spectacular view over the Med! We were amazed to see rock climbers on the sheer face. After that we took a short boat ride from Cassis to the Calanques, which are very unusual white rock formations that fall right into the sea. People were out sunbathing on the rocks, which looked very uncomfortable to us. Back in Marseille, Delphine drove us up the hill to Notre Dame, which was very beautiful inside and enjoys beautiful views over the city. Sete: At first we were confused on how to find our private guide, but then we realized we had to take the short bus ride to the port gates, where our guide was waiting. We were back with Michel, who showed us the Versailles-like gardens and Roman ruins of Nimes. The Colisseum-like arena (later turned bullring) was very well preserved. Then he took us to Uzes, which was one of our favorite villages. However, the highlight of the trip was the visit to the old Roman aqueduct, Pont du Gard! Barcelona: We were docked overnight here, and opted to take the ship's shuttle, which was worth it - it dropped us at the maritime museum. On disembarkation day we took a taxi directly to our hotel, where we stayed a few more nights. We enjoyed all the usual sights in Barcelona via metro or on foot, and especially appreciated the much cheaper prices on food and shopping! The beach at Barceloneta is pretty and well attended (including by topless and fully nude sunbathers). We booked timed entry tickets for La Padrera, Park Guell, and the Sagrada Familia, which helped with the crowds. A highlight here was the Camp Nou Experience, which was well done even for someone like me who doesn't really care for soccer (football). Though we enjoyed our cruise, we would probably not sail with HAL again due to the vast age difference, unless the itinerary was something we couldn't find elsewhere. Read Less
41 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
My 20-year-old daughter and I took the 12-night Western Med cruise leaving out of Rome, and just returned a few days ago. The cruise definitely exceeded our expectations. We flew into Rome, and took advantage of HAL's air program. I ... Read More
My 20-year-old daughter and I took the 12-night Western Med cruise leaving out of Rome, and just returned a few days ago. The cruise definitely exceeded our expectations. We flew into Rome, and took advantage of HAL's air program. I was able to get air for just $804 round trip pp through them, and that was a direct flight from Chicago. We stayed at a wonderful B&B near the Vatican (Al Colonnato di San Pietro Bed and Breakfast), number one on tripadvisor, and I can see why. Reasonably priced, perfectly located, and the proprietor, Rosa Maria, took care of us like family. After four glorious and extremely tiring days in Rome, We were ready for our cruise. We took the train from Rome to the port, Civitavecchia, and then simply took a cab to the ship after we arrived. It was only 20 euros, and well worth avoiding the hassle of waiting for a bus. Additionally, we had saved a ton taking the train down, at only like 5 euros each. Embarkation was a breeze. Very little waiting and super organized. Our room was actually ready when we arrived as well, and we were early at just before 1 p.m. We had chosen an inside cabin, 8126. The cabin had tons of storage, so we were able to get everything organized and put away. Very little noise and very little movement. Our stateroom was attended by Asis and Eko, and they were just phenomenal throughout the cruise taking care of the cabin. When we arrived, the room was made up into a king, but when we asked, they quickly changed it to two twins. The ship itself is a moderate sized ship. I was told we had just over 1800 passengers on board. The majority of the passengers are over 65. There were virtually no passengers my daughters age, and only a few my age. That did not remotely diminish our experience however. We have both been on multiple cruises on lines including Celestyal last year, Costa, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and NCL. We both agreed this line had the best food and the best staff of any we have sailed on, and we truly had a tremendous time. We opted for the open seating option for dining. Because this cruise was extremely port intensive with only 2 sea days out of 12, we weren't sure when we would be ready to eat each day. That option was definitely perfect for us, as we ate anywhere from 5:15 (when the dining room opened) to 8:45 p.m. We never waited for a table. They always were able to seat us immediately. They gave us the option to share or to sit alone. Most nights we shared, and we met many wonderful people on board. All of the passengers we met were extremely well-traveled, and it made for really awesome dinner conversation. Staff was amazing and super friendly. Food was superb. Best we have had on any cruise line by far. I had duck several nights, pheasant, quail, lobster, filet, salmon, just to name a few of the entrees. There were numerous options in every category every evening, and everything was prepared perfectly. With all of the people we sat with, and many quite hard to please, none had anything negative to say about the food or service. I just wish I had taken more of their names to give each recognition here. There were so many who went above and beyond for us. One evening, we arrived back from Barcelona extremely late. We knew we were going to miss the show. When the Maitre'D heard we were wanting to make the show, he found us a table for 2, and had us surrounded by staff. He assured us we would make that show, and we did, with time to spare. It was amazing, and made us feel really special. Mornings before a port, we would have room service, which was always prompt and very good, or we would go to the Lido, and have something made for us to order. The crepes were amazing. Staff there was attentive as well, and always made sure to find us a table, and keep our drinks filled. We were pretty tired in the evenings, but still managed to make most of the shows. Our favorites included a magician, an impersonator/comedian, and an incredible piano player. The band was also excellent. I would have enjoyed some music pool-side on our sea days, but it was still pleasant to sit by the pool. We played ping pong and shopped, went to the teas, and rested up on these two days. Spa options were long and rather pricey. Some short options for massage would be my only request. There was internet available, and I bought a package. Every line I have sailed on has had fairly poor internet service, and this was no exception. It rarely wanted to connect without a very lengthy amount of time, and we went through our minutes very quickly and had really looked nothing up. I would recommend to wait for shore. Our ship stopped in Livorno, Monte Carlo, St. Tropez, Corsica, Almeria, Ceuta, Marseilles, Sete, and Barcelona. In Livorno, we grabbed a cab to the train station and then took a train to Pisa. I had made arrangements in advance to climb it, and we had lunch literally looking up at the leaning tower. Pure magic. We then took the train to Lucca, and rented bikes, and biked all around the wall of the town. Took our bikes down to a little cafe and had croissants. It was a truly splendid day. Hint: Cabs are plentiful and much quicker than the bus service and parked right there at the dock. However, returning to the train station in the afternoon, it is difficult to find a cab. Make sure to leave plenty of time for this. In Monte Carlo, the Antique Grand Prix was going. This definitely added to the event, and we could see the cars racing below from the palace, as well as hear them zooming past us on the streets behind barricades. We loved it, but admittedly it made it trickier to get around. Gorgeous yachts were in the port. We saw the changing of the guard at the palace, went and lost a little money at the Grand Casino and went to a great market there. We also took the train to Eze that day. Had lunch at Le Chevre D'or, a two michelin star restaurant overlooking the Med. The view was pure magic. Even got a little teary as they showed us to our table. It was that spectacular, and I had read about the place long ago. The medieval village of Eze was gorgeous. We did some shopping there. A little rain came, and we went and took a wifi break and waited it out. It was a great day. Hint: Take the bus to Eze. The train station is a long long distance from the village and is at the base of the cliffs. It is really not walkable. The bus does pick up there in front of the train station however, and will get you to Eze. We had difficulties finding the bus station in Monte Carlo, as the stop we needed was barricaded up. In St. Tropez, I had also been given some erroneous information, making it sound like Pampelonne Beach is walking distance. It very definitely is not. Of course we realized this once we were about 25% there on a road with no place to walk and surrounded by vineyards lol. Ended up finding this strange oasis in the middle of nowhere, where we bought fruit, and the proprietor called a taxi for us for the rest of the way. 30 euros to go 2-1/2 miles was a bit extreme, but we were just happy to not be on the side of the road anymore. I would have paid anything lol. Went to Nikki Beach Club, so my daughter could finally see some people her age. We were there a bit early, and it was super quiet, so headed to the beach. Daughter rented a jet ski for 65 euros for 20 minutes, but the guy took a liking to her and she ended up out there for about 45 minutes, then had lunch at a great french restaurant literally right on the beach. After lunch, headed back to Nikki's. It was now PACKED. Loud music and a fashion show going on. The bouncer found us a bed and we enjoyed music and laid out the rest of the afternoon. It was a great day. Had a mercedes sedan take us all the way back to the ship and he charged 30 euros as well. Just be prepared.. In St. Tropez.. Have a lot of money. We spent almost 100 euros for lunch. The beds were 20 euros apiece. It's not a cheap place lol. In Ajaccio, Corsica, I really wanted to take one of their boat tours; however, literally none of them worked with out time in port. We had eight hours, and but they literally all were approximately 15 minutes off. We took the petit train tour of the town. Saw all the sights of Napolean's birthplace, and then went to a great market right in the town square. Ended with some great food right on the dock, and then went back to the ship. Pretty laid back and relaxing day. I had a private tour arranged in Almeria, Spain with Jackie Bragg of Costa Almeria Tours. She took my daughter and I on a tour to Cabo de Gata. My daughter is specifically interested in flamingos, and she assured that she was able to see them there. The tour also included a boat ride to see the cliff formations and some sea life. We ended the tour at a lovely fishing village and had an amazing lunch there. Absolutely breathtaking view and a really awesome time. Jackie went out of her way to make sure we had a great time, and she assured we got back to the ship in plenty of time as well. In Ceuta, Spain, we went with the ship's tour to Tetouan, a medina on the African side of Morocco. The tour originally was sold out. I had been on the waiting list for over a month prior to the cruise. In the end, the ship was able to accommodate the 100 plus guests on the waiting list by taking multiple buses. We absolutely loved this tour. The border crossing would have been impossible to do on our own in just 7 hours in port. They kept us in smaller groups and then took us on a tour of the medina. We had a very small amount of time to shop and then had a truly wonderful lunch with traditional moroccan food and dancing. We were very happy with the tour. In Marseilles, we were bussed to the port area, and did pay a small fee for the transportation. We took a boat tour of the calanque formations out of the port for 27 euros each. We then went to lunch at Miramar Restaurant, a very swanky port-side restaurant. At 113 euros, it was an expensive lunch, but the food was quite good. In the beginning, the hauty waiter was ignoring us. We noticed French patrons around us talking about us and motioning to us. Suddenly, the couple sitting to our right complained about our service, and suddenly everything changed. We had great service after that, and our fresh fish was amazing and swimming in butter. Yummmm. We also took a boat out to the Island of If, where there is an old prison, made famous in the book, The Count of Monte Cristo. We had fun exploring that as well. Bus service back to the ship was quite slow to arrive, and many passengers were getting disgruntled about that. In the ship's defense, everyone arrived looking to go back around the same time, so that is rather hard to avoid. In Sete, we had very little planned. Just an easy day sightseeing this pretty little town with canals. We went to an awesome bakery and had croissants, and then went over to the town market. Fresh so fish it was still moving! :/ Dear daughter bought some strawberries and we found some wonderful soaps and sachets from the region's lavender. Had lunch in a little bistro in town, and then headed back to the ship. Our last port was Barcelona, where we overnighted. It ended up being our favorite port. We started out in La Rambla and enjoyed that immensely. Mimes, and booths of very type abound there. We ended at this square (Placa de Catalunya) that is literally covered in pigeons. Dear daughter bought some seeds and they were all over her. After lunch at an awesome little bistro nearby, she wanted to come back and do that again. Got some great pictures, and then took the subway to La Familia Sagrada (powerful and breathtaking), followed by another subway trip to Park Guell. Hint: Park Guell is a very long and strenuous walk from the subway station. A cab might be a good idea. If you want to enter La Familia Sagrada, be sure you have made a reservation before arrival. We thoroughly enjoyed Barcelona and definitely would like more time there. It was nice that the ship overnighted there, but we had to leave the next morning, so we went back around 8:00 to have dinner and pack. Overall, it was a lovely cruise. I would highly recommend Holland America Line. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and cannot say enough about how great the staff is. The food was wonderful and the ship was beautiful and kept very clean. Entertainment was very good, and certainly in adequate supply given such a port-intensive itinerary. Read Less
33 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Cruise Critic Review This cruise on the Oosterdam was our first with HAL and our 10th cruise overall. The highlights of the cruise were the itinerary and the music in the evenings. The 12 day cruise started in Rome and ended in ... Read More
Cruise Critic Review This cruise on the Oosterdam was our first with HAL and our 10th cruise overall. The highlights of the cruise were the itinerary and the music in the evenings. The 12 day cruise started in Rome and ended in Venice with stops in Greece, Turkey and Croatia. I won’t say much about the itinerary because the Oosterdam will not cruise this route again. Evenings were fun thanks to the B.B.King Band and the Billboard Piano Players. The B.B. King band played 3 sets per night with the last one usually ending at 11:45pm. They were very talented musicians that played lots of great dance and listening music. They had a male and female lead singers as well as lead guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, drums and very energetic sax and trumpet players. The Billboard Piano Players, Megan and Diego, played Billboard 100 hits from the 60s through today. They played very popular songs and by the end of the evening we say many that were singing along. They were very interactive with those who sat nearby and they were located just outside the casino in a main traffic areas. HAL now has BB King bands and Billboard Piano players on multiple ships. Our next cruise may be with HAL just because we know they will have a BB King Band and Billboard Piano team onboard. What are other things we liked most about the ship….. 1- The Oosterdam had just come out of dry dock when we boarded so there was new carpet everywhere. Smoking is now only allowed only on balconies and outside areas. Smoking is no longer allowed in the Casino or anywhere on the interior of the ship that we could find. 2- The happy hour drink specials were a great value considering the normal prices of drinks on cruise ships. The 2nd drink was only $1. There were happy hour specials from 4pm to 5pm in 2 places, including the Crows Nest on deck 10 which seemed to be a great place to view the sail- aways. There was also a happy hour from 9pm to 10pm in the Gallery Bar next to the Casino. 3- Lido Deck a. Salad bar on Lido Deck Buffet was great. I especially liked the grilled Tuna. b. The Hamburger Bar on the Lido deck served up large, juicy hamburgers and chicken burgers. There was a taco bar next to the hamburger bar that stayed open until 5:30 pm that had great guacamole. c. One afternoon we picked up Happy Hour margaritas from deck 2 and chips and dips from the Lido deck, then watched sailaway in the back pool area. d. The Lido breakfast buffet always had smoked salmon, which is a favorite of mine and a great eggs benedict. 4- The staff was helpful and smiled a lot. 5- Our Cabin…Our outside cabin (6002) was spacious for a cruise ship cabin and it was one of only 2 cabins on the entire ship that faced forward. 6- Dining room dinner menus usually had great options to choose from, but on evenings when nothing seemed to grab our attention, there was always Grilled Salmon or N.Y.Strip Sirlon available. Most appetizers were tasty but the portions were small. We adjusted and order more than one appetizer. 7- We liked the free dining option as opposed to having to commit to an early or late seating. 8- On some late afternoons there would be a “sip and savor” promotion before the early dinner. For $4 they gave you a very tasty appetizer and fine wine samples (one white and one red) to complement the appetizer being served that evening. This took place in the Pinnicle Bar and the Ship’s Lead Wine Steward was very interesting and entertaining. Things that could be improved: 1- Considering that 300 or the 800 staff members were new to the cruise ship and that the cruise ship had just come out of dry dock, things still ran rather smoothly. There was a wait every time we visited the Service Desk, but they were very helpful and knowledgeable. HAL could have been more staff there to help out. 2- You could see where some work was still taking place on the ship. We heard about problems with other state rooms. HAL did give each passenger $100 credit to make up for this inconvenience. 3- The dinners lasted 90 minutes most evenings. This was too long for our liking, although this may be intentional. The average age of the passengers was higher than other cruise line we have been on and we noticed that many went off to their rooms after dinner. They liked visiting with each other during longer dining experience, while we were wanting to move on and enjoy the entertainment on the ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2016
Always enjoy the service and accomodations on Holland America. First group to set sail after it had been in dry dock with 2 weeks of upgrades. A beautiful ship with a great transformation. The Northern Lights bar exit and the new lounge ... Read More
Always enjoy the service and accomodations on Holland America. First group to set sail after it had been in dry dock with 2 weeks of upgrades. A beautiful ship with a great transformation. The Northern Lights bar exit and the new lounge addition was awesome. Great staff in the newest bar. As always, the Pinnacle Grill and the Italian restaurant were outstanding. A very busy itinerary with only one sea day, but a lot to see and the proper amount of time in port to see the cities.Embarkation in Rome and disembarkation in Venice went flawlessly - much better that getting on and off the ships in Ft Lauderdale! Customs was a breeze. Dining in the Main Dining room was 5-star. Food portions were a little less than what I have previously experienced, but no one was ever shorted or ever refused a second helping. Dining staff and housekeeping staff were second to none. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We chose this cruise because the perks that went along with it were very good. We also took a transatlantic last year and enjoyed it, so we were game for another one. We specifically wanted to end up in Rome as we had never been there ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the perks that went along with it were very good. We also took a transatlantic last year and enjoyed it, so we were game for another one. We specifically wanted to end up in Rome as we had never been there before. Although the ship was gearing up for drydock refurbishing and there were workers already on the ship, it did not impact our vacation in any way, except for one day hearing a lot of banging while we were in the thermal room trying to relax. Service and friendliness of the staff was excellent. The BB King Blues Band was excellent, as usual. We didn't go to any of the specialty restaurants but enjoyed the food on the Lido and in the dining room. Embarkation and disembarkation were smooth. We always arrive early and are one of the first few off the ship because we carry our luggage. The main shows with the singers and dancers were okay. The voices were very good, but some presentations were better than others. Our cabin was a verandah and roomy enough, however, wear and tear could be noted, especially in the bathroom (cracked sink, water temperature hard to manipulate). However, we knew the ship was ready for drydock so it didn't bother us. The Indonesian Show was excellent and a lot of fun. We were glad they scheduled it for the afternoon rather than late at night. The ports were excellent. Although we had been to Malaga and Cartagena before, we were able to see them with new eyes as we did different things than we did on our previous trip. Madeira was interesting and would have explored more if the weather was better. Definitely a place we would like to go back to. I would take this itinerary again and would love to cruise again on the OOsterdam with its promised upgrades. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We are a married couple, who has sailed on many Transatlantic cruises previously, but this was our first cruise with HAL. Pre-cruise: We stayed the night before at Holiday Inn Express Fort Lauderdale Airport South. A good hotel with ... Read More
We are a married couple, who has sailed on many Transatlantic cruises previously, but this was our first cruise with HAL. Pre-cruise: We stayed the night before at Holiday Inn Express Fort Lauderdale Airport South. A good hotel with free shuttle service from/to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. And for a fee, shuttle service to the cruise port. Embarkation: Went smoothly. The Ship: We found MS Oosterdam to be a nice ship. Although she was going to be refurbished in Europe after this cruise, in our opinion Oosterdam was in an excellent condition. Stateroom info: We were pleased with our aft veranda stateroom. Crew: We found most of the Indonesian and Filipino staff to be great and friendly – our stateroom attendant, most waiters in the bars, the wait staff in the Upper Vista Dining Room, the sommeliers, and the staff in the Lido Buffet Restaurant. Dining: With the exception of the first formal dinner in the MDR, where the waiters were in a hurry, we were very pleased with the service we received throughout the cruise with “As You Wish Dinning”. This in contrast to our three cruises with Celebrity’s "Select Dining", were the waiters in the MDR always was very busy, due to under-staffing. It was also nice to see that there were napkins neatly set up on the tables in the MDR, unlike what we experienced on Celebrity Reflection last November. Food in the MDR was generally good. We ate most breakfasts and lunches in the Lido Buffet Restaurant. The food selection in the Lido was okay. The range of juice for free at breakfast was very good. We will mention that the two toasters should be replaced, they doesn't work very well. The bread must many times pass through twice. What really impressed us was the good service from the staff in the Lido Restaurant. The staff was good at clearing tables, and there were knives and forks together with napkins on the tables. For most meals, the staff offered to bring us coffee, tea and water. We have never before experienced so good service in a buffet restaurant on any cruise ship. For instance, far better than the service we previously have experienced in Celebrity's Oceanview, and in Royal Caribbean’s Windjammer. We ate one dinner in Pinnacle Grill. The food and service were excellent! Room Service: The selection for breakfast was very good. We were pleased with the Signature Beverage Package. It worked out very well for us. Entertainment: The entertainment on the ship was mostly okay. However, we are quite tired to watch production shows, were most of the music/songs presented, are not original, but only "look a like" music/songs. The reason for this is probably copyright issues/costs for HAL. Destination ports: The three destinations ports was good, especially Madeira. But only three ports of call on a 13 nights cruise, are just too few – even on a Transatlantic cruise. What we did not like on this cruise: The jacuzzi on the port side on the Sea View Pool, did not work throughout the whole cruise. And the jacuzzi never get any sign saying: “Out of order”. We were very disappointed that there were no pool attendants or pool guards who looked after that the pool rules were enforced. Several times during our cruise, there were children who occupied the Lido pool for several hours with diving, jumping and acrobatic exercises, without any of the staff putting a stop to it!!! We do not even know who the pool attendants were! The Passenger Safety Drill was the most disorganized Safety Drill we have experienced on our 38 cruises. Five minutes before the Drill was to start, it was surprisingly announced over the ship's loudspeakers that the Drill nevertheless would not take place until 20 minutes later. When this was announced, the majority of the passengers were already in place at their assigned Muster Stations. In addition, the organization by at least our Muster Station, was also poorly executed by the responsible crew. The Sea View Sun Deck has no protection when it’s windy. Unfortunately, the nice wind protective deck space outside the Crow’s Nest on deck 10 will now be gone, because it will be built new staterooms there during the refurbishment. Disembarkation: We found it confusing that our departure time from the ship suddenly was announced half an hour earlier than was informed the last day on board, and also in relation to what was informed on the TV screen in our stateroom on the departure morning . Overall, a great cruise! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
First was not going to write a review since ship is doing a transatlantic and then dry dock but after looking over some of the last reviews I thought they were unfair and totally misleading. This was our 9 cruise on five different lines ... Read More
First was not going to write a review since ship is doing a transatlantic and then dry dock but after looking over some of the last reviews I thought they were unfair and totally misleading. This was our 9 cruise on five different lines and cruises are a treat and we look forward to them. We are not professional cruisers who looked for minor bad things. Ship had some worn carpet spots nothing major no worse than on our last two trips with carnival and princess. Embrakation was quick arrived at 11:00 on the ship and dropped carry on by 11:30. Did not have a lot of wheel chairs or motorized chairs or at least they were not a problem. Had a large European population so we met many people from Germany, England and the Netherlands. Service was the best of our 9 cruises Hon and Fabian were great stewards (cabin 8019), Carson asst cruise director was great in trivia and bingo. Our servers Nicole in Pinnacle and in the Italian resturants could not be better. never had to wait for table in lido help kept them clean. (There were more than 1 toaster places). Had 2nd seating table 69 great service every nigh with great new table mates. We did trivia very night with a team made up of Londoners, Americans. Tied 3 times and won once, did bingo, and spent 4 nights in BB Kings blues club. ( great band but yes it was loud but there was 6 members in a small room. It was filled every night but last one. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We live in Florida and chose Tampa as the easiest port for us to get to (4 hour drive). The cruise was good, ports in Western Caribbean a bit new and undeveloped but the overall experience on the ship more than made up for the raw ports. ... Read More
We live in Florida and chose Tampa as the easiest port for us to get to (4 hour drive). The cruise was good, ports in Western Caribbean a bit new and undeveloped but the overall experience on the ship more than made up for the raw ports. Service on HAL exceeds anything we've experienced on Royal Caribbean, Norwegian or Carnival. We chose a Neptune suite 7065 starboard midships adjacent to the Neptune Lounge. Ah, what a delight the Neptune Lounge is. 7am to 9pm Concierge service for almost any need you have or request you can think of. Need a razor? Need change for a $20? Want to make reservations? Just ask. Staff attitude was marvelous, the food was good and overall experience absolutely exceptional. We were so impressed, we booked our next cruise on Oosterdam for December 2016 - just after hurricane season ends. The ship was due for refurbishment following our cruise but it didn't look like it needed it. Now that it's been refurbished, we can't wait to see what they've done with it. And if you haven't tried a Neptune Suite yet -- do youself a favor and go for it. The cost is well worth it! Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Hi everyone! Just got back two days ago from a 10-day Caribbean cruise on Holland's Oosterdam. It was our 3rd trip on the Oosterdam and our 10th cruise overall. My husband and I agreed that it was one of the (if not the) best trip ... Read More
Hi everyone! Just got back two days ago from a 10-day Caribbean cruise on Holland's Oosterdam. It was our 3rd trip on the Oosterdam and our 10th cruise overall. My husband and I agreed that it was one of the (if not the) best trip we've ever taken on Holland! Embarkation and Disembark were super easy, cabin stewards were the most consistently helpful we've ever had and the food was delicious! We'd been to a few of the ports before (Curacao, Aruba, Grand Turk, HMC) but it was our first trip to Semana (DR) and Bonaire. We met many interesting people from Canada, Australia, China and US. I must admit, after reading some reviews of this ship/cruise I wonder if we were on the same ship with these other people! We came back rested and felt the trip was well worth the money spent. We took the submarine excursion on Aruba. Overall, it was a good experience. Interesting and informative, the "Captain" was entertaining and we saw a lot of marine life. My only complaint is that it was a little cramped. I realize it's a submarine, but I feel there should be a weight limit. Taking up 2 or 3 seats in a sub for 48 is a bit much. Just my opinion. We took a local cab ride on Grand Turk and it was fun. The driver was local and he showed us much of the island. He did warn us, however, of possible danger on Semana. He was pretty convincing as we didn't leave the ship upon arrival there! We also took a trolley ride on Bonaire and it was enjoyable. They took us to many neighborhoods and local spots "off the beaten track" and I felt like I saw more than the average tourist. Most nights we ate in the MDR. One night in the Pinnacle and it was wonderful! The food in the MDR was excellent. The waiters and wine stewards were amazing. I ate my weight in salmon and beef short ribs and chicken. All delish! One night we chose to dine in the Canaletto. They've changed the menu somewhat and it's now focused on small and large plates. We decided to each get a small plate as an appetizer and then a large plate as an entree. The waiter told us to only order one large plate as it would be enough for two. Well, it wasn't. We got the bass and it was plenty for one but I had to order some extra vegetables to add to the meal. We aren't large people so if you go there, just order a large plate for one. It was very good fish, by the way! Another point about the food - I think the coffee has been changed because in the MDR and the LIDO the coffee was fabulous. It used to be heavier and bitter (to my taste). This new brand is wonderful and I didn't need to get any specialty coffees up in the Explorations. My DH used the gym and said there was never a wait for a treadmill or other equipment. I did my best to get my swim laps in and then used the hot tub. Very clean and also very relaxing. We usually staked out our lounge chairs early and never had a problem. I would definitely take this cruise again. We love Holland and have no complaints. Most people I talked to onboard felt the same, but we did talk to a few people who love to complain about trivial things. The staff and crew on Holland are amazing. Period. I just wish people would look around them at some of these ports of call and realize what a privilege it is to be able to take a cruise. Again, just my opinion. Hope this review was informative! Read Less
Oosterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.5 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.5 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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