46 Holland America Oosterdam Cruise Reviews

From the moment we stepped on board it was obvious that this was not going to be fantastic. No lanyards available until i did a sit in at the shop and then they were for Alaska 2014 and Alaska 2013. It took 80 minutes and 3 calls to get ... Read More
From the moment we stepped on board it was obvious that this was not going to be fantastic. No lanyards available until i did a sit in at the shop and then they were for Alaska 2014 and Alaska 2013. It took 80 minutes and 3 calls to get coat hangers for my stateroom. My room card failed twice and my drinks card 4 times. each time i was expected to tramp down to the main deck and have it fixed even though i have a walking disability. Service was lack lustre and room service took up to 90 minutes. The captain was non existent and I only briefly saw him at a mariners lunch where he told us to reverse mortgage our houses and do more cruises. Then he didn't even stay to eat with us. On level 2 you could smell sewerage and the crew were not able or prepared to control or supply entertainment for over 350 under 18s. I was told HAL were a 5 star line. i have traveled with Princess and P&O and frankly they both were 100 times better. Frayed carpets and broken windows. Life boats with railing falling off. Do yourself a favour and don't travel on the Oosterdam Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I will start with the bottom line, one of the more expensive vacations we have taken, Holland America provided the least value of any cruise line or vacation package we have ever purchased. I fell for the pitch Holland America has been ... Read More
I will start with the bottom line, one of the more expensive vacations we have taken, Holland America provided the least value of any cruise line or vacation package we have ever purchased. I fell for the pitch Holland America has been doing Alaska package the longest in the Alaska area and were the best. They cannot stand up to Royal Caribbean or Disney Cruise Lines. We take 2 vacations a year and usually I plan each one a year in advance to ensure we can participate in the activities we are interested in. Biggest mistake, I left the planning to Holland America. One week on land, one week on the water. We travel as a family of 4, 2 teenage boys included. Won't bore you with a novel, just bullet statements to share the comedy of errors Holland America laid on us. - When arranging rooms at hotels for land package, we were separated as a family by being assigned rooms apart from each other. I booked this vacation months in advance, you think they could get a clue and notice the same last name on the reservations? -rooms had no AC. I understand we were in Alaska, but the rooms were stuffy. We were told to open the windows. One hotel, The Chalet in Delani was set up in separate building. We were in the last building in the "loop" therefore the shuttles were always filled. We had to run to make our excursion. No ironing board or iron in the room. Overall, hotel selection was average at best throughout the trip. Exception- The Alyeska Hotel and Resort, very nice. -bus driver "William" did not know how to operate the lift to assist an ADA individual, wasting close to an hour to figure it out. Then instead of allowing all to board the bus or get off the bus, William made everyone wait until he was able to service the ADA individual. Because of this, we were last in line for all activities, again, not allowing us to enjoy the activity as a family. We could not get seats together. The whole trip, Holland America drivers seemed to be last in line. Our family is up and out early to avoid these types of situations. -from transfer to transfer, new baggage tags had to be filled out with detailed information in order to get your bags to the next stop. Come on Holland America, it is 2014, pre-printed labels would be nice. A number of items in the baggage were damage during transit, worse than the airlines if you can believe it. -the stateroom my wife and I had on the cruise ship had defective or broken throughout. Reported immediately and none were ever resolved. Stateroom attendants were great, as usual. Rooms were smaller than any other ship we have been on, but yet were the most expensive. We had a verandah room, curtains were torn therefore you could not keep the light out (Alaska had 22 hours of light during the day while there). -attitude of staff on board the ship, the worst we ever experienced. they seemed angry they were working there. outside of the stateroom attendants, we found 2 bartenders that had a great attitude and were fun to be around. -food, average at best, if you get any. We are average size people who do not gorge ourselves at meals. Half way through the serving period, the servers would run out of many selections and just shut it down. I have never seen anything like it on a ship before. This included coffee! When ordering a soft drink with our meals, we never received the drink until we were completely finished with our meals. Service was terrible throughout. Servers were very slow. -ship was replacing carpet while cruising. Give me break, they only have 3-4 months to travel in this part of the country, have the ship ready. Many other flaws in other areas, ship not up kept properly. -captain never shut up. once on the speaker, he loved to hear himself talk. -laundry service, one day folded everything in a basket, the next time everything thrown in the basket leaving it totally wrinkled with no iron to press. -purchased a DVD package (3 DVD's for $65) of "our" cruise. Not quite sure what cruise we got, but wasn't ours. Just some clips of the different stops from a different time. -we had 4 hours to catch our flight after receiving our time to get off the ship. Due to the poor transfer system Holland America practices, we barely made out flight. Terrible system. Slow and unorganized. -I could go on and on. Terrible experience. When you spend a good amount of money on a vacation, you expect a bit more. Surprised people travel Holland America, they have not experienced other cruise lines that do a much better job. Extremely sorry I allowed them to coordinate the land package. Many other cruise lines in Alaska, I would try any of them in place of Holland. By the way, I completed their survey, they got back to me and told me if I wanted to discuss the concerns further, call them. That should tell you something. They should have made that call. Alaska is beautiful, go see it, just do not do it with Holland America at the helm, you will be sorry. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Restaurant operation seemed unprepared for guests. At various times ran out of coffee, coffee cups, and breakfast syrup. Had two buffet sides with different dishes. One side would close without warning during buffet operational hours. ... Read More
Restaurant operation seemed unprepared for guests. At various times ran out of coffee, coffee cups, and breakfast syrup. Had two buffet sides with different dishes. One side would close without warning during buffet operational hours. Bring a book as there are very few day activities. Crew can't give any information or dispense incorrect information. On a five night cruise we experienced "songs and dances" from their native land (crew provided entertainment) and "Dancing with the Stars at Sea" (passengers provided the entertainment). One night there was no entertainment. Cruise line therefore paid for entertainment 2/5 nights. Ship is old and needs a facelift. I shared all of this in the post cruise review and never got a reply. It was my first and last cruise on Holland America. At the final departure port in Fairbanks it turned out that Holland American owned the hotel and restaurant provided in the package. The land experience was like the sea experience. Dinner in the restaurant took three hours. They were out of half the entrees on the menu. We all ordered dessert and one guy in our party gave up after an hour and went back to his room. Holland America also seems to cut corners on lighting. The dim lighting did help cover up the shabby condition of the ship! Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
I and my husband were another two of the unfortunates that chose the Xmas new year cruise. Dirty towels in our cabin from previous passengers was our first encounter . Bookings I had made and paid for ,on board restaurants were mislaid, ... Read More
I and my husband were another two of the unfortunates that chose the Xmas new year cruise. Dirty towels in our cabin from previous passengers was our first encounter . Bookings I had made and paid for ,on board restaurants were mislaid, when I turned up at arranged time was told too come back in 1/2 an hour and they would try and fit us in.The house staff were over worked so things such as a half drank coffee cup sat on my bedside table for 4 days. A passenger at our dinning table dropped a knife which was still there two days latter. Getting a drink at the 6pm quizz at the crows nest bar was nearly impossible. I ordered a banana dacqueri which was un drinkable when I stated that it didn't even taste like banana I was informed that they do not use real fruit in any of there cocktails.Getting a drink at the Vista dinning room took up to 3/4 of an hour and another hour to get your card back.Waiters worked there hardest but there was just not enough staff,so we regularly missed the show.Often the liddo cafeteria was the only option for lunch, and there was not enough tables for the amount of people.Attention to detail was lacking, ordered room service yogurt arrived with no spoon and cheese and biscuits arrived without biscuits. The explorer caffe ran out of regular cups half way through cruise so passengers were told they must pay for large cups until these also ran out. By the end of the cruise they had run out of numerous items including many beers. I feel that organisational skills were lacking. Any complaints were addressed with arrogance and dismissed . I like many will never travel with HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We booked this cruise at the last minute, 3 days before sailing. We arrived at the port a little before noon. Embarkation was pretty quick and painless, we were on board within twenty minutes and the cabins were ready so we went straight ... Read More
We booked this cruise at the last minute, 3 days before sailing. We arrived at the port a little before noon. Embarkation was pretty quick and painless, we were on board within twenty minutes and the cabins were ready so we went straight there to deposit our carry on. The cabin was ok, closet space was adequate but there was very little drawer space. Small balcony with two chairs, a small table and a footstool, at least I think it was a footstool. We left the cabin to explore the ship, which didn't take very long. Overall impression of the ship was that it looked a little dated, a little neglected, dark and drab. Next stop was the Lido for a light lunch. For the first 48hours, passengers are not allowed to serve themselves, this is to try to prevent illness, not sure if this is successful or not, it certainly meant that it took longer to be served. The seating area is somewhat small, consequently finding a seat was a real problem. I will come back to this later. The food was quite good, I think we had a salad and dessert but I can't remember exactly what. It was a beautiful day for Sail away, and we stayed on deck for quite a while until the ship entered the Strait of Juan de Fuca, then we headed back to our cabin to unpack and get ready for dinner. FOOD: In general I thought the food was quite good, especially the appetizers and soups. We did have a bad experience in the dining room on the first night, however I will not comment about that here yet as we will be contacting HAL about it. Suffice to say please be extra vigilant if you have allergies.SERVICE: I am sad to report that service on this ship did not meet our expectations. This was especially true of room service. On the occasions we tried to call room service, we were often waiting for ten - fifteen minutes for someone to pick up the phone, then waited an hour for food or drinks to be delivered, we only ever ordered drinks or a snack, soup on one occasion so it wasn't even meals that we were waiting that long for. I ordered tea one evening, they brought hot water and tea bags but no cups. We heard this same complaint from others on the ship. Vista servers did a little better, but the service just did not come up to the standards of other ships we have sailed on. ENTERTAINMENT: Woeful. We went to the show on the first night and we ended up leaving before the end, it was very amateur and we have seen better at our local high school. there was and Illusionist on one night and he was good, but the rest of the entertainment was a big let down. As the entertainment was so bad, we decided to rent a DVD from the Front Desk one night, we selected the DVD, took it back to our room only to find the DVD player was not working.We did not use the casino as it was just too smoky and the bars around the casino were also smoky(from cigarette smoke drifting in from the casino). PHOTOGRAPHERS: The photographers were good, taking time to pose people and they seemed to pay attention to detail, unfortunately the photographs are very pricey, much more expensive than other ships we have sailed on. Speaking of expensive, wine on the ship is vastly overpriced, we normally buy a bottle to have with dinner every night, not on this ship, not at those prices. No I don;t mind paying a little more for drinks on board, I understand that is where ships make money (at least that is what I have been told), but there is a limit. The ports were great, Alaska is beautiful, I hope to return, but it will not be with HAL. Very disappointed overall with this ship, crew and cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Was really excited to go on the 9/15/13 sailing of the MS Oosterdam, had been looking forward to an Alaskan cruise for years. This was my trip to Alaska and my first time sailing with Holland America. I will definitely go back to Alaska, ... Read More
Was really excited to go on the 9/15/13 sailing of the MS Oosterdam, had been looking forward to an Alaskan cruise for years. This was my trip to Alaska and my first time sailing with Holland America. I will definitely go back to Alaska, but I doubt I will ever set foot on a Holland America ship. The cruise started out great. Embarkation in Seattle was easy and there wasn't even a line to wait in when we arrived at 1:30. Had some lunch and began to explore the ship. Overall the Oosterdam has been well maintained and there weren't any areas that jumped out as being out as being in need or an update (minus the decor that is). Juneau and Tracy Arm were amazing, then things took a turn for the worse. There was some bad weather which forced us to cancel stops in Sitka and Ketchikan. I understand bad weather can happen, experienced a similar issue on Royal Caribbean but the difference is how a cruise line deals with it. Holland America failed on all aspects in dealing with the weather. The makeshift entertainment, if you can call it that, was atrocious. The cruise director kept trying to make jokes about the weather that were not funny, they were really nasty comments about how miserable he felt being stuck on the ship. Honestly, the guy should be fired as he upset a vast majority of the people in the room watching the cooking demonstration they were 20 minutes late in starting. Additionally, the staff became sullen with having no real time off due to the changes. I can understand their frustation but their job is to provide customers with a positive experience not a feeling that they couldn't care less about what they were doing. Bartenders need to be trained to make drinks consistently, it is a pet peeve of mine to order the same drink in different bars and have it made with different ingredients each time. This is kind of fundamental 101 stuff for cruise ship bartenders. I wasn't happy with the 15% off of a future sailing that HAL offered but understood they are not responsible for the weather, however now that I am back home and have learned that Princess stopped in Ketchikan the Friday we were supposed to be there I am furious with them for their mismanagement of the situation and making us stay on the boat an extra day. In all honesty they should have offered a lot more for that screw up and the horrible response by the entertainment staff to the situation. But as I said above, I will never step foot on a HAL cruise and that is all due to the dining. Food was good first two days, after that meals in the formal dining room were served cold, served a piece of mystery meat that was called a filet mignon, repeated menu items, and very poor reaction by the waitstaff to the problems encountered. After the third day the food was rather terrible and the service just as bad, this is my main reason for not wanting to sail on HAL again. This is exactly what happened with Princess when Carnival took them over. I heard several repeat HAL customers comment on how much worse the food was on this cruise in comparison to past cruises. Overall, the few ports we made it to were nice but the onboard experience was lousy with the exception of our cabin steward and his assistant who were very nice and did a great job.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
I took advice from other HAL and Oosterdam reviews with a "grain of salt". Our loss. Our experience of one week, has left us vowing to never cruise on anything related to HAL or CCL again. They have cut the food budgets so badly ... Read More
I took advice from other HAL and Oosterdam reviews with a "grain of salt". Our loss. Our experience of one week, has left us vowing to never cruise on anything related to HAL or CCL again. They have cut the food budgets so badly that the Alfredo Sauce, for instance, is only flour and water. That is only a tiny example of a much bigger problem. We are not "Foodies" but what we found available after the morning meal was just awful. Only fifteen minutes into the 3-hour dinner window, they were out of some of the items posted on the menu. The staff said you have to get there sooner if you want the posted items. Sooner?? We found our way to a back-deck grill that was cooking excellent cheeseburgers and fries and that became our fall-back meal several times. The room was another failure. There are two 14 inch in diameter and three five inch diameter cut-outs in the floor covered by carpet at the foot of the bed. They are about an inch deep and make getting around the room very difficult especially if the seas are rough. The rest of the open floor area seemed to be buckled up and was just terrible. The front office said boat was full and they were sorry we didn't like the room but there was nothing to be done for it. This should be a broom closet not a stateroom. The banging of the movable panels from the wind on the balcony were so bad that I jammed folded paper between them to stop the banging at night. There was no fix for the howling of the wind on the balcony glass door, however. The room attendants and most of the staff were very courteous and helpful but I have a problem when the crew, on a limited-time meal break, are dropped in the middle of cruisers who are in no hurry. Both sides get annoyed. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Overall, HAL has gotten fat and lazy, just like most of its clientele. It doesn't make any effort to assure that the information they provide about ports is comprehensive or current. The furniture in the rooms is stained, dirty, ... Read More
Overall, HAL has gotten fat and lazy, just like most of its clientele. It doesn't make any effort to assure that the information they provide about ports is comprehensive or current. The furniture in the rooms is stained, dirty, badly beaten down and some of it is broken. The carpeting in the main entertainment center has shredded and ripped areas, which pose an actual tripping hazard. It makes no effort from start to finish on a cruise to vary the menu at the Pool Grill, Pool buffet, Main Dining room and Specialty restaurants. Food is heavily salted, fatty, starchy, and prepared in some of the greasiest ways possible. Even the salad bar lacks healthy choices as they load it with starchy choices along with numerous salads made with mayonnaise. HAL policies and practices are too rigid, but they manage to put the company's wellbeing ahead of the customer, at all times. The embarkation process at Sydney was a complete third world experience. Computers shut down and needed re-booting but no one knew that for about an hour. Then 1800 people had to be processed through a temporary "tent" facility and put into large groups to wait to be called. When a group was called, people rushed up without regard for the group number they were in and the crew could not check because there was no card given that said what group number you were in. Check in took in excess of 90 minutes, regardless of when a person arrived. Pure chaos. The cruise wasted two days (of the published itinerary) at sea doing nothing but circles and floating. This was an affront to us. It is misrepresentation when HAL used a sea day to go from one port to another when the actual travel time on the ship at 15 knots would be less than 12 hours. This results in false figures when making comparisons between competitors' cruises. Adding unnecessary days to the schedule, just to inflate the cruise duration is a misleading and crass practice. HAL knowingly went to a city (Noumea) that is completely shut down on Sunday. McDonald's was the only business open in a town of 100,000 people. All shops were closed, all museums were closed. Waste of time. The captain had the opportunity to rectify this problem when a storm caused him to re-plan 8 days of the cruise's port schedule once we were underway. He chose to skip a port, just to keep the scheduled arrival at Noumea on the day it was completely closed. HAL does way too much nickel and dime costs once on board. Everything costs, even events that are free on virtually all cruise lines. HAL does everything it can to extract dollars from the customers pockets once you are on board. Not even water for the room is free. Bar costs are way too high ($7-14) for 1 ounce measured pours PLUS a service charge of 15% even if you don't have a waiter involved. Very high daily tip ($24) is automatically charged to your cabin for services provided by all the staff on board. HAL caters to a clientele that is way too old, disabled, grumpy and low class. Restaurant menus never change from day to day. Even in their specialty restaurants, the menus are so old that the covers are breaking up. I would expect this from a poorly run greasy-spoon diner, but not some operation like HAL who lauds themselves as being a class act. Entertainment during the main shows at night is more like amateur night. The lounge shows were between horrid and acceptable. The person providing information about the various ports often did not provide accurate information about free shuttles. She was only interested in selling more excursions from the ship and actually gave us false information about services such as telling us we could only get into two ports by taking the ship's transportation which cost a hefty fee. At both ports, the local visitor bureau had free shuttles which did not require us to wait for 50 other people the waddle on board. The maps supplied by the ship were practically worthless and much of the information was dated and inaccurate, sometimes by years. When asked about the resources available at a local town, the staff always pleaded total ignorance about anything but the ship's excursions, yet they spoke in terms of the broad and expansive experience and knowledge they had regarding all the ports before the ship got to them. If a person wanted to watch the ship's office staff go mute, one only had to ask them where the free WiFi locations were in town. At a number of ports, the local visitors' bureaus set up free WiFi at the dock and even though the ship had been to the port before AND the huge "Free WiFi" signs were visible from the ship, none of the staff (except the waiters and cabin attendants) would "know anything" about free WiFi before a port. The actions of the crew makes one wonder if it was all another way to sell more shipboard internet time. There are signs posted at one of two pools and at the heated spas stating that children under 14 are not allowed. Parents would ignore the sign or they weren't around the pool when their children used all pools and heated spas. When the ship's staff was approached to correct this situation, nothing was done, repeatedly. Therefore, we had to endure children as young as 4 jumping and screaming in both pools and all the heated spas for the duration of the cruise. One of our email accounts was attacked by a virus provided through the internet service on board. The hacking was so malicious, we received thousands of emails which bypassed the normal spam controls and ended up in our inbox. The provider of that public email service had to shut down our account and we have subsequently had to terminate its existence. Thank you, HAL. The ship makes a big deal about doing things environmentally correct, but every day our mail slot outside our cabin had 2-4 pieces of paper with junk advertising for the on-board shops, art auctions, gambling, future cruises and excursions. Our recycle trash can was full every day with just junk mail we had to discard. The Cruise Director held an "event" on the last day at sea just to tell all on board that the ratings in the customer survey needed to be scored a minimum of 9 on their scale. Pandering good survey reviews in this manner makes the survey process a sham. Just another strike against the integrity of HAL cruises. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
This our most recent cruise was in an Superior Verandah (SY) Suite stateroom on Holland America Line's 'Oosterdam' to Vanuatu and New Caledonia. Our expectations were reasonably high - have you heard of the "Signature ... Read More
This our most recent cruise was in an Superior Verandah (SY) Suite stateroom on Holland America Line's 'Oosterdam' to Vanuatu and New Caledonia. Our expectations were reasonably high - have you heard of the "Signature of Excellence" or Holland America's fine repuation before? It was quite simply the worst cruise we have been on. We had not travelled with the Holland America Line before and we were very disappointed in the overall experience compared to cruises on other lines we have taken in a range of stateroom classifications. This is for many reasons but here are the main ones. To begin with, we arrived at our stateroom to find that it was not adequately prepared. For instance we found clothing from a previous passenger in the wardrobe. Worst of all when we went to use the toilet for the first time we discovered that it was blocked and not clean. We reported it twice to customer relations before it was attended to. Once the toilet was unblocked it was then up to us to suggest to the ship's crew that it should be cleaned by our stateroom attendant for health and safety reasons. The toilet then blocked again on almost a daily basis for the remainder of the cruise and we seemed to be often on the phone asking for the technician to fix it, sometimes with lengthy delays. On two occasions the fire sprinkler over our bed started leaking and each time this needed repairing (and the bedding changed). This was symptomatic of a bigger picture. The inside of the ship looked tired and not well maintained. The interior design is badly dated right throughout the ship. The decor was both garish and predominantly dark due to the colour scheme used in the public areas. Given that the ship is only ten years old the furnishings and fittings seemed to have come from a much earlier era (think of the excesses of 1980s decoration and you'd be on the right track). The cabin hallways looked like the hallways on a ferry. Overall we got the impression that this particular cruise was run on the cost cutting. For example, used products in the bathroom were not replaced unless asked for. In the 'Lido' casual dining area essentially variations on the same food were prepared daily with no surprises. Whilst we did not eat there very often (only when this was the only lunch option available because the ship did not open the main dining room for lunch each day) we were surprised to find crew members eating there and this is something we have never experienced in the equivalent eating area on previous cruises. However, in contrast, the meals in the main 'Vista' dining room were at least as good, if not better, than on many other ships we have sailed on. The waiting staff in the 'Vista' dining room was very welcoming, highly professional and made our dining experiences there very pleasurable. In fact they were a highlight of our cruise experience. Whilst the specialty restaurant, the 'Pinnacle Grill' provided a reasonable alternative to the main dining room, the standard of the food was not much of a notch up. On other cruises we have found the speciality restaurant to offer something special and exciting in comparison to the regular dining options. However on this occasion sadly this was not the case. The daily on-board program was not as extensive as we are used to, having travelled on other lines. The offerings were basically the same each day and a boring predictability soon set in. There were very few surprise events and what was clearly missing was an established guest-speaker program, which is now a standard feature of many other cruise lines with whom we have sailed. On the plus side, the outside of the ship is quite beautiful and she has a lovely promenade deck with plenty of deck chairs. Also, the ports we visited were what one would expect on a South Pacific cruise and we were not disappointed by them. The ship did not provide a great deal practical information about each port and there was a feeling that unless we took one of the organised tours we were very much left to our own devices to work out how to travel around the islands and what to see and do (which was not easy given the lack of infrastructure on many of the islands). We thought that it was poorly organised that the ship did not offer a shuttle service to drive passengers to the centre of each port town; we would have been happy to pay for this service had it been provided. Whilst our stateroom attendant undertook his duties in a competent manner, we hardly ever saw him and so the friendly relationship that we have experienced on other cruises that can develop between attendant and passenger never eventuated. Similarly, we found that the majority of the crew on the ship lacked the genuine friendliness and sense of service we have previously experienced when cruising. There were so many instances where this was evident but by way of example, on one occasion as I was exercising in earshot, two of the staff in the gym had a lengthy conversation where they complained to each other regarding their work roster and forthcoming shore leave arrangements. Crew members holding such a conversation in front of passengers is very unprofessional in my opinion. This attitude seemed to come from the top down. Something we are unaccustomed to is officers who, when they walk past you, don't at least smile or give you the time of day. This was very much to case on this cruise. Overall there seemed to be lax attitude exhibited by many members of the crew and it seemed that on this particular cruise they were not working to their full capacity. For example there were several instances where the ship's own rules were clearly broken by guests and yet nothing appeared to be done by the crew to point this out to them, given that it continued throughout the cruise. For instance, children (they were very visible on this cruise) were allowed in swimming pools clearly marked for adult-only use. In the main dining room some diners totally disregarded the stated dress code, especially for dinner. Whilst I don't particularly mind that these rules were broken, the point is that if the ship is going to publish them then they should take some responsibility to enforce them. It seemed to us that the crew didn't care enough to point out these rules to the passengers. Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of life on board, and one we have not experienced before on any other cruise we have taken, was the overt alcohol culture. This included so-called, 'bar crawl' events organised by the ship's entertainment crew where passengers roamed the ship from bar to bar to celebrate what was called a 'Bar Olympics'. Similarly cocktail mixing events turned into rowdy and disruptive revelry that it was hard for other passengers to avoid. Far more than we have witnessed on other cruises, passengers walked around the ship with alcoholic drink in hand, some of them clearly intoxicated. Given the number of families on board I thought this was a very poor example of behaviour and one that should have been dealt with by the ship's crew. However, given that in part they were responsible for this code of behaviour, perhaps it is not surprising that they did little to deal with it. In this regard, and overall, it seemed that the attitude of the crew and this cruise was to appeal to lowest common denominator. If this is where the Holland America Line pitches its product count us out. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Firstly about me. I am a cruise ship & ocean liner buff! I can't even count how many books, DVD's and other nick nacks I have regarding the topic! I am 24 years if age and have sailed with Princess, Royal Caribbean and ... Read More
Firstly about me. I am a cruise ship & ocean liner buff! I can't even count how many books, DVD's and other nick nacks I have regarding the topic! I am 24 years if age and have sailed with Princess, Royal Caribbean and Cunard and have loved them so very much! I would say, I am an easy going Australian who has never had anything bad to say about cruising, infact I am forever praising how amazing they are! Up untill now that I have sailed my first cruise with HAL (ms Oosterdam). Let me first please point out that I am not one of those cruises who looks for drama at every possible minute or situation. I do not have un realistic expectations of people or companies and I certainly am not rude or anything like that to staff on cruise ships or any establishment/business for that matter. I simply wish to enjoy my holiday onboard, have some fun, relax and experience everything the cruise line has to 'offer' and promise. I have never even felt the need to review any of my cruises up untill now that I have exoerienced the Oosterdam, I simply cannot hold back the urge to tell people of my first experience with HAL as I am just that shocked at how low the customer service standards really are onboard. I'm so shocked because as I said, I have loved every single one of my cruises to date and this one was just so completely different, for once I was not happy onboard a ship and unfortunately regret having ever chosen to cruise with HAL. I certainly hope that this is not the new industry standard for the carnival corp and that all future cruises I take with their other lines are much more similar to my pre HAL cruises. Why HAL? I had my heart set in taking another cruise after my last one on Cunards QM2, I was looking for something not too expensive but still leaning towards the so called 'premium end ships' Oosterdam was new out to Australia, and was doing New Zealand and South Pacific cruises and had some great cheap fares available on suites (which is my usual type of room on a ship) so after comparing the prices of HAL up against Royal Caribbean and doing many comparisions of the Oosterdam and Radiance of the seas, I decided to take a chance with HAL (the cheaper fares). I had honestly never thought I would ever try a HAL ship but after reading reviews and really looking into what HAL 'claims' to offer, I decided that this so called 'premium' cruise line will not disapoint. I guess I believed that HAL was similar to Cunard in many respects but still offered their own original product/service. It did take me a while to settle on HAL but I finally did and booked it. I was excited as usual to have another cruise booked and looked forward to trying HAL. I will admit the oosterdam never really grabbed me as far as decor went from the photos I had seen but none the less, she was 'awful looking' to me so I was still excited! Externally he reminded me of cunards queen Victoria and queen Elizabeth! Embarkation. Firstly the ship was meant to depart from the sydney overseas terminal in circular quay but this was changed leading up to the trip to the wharf 5 dock near darling harbour. There is no fixed terminal building here, just a massive make shift tent. Naturally it had nothing to do with HAL but this 'terminal' is rubbish.. We started out cruise sitting on the ground in the middle of the terminal for 45mins waiting to be called to board. Hardly a classy start to our premium cruise. There were a lot of seats but there were a lot of passengers aswell. So the floor was our only spot to wait, as it was for many others. Once called, we went through customs etc fairly quickly and boarded the ship. For me this is where it all began unfortunately. Upon reaching the lobby immediately my partner and I were ignored by the lady who had seemed to be checking people's stateroom numbers and giving them directions. We smiled at her, had our tickets in hand and yet got nothing. So we continued on to find the lifts, we had done this before on other lines and have never had trouble finding our rooms ever so it was nothing new, but in the last we have always been greeted by someone friendly when we boarded. We walked to a suite all smiles and were happy to finally be onboard and ready to start our trip. We arrived at our cabin and were shocked to see our bags were already there! Fastest delivery ever! But were also shocked to see someone else's bags also in our room... My partner left the room an informed a steward, who came and took the wrong bags away. The Suite. The room was nicely appointed and spacious, but worn and tired looking. I was shocked as the ship had just had a 2 week dry dock 3 weeks prior and I thought things would have been repainted and fixed where needed. The carpet was old and the walls had scuffs on them, the bathroom had scratches and cracks also. This did not all really concern me though as I understood the ship was over 10 years old and I am realistic about these sorts of things but none the less, I found it odd that these were not taken care of in the recent dry docking. There was a bottle of champagne I had ordered sitting on the table in no ice bucket. I looked around the room for champagne glasses and found only one. I made a mental note to ask for and ice bucket and an extra glass for my partner when the room steward came to introduce himself. He never did... After about an hour or two, after we unpacked we called the front desk and asked to send up the steward so we could say hello etc. He eventually came and introduced himself. He was friendly I guess, but when I asked how he was? I was given a strange look and no response.. Perhaps no one ever asked him that before? He went and the glass and dropped it in the room whilst we went exploring, forgetting the ice bucket. We decided not to bother with the champagne that day. Upon searching around the room after our exploration of the ship I noticed our vouchers or the cigar package I purchased through HAL when booking, for our choice of 3 cigars. We made note to ask how to redem them. I also found the personalized stationary on the desk but unfortunately it was the name of the random bags that were in our room, not our names, so we threw the stationary away. One of our favorite perks of the suite was that it had a jacuzzi! I big plus for us as we enjoy having a nice jacuzzi bath in the night time. We soon discovered on the first night that it didn't work and made note to inform the frot desk the following morning, along with the cigar enquiry. The ship. It's no suprise that the oosterdam is some what 'out there' in its quirky interior decor and colours. She's very bold and in your face with bright colours, odd furniture and art and also seems to have a big oriental influence. You'll either love it or hate it. I must admit was skeptical as I had not found the photos of her interiors to be to my taste, I found them to look confusing and mish mash. An odd mix of modern meets classic meets artistic, with a big splash of red, yellow and blue paint.. But I was opened minded as these things normally look better in person, and thankfully it did, even on the walk to the room once we boarded, we remarked on how nice it all looked in person. But I will say that this was short lived for me personally as after a few days I got sick of it and found all the colours irritating. The ship to me, felt cramped in its lay out, I'm not used to such a small 'lobby or atrium' and I found that the darker tones used in there gave it a closed in, dark feel. I'm not really a fan of gold railing either. The public rooms were also disapointing to me in both layout and decor.. I found them cramped and tucked away up against the sides of the ship and they were either in your face style or classic or a mish mash of both.. Regardless of the room, they always seemed empty during the day or had a few people sleeping or reading in them or the room was being used for a lecture or art auction. The lounges and bars seemed to be at their peak before dinner, but even then, not very busy. Also note that in comparision to my other cruises, there seemed to be a lack of stewards working the public rooms to be honest usually their was only one steward or none. I recall thinking 'wow' when I would rarely see mutiple stewards. The casino area and sorrounding bars (sports & piano) seemed to be the busiest places at night, but I did not enjoy the piano or sports bar as I found them too small and shocking in decor and colour. That whole area seemed very noisy at night with noise from the casino, piano bar, sports bar and night club all combining.. The crows nest annoyed me... I really do not understand who thought up this concoction of a room? It's a bar, games area, coffee area, libary and computer room all in one with no dividing walls.. Talk about mish mash of very different spaces all in the one room. How can one enjoy a nice quiet book when you have noise from the bar/entertainment ontop of the large amounts of people lining up for coffee and standing around? To top it off, the room is located at the very top of the ship at the front and gets a lot of movement! I did not like it in this space at all.. Too busy and brings too many people wanting to do different things to the one room! The restaurant was ok looking, not very grand, but it was ok. I felt a lot of vibration though on the bottom level. The external decks of the ship were more classic than 'cruise ship' which is fine by me. Teak steamer deck chairs, decks and other furniture. Very clean and spacious (think QM2). There was an adults only pool aft (this was not policed and annoyed a lot of other guests) and there was a bar next to that with lots of tables and chairs. One side of the ship smoking and the other not. This worked very well in my opinion. We enjoyed having drinks on deck more than inside the public rooms. I will point out that overall I feel that the interior space has not been used to its full potential, if you look at other vista class ships eg queen Victoria, they have really opened up on some spaces and have a much lighter less 'claustrophobic' feel. I did not enjoy the vista lounge as unless you were center bottom level, many seats will struggle to see the stage fully, there is also pilars that block views aswell. The queens show room was a shocking shade of purple with yellow chairs, but I only ever say in there whilst waiting for a tender. Greenhouse spa was good, very similar to the one on QM2, the hydro pool area needs to attention as far as paint work goes, again, why was this not addressed in the dry docking? I also disliked how the jets would turn off after 10 minutes quick then required someone to get out of the pool and push a button to turn them back on. So don't plan on relaxing for any longer than 10 mins because you will have to get out and push that button. This also cause a lot of awkward looks amongst users of the pool as it was this whole 'well whose going to get out?' Look amongst everyone. Hardly relaxing. Food. Best I've ever had on any of my cruises. The quality was good, flavors nices, variety good. I had no real complaints for food although on the last mornings breakfast we were served moldy blackberries... Which I guess is pretty serious really. My only complaint in regards to food is that in the lido (where we ate most meals) they would start packing up food well before service had ended. People would be lined up for their dinner then next minute, stations were closed and people told to go to the other side of the lido to be served.. Very annoying. Passengers. A surprising mix, I was told to expect 100% 60+, but I noticed many middle aged couples, families with teenagers, young children and also young couples. A very good mix of all ages. Mainly Aussies and Americans. Ports. Due to rough weather the first two days, we had to miss our first port completely and spend a day at sea instead. This was very annoying as all the pools and external decks were closed for 3 days straight, the first 3 days that is, so we felt trapped and claustrophobic stuck inside that ship, we really wanted to be outside but couldn't. Ofcoarse the weather cannot be controlled. The other ports, lugganville, Vila, isle of pines & noumea were all great, weather great and the people super friendly. The ports really made the holiday for us, not the ship. Which is a first for me as the ship always has come first for me in the past, I have done the cruises to experience the ships, the ports are irrelevant. On Oosterdam though, I was glad to have days to be able to get off the ship infact I craved it, another surprisingly new cruise emotion for me. Service. Ok, so so far you may be still wondering why this cruise was my worst ever and we have finally reached the main reason why. Naturally I accept that no one is perfect, mistakes do happen in the real world, people need to be given a chance to resolve problems before you dismiss their abilities and above all that many of these people who work on these cruise ships are really not paid a lot of money. I understand and accept all that, but to me, for the money that many of these cruises cost, the promises made by the cruise lines through their websites and brochures and just general politeness and knowledge of customer service skills, I expect a certain level of customer service. The staff on Oosterdam failed this on all levels. As an overall we found the staff to be no where near the level or quality of customer service we have experienced on our previous cruises with other lines. Generally we found the staff, unfriendly, not happy, un willing and just simply couldn't be bothered. Most requests we met with a sigh or a look of grief. 'Hello', 'How are you?' Were almost never spoken. Acknowledgment was never given, no matter how many times you had dealt with that particular staff member. We found that you could sit at a bar for hours and still not be approached and be served. Once you had been served, they would hardly ever come back to ask if you wanted more? The bar service was slow and rude, the bar staff lacked in knowledge of the drinks. Bar staff were often busy talking to one another and ignoring guests waiting. Bar staff would disappear half way through making your drink with no explanation and then return some time later to finish making the drink.. The list just goes on and on. I get angry just thinking about it. I will give a few examples of our experiences with poor service we received. *the cigar package I mentioned we purchased. We took our vouchers to the front desk day 2 and asked how we redem our cigars. The staff there had no idea about what the package was (even though it explained it in the voucher) they had obviously never been informed that HAL was offering this package to guests. We were told to leave it with them and they would contact us as to how we get these cigars. Day 3 hadn't heard from anyone so we called front office again and were told they would contact us with an answer soon. Day 4, another trip to the front desk to ask about our cigars, we were then told that they will be delivered to our room, weird because the package stated in the voucher that we would have a choice of cigars, so how can they be delivered? Where's our choice?. Later that day we received a call from the front desk telling us to go to the shop and take the vouchers so we can choose our cigars. We were happy with this as we thought they had finally understood the package. Day 5 went to the shop, they wouldn't accept the voucher and had no idea about it. They made us wait while they contacted their boss who also had no idea about it who again made us wait while they contacted front desk who also had no idea about it now. (Back to square one), a trip to the front desk after that and we were back to 'they will be delivered to the stateroom' Day 6 nothing, day 7 nothing, day 8 went to the desk, very tired of the situation and wanting a refund was told to take the vouchers to the bar next to the aft pool as they sell cigars there at night and they can be smoked there. That suited us as we often drank at the bar in the night time anyway. We went there at night and explained that front desk said to choose our cigars there. The bar staff had no idea and seemed reluctant but let us choose 3 cigars after we insisted we were told to go there. FINALLY we had the cigars. (Never again would I bother with a package of any sort). So we then needed matches and a cutter to smoke the cigars at this bar, the bar had not matches, no lighter and not cutter.. But they did have a butter knife they kindly gave me to cut my cigar and a fellow passenger gave us a lighter.. So the oosterdam has a bar that turns into a semi cigar smoking area at night (at 9pm they put the cigars on display along with cognac) yet not lighters or cutters? The bar staff also had no ideas about the cigars and could make no suggestions. This whole experience was miscommunication at its best. *the jacuzzi in the room was not working, day 2 called the front desk to kindly ask someone to have a look at it as we wanted to use it. This was met with a sigh and we were told we would have to wait as maintainence was busy with other problems. Which was ok by us. They could have been nicer in their manner about it but either way we waited. 1hr later the steward came to the room and insisted that he fill the bath and try it.. We told him we did that and it did work, but he insisted. So 10 minutes of filling time lead to his conclusion 'yes it doesn't work' and that he would send a maintaince man up. He left the water in the bath and left the room. No one came that day. Day 3 we called to remind them that we needed it fixed. No one came. Day 4 we went to the desk to remind them and they were abit embarrassed and said someone will be there in half an hour. 2 hours later, no one came. Another call to the desk, they said he is coming now. 1hr later they called us to ask if he came, he had not! They said he was coming now. He arrived in 15 mins, filled the bath, concluded that it didn't work and fixed in in 5 minutes much to our relief. He also left the water in the bath which we emptied. The next day we had a visit from the head room steward who insisted on checking the bath for himself even though we told him it was fixed, he wanted to just make sure. He started filling the bath, got a call and left.. He didn't return so I stopped the running water and checked if the jacuzzi worked and left the water in awaiting his return. 1hr later he hadn't returned so I let the water out. He then returned and questioned why I let the water out to which I said I thought he wasn't coming back, he was annoyed but I insisted it worked and he left. FINALLY that was over. Untill day 6, we returned to the room one afternoon and foud that the water had been filled up and left whilst we were gone.. 2hrs went by and no one came to the room so we assumed the tested it again and yet again forgot to drain the water. We pushed the jacuzzi button just to make sure it worked still and it did not... We simply drained the water and never spoke of the jacuzzi again nor were ever asked about it. (We never got to use it) * the room steward was the worst we'd ever had, he would only ever make the bed (roughly) and change towels.. Nothing more. He would never do a general tidy of the room, he seemed scared to touch our things? But how was he sipping benches if he wouldn't lift things off them!? Even in the bathroom? He would leave things on the bed whilst he made it.. It was so strange. He was also all over the shop with times he would visit and never understood our usual dinner/lunch time. He also never brought me an ice bucket for our embarkation day champagne so it sat there on the desk the whole cruise, I left it there when we got off the ship... What a waste that was. I've always found room stewards to be very clever and helpful and understanding. Not this one. He also asked us to give him a good score on the feedback survey at the end. Good score for what? Doing the bare minimum? He was the first room steward I have ever not tipped. Why would I tip someone who did that bad a job that it meant I was cleaning the room myself everyday? Hardly relaxing. *every bar we sat at led to long waits to be served. We always had to flag them down to come over to us and to too us up. On all other cruises I have found the bar stewards to be amazing, after all, the company makes big money out of drink sales so isn't in their best interest to keep pushing drinks on people? We sat at one bar one night for 4hrs and only had two drinks.. Which we had to go ask for. Very different to the QM2 were the staff would be asking if you wanted another before you even finished your drink. Our regular poolside aft bar had the same barmen 'Red' every night, he was never friendly to us the whole cruise, every drink request was met with no response, he would just make the drink and ask for the card. Even after 10 nights of drinking at that one bar. He never acted as if he recognized us or even cared. Referring back to the Qm2, princess and royal Caribbean, their bar staff seemed to know you're name and life story by day 2!! Which made it very pleasant to feel familiar with the staff and to have recognition for your business there every night. *passing staff down hallways and never received a greeting or any form of communication. *lido buffet servers rude and stingy with servings. I must mention the first night were there were signs up everywhere stating that the crew will serve for the first 48hrs which is their policy in regards to hygiene. I picked up a plate from a pile as I lined up (I had seen others doing it) and was suddenly confronted by an angry waiter lady who yelled 'no!' At me and ripped the plate out of my hands.. And then placed the plate back on the pile! And said, 'don't pick the plates yourself because if hygiene!' I then said, 'but I've already touched that plate and now you have out it back for someone else!?' She gave me a dirty look and walked away.. Where was her brain!? Even though I am extremly clean person I had touched that plate, wouldn't you leave it with me rather than take it back and put it back for someone else!?! That defeats the whole purpose of the policy and shows me they don't even understand why they do it.. They just do it. * the aft pool is for adults only, they place a sign out every day stating this yet one silly lady always put her kids in the pool which annoyed many people! I don't know how many times I heard peppe complain to the nearest crew member that they want the children removed as it adults only pool. The staff member would always go up to the lady and she would always refuse to move her kids and the staff would back down. Many people who disapproved of this ladies children in the pool went to the front desk to complain and asked for security to make her move her children to the kids pool. She was never made to move. Even security backed down when they asked her and she fought it. One fellow passenger even stated to the front desk that 'if the signs (rules) are not being enforced, does that mean the smokers can just ignore the 'non smoking' signs and smoke where ever they please? He made a good point. Yet the staff said that 'no, rules are rules..' Clearly not the pool rules. *disembarktion day we were told we could stay in our rooms untill it was time for us to leave which was good as most ships make you wait in a lounge for ages. Oosterdam also offered in room breakfast on the disembarktion day which most other lines do not. So we were very happy with this. But!, little did we know the breakfast would arrive well before the time we selected (which happened most mornings) and then 5 minutes later they came back asking for the tray (we hadn't even eaten yet) I then got a fright when out of no where a crew member was on our balcony hosing it down and had opened all the dividers on our level.. Lucky we were dressed, as he could see right into our room without warning. We then had our room steward wanting to clean the room 1hr before our disembarktion time. So it turned out to be a not so restful morning before leaving the ship. *room service was a joke, they were always rude on the phone and we were always given a estimated waiting time of 45 mins to 1hr no matter what time of the night or day. I waited 45 mins one night for a cup of tea at 12am and ended up cancelling it because I wanted to go to sleep. They weren't happy about that. * everywhere I looked there were staff on break, which is fine.. But when you are waiting 20 mins to be served at a quiet bar with a lazy barmen, seeing a group of staff on their break chatting and laughing gets on your nerves. We always said more staff were in break than working at any one time. I also did not enjoy seeing the same uniformed (possibly officer?) sitting at the same place at most times that I was there drinking a beer at the aft bar with his blonde lady friend.. It was not a professional look to see large groups of staff eating, smoking and socializing in the passenger areas all the time, considering how uderstaffed all bars seemed all the time! Regardless of whether it was busy or quiet, the service was always slow. I understand on cruises things can go wrong that doesn't matter, what does matter is how problems are dealt with by staff. How quickly they resolve the issue and how they go about doing it is truly what matters. Oosterdams staff just failed in every respect in my opinion. I have never felt so much disgust towards the staff of a cruise ship and am shocked to even have these feelings as I have never felt this way on any of my previous cruises. I never felt valued, I never felt like my business was wanted or appreciated and I never felt like I was truly on a relaxing holiday. I neee felt good returning to the ship after a port day (again, a first for me). The HAL really need to address the problems with the customer service standards on Oosterdam and I hope the my fellow passengers were honest in the guest feedback forms so the company at least can see that there is a problem and at least try to address it. All in all, I will never travel HAL again. And unfortunately I will think twice now about any cruise I ever plan on booking ever again. I will be emailing HAL of my experience. Thank you for taking the time to read my review, I just hope that no one else has an experience as mentally draining as mine because that is not what cruising is all about! I will end on a good note and say that we did enjoy one crew member and only one. A man would be cleaning the aft passenger deck stair well every morning and night and he was so very friendly. Every day he would say hello and ask how we were and what we were up to and how was the port etc! He was the closest thing to the service we had always experienced on other cruise lines and we ended up giving him $20 on the last day and told him 'he was the friendliest crew member on the ship and we thought he was also the hardest working'. That made his day. HAL, why is this man cleaning stairs all day when he needs to be out and about dealing with passengers!?!?!? Never again HAL. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
I have sailed with HAL before and liked it. It should have been the same this time. For the first time in my life I was to see Total Solar Eclipse. I did not want to gamble with this once in a life opportunity by trying to observe from ... Read More
I have sailed with HAL before and liked it. It should have been the same this time. For the first time in my life I was to see Total Solar Eclipse. I did not want to gamble with this once in a life opportunity by trying to observe from land and be depended on weather. At least cruise ship can seek clear skies. I was not in it for the cruise. I have seen all the ports before. We were there for one thing only,"Eclipse". We had extra sea day because of port cancellation. On the day of Solar Eclipse was some cloud with some patches of blue sky. In the distance we could see blue sky all around and light reflecting in the sea. Ship continued at cruising speed under the cloud as eclipse started. Astronomers were in contact with bridge urging to move from under the cloud into clearing and to gain some speed. None was done. Bridge staff informed that they are following way points. Just as the totality started clouds thinned and we were able to observe totality for 1min 20sec through thin clouds and then clouds blocked our view again. Totality should have lasted 2m 36s We lost half of the totality and second diamond ring. Once totality was over we entered clear skies for the rest of a day. We have been sitting under the cloud for the entire totality with blue skies all around us. We could have as well missed the eclipse has it not been for the thinning cloud. So the very reason why we were on the cruise has been denied to us for no good reason. We have not seen totality in its totality. The ship has maintained its position under the cloud with blue skies all around. Some explanation by HAL need to be made why no effort was made to get us into a clear skies just few miles away. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
This was our third cruise, our first and last with Holland. The food was nothing special. The servers couldn't understand English enough to serve a small portion, not half a plate full. The stations left you standing in line for one ... Read More
This was our third cruise, our first and last with Holland. The food was nothing special. The servers couldn't understand English enough to serve a small portion, not half a plate full. The stations left you standing in line for one or two items at a different station while your other food got cold. The buffet stations (main, salad, pasta, Asian, dessert) and poolside grill were open at all different times except for a couple hours over the main meal times they were all open. One day we went on a 10:30 am excursion coming back on ship at 2:00 and our only lunch option was the pasta station with the same sauce selections they served every day. Most stations never changed items all week. They didn't keep up with keeping containers filled at the salad bar. We had pretty much the same desserts every night and nothing special there either. Hershey's syrup just like at home. The main dining room menu was not appealing. When we did eat there, the food wasn't very tasty. On the night they served lobster it was one small lobster tail they drizzled butter over. When we sailed on the Princess 5 years ago they served us nice sized tails and they served us as many as we wanted. The shrimp in the shrimp cocktail were small and warm and I would guess came from a can. They don't keep any cold soda (I asked). Its warm and they serve it on ice. By the time it gets cold, it's watered down. The juices weren't cold either. At the buffet, the water glasses were so small, we'd bring back 2 or 3 so we wouldn't have to go back during our meal. The hot tubs closed at 8:00 and 9:00 at night! We like to finish our night with a soak in the hot tub but that would mean an early dinner and no entertainment after. At Tracy Arm, we didn't get near the glacier even though there weren't hardly any icebergs. We also saw other cruise ships pass us during a storm. The other cruise ships that passed us were docked in Victoria but we arrived too late to even dock. We wonder if there was something wrong with our the ship. We did enjoy the live entertainment and the game shows. Our room steward kept our room tidy and left us cute towel animals, and chocolates every night. That was the only pampering we received on the ship. We never had the feeling that the staff cared if the passengers were pleased, needed anything or if they could do anything for us like we felt on our other cruises. This cruise definitely was not worth the money. I feel bad for first time cruisers who might think that this was a great cruise and cruise again with Holland not knowing they could have a better experience on another cruise line. I hope the cruise industry hasn't changed. If our next cruise is anythng like this one, we're done cruising. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Traveled with my girlfriend (her first cruise) a 7-day Alaska cruise, first 3 days at Sea - that is a long time with limited food, horrific customer service, not much to do, horrible entertainment, average at-best food, and a non-working ... Read More
Traveled with my girlfriend (her first cruise) a 7-day Alaska cruise, first 3 days at Sea - that is a long time with limited food, horrific customer service, not much to do, horrible entertainment, average at-best food, and a non-working toilet in our verandah suite. Alerted Guest relations about the inoperable toilet in our room and it took nearly 3 hours for a plumber to come, the staff stated it was for security reasons. The repaired the toilet - flushed one time and was inoperable again. Eventually after new parts being installed and several trips from guest relations staff and the plumber, on the 3rd day, our toilet was finally fully operable. Each time our toilet was serviced, the plumber would guarantee it was completely fixed, he would leave and leave a mess and the toilet would flush once then would be inoperable. Even prisoners have a basic right to utilize the restroom multiple times per day. We had to utilize the shipboard restrooms for the first 3 days! The food was average at-best, customer service was horrible with the exception of the room attendants/housekeeping - they were awesome. Activities were minimal, entertainment was horrible at best with the exception of the piano bar, the ship was old and outdated interior, the evening dining food was C-, undercooked fish (raw and cold in the middle) and steak ordered medium turned out weel done and had the floavor of beef jerkey. The pinnacle restaurant was delicious, but cost extra. The coffee bar was horrible with horrible service. The small library/magazine bar was nice. We felt ripped off and held hostage. Our last port was Victoria British Columbia and was let off late at 730PM and we had to be back at 11:30PM - rediculous! The Guest Relations supervisor sent us a bottle of wine for our toilet inconveniences - however, when traveling through Tracy Arm - there was a fork in the travel line and the Captain made an extremely hard left turn of the 900,000 ton ship and our bottle of Cabarnet Sauvignon slip off the counter top and broke open staining the floor. We immediately called and over an hour later, staff came to clean up, and placed a gigantic loud blower in our room for the nest 3 hours. So no toilet and a huge blower in our tiny room. lol Overall, I would NEVER book on Holland America! Horrific at best! Final Grade D- (the only thing that saved HAL from an F grade was the housekeeping staff of Topic and Threshna - they tried their best. Disembarkation was EXTREMELY disorganized and something was wrong with the gangway and we could not depart for an extra 1/2 hour. No one was directing guest, and it was a mass exodus. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Oosterdam is the twentieth ship that we have travelled on, therefore we feel qualified for the review that we are submitting for this ship. Additionally, we generally travel on voyages of two weeks' duration or longer, so have ... Read More
Oosterdam is the twentieth ship that we have travelled on, therefore we feel qualified for the review that we are submitting for this ship. Additionally, we generally travel on voyages of two weeks' duration or longer, so have substantial experience of what is and is not acceptable for paying passengers on a cruise line that claims such terms as "refined elegance", gracious service", "signature service style", "our 5-star world" (all quotations from the 2012 Holland America Voyages brochure). We had travelled on Volendam for a 17-day cruise from Sydney around New Zealand and return to Sydney over Christmas 2011. This was our first Holland America experience and we were thrilled at the quality of that voyage; Captain Pieter Bos and his team kept Volendam in absolute top condition, staff were always right on the money for first-class service and we had no reason to complain about the accommodation, food or service. It was primarily on the goodwill built-up on Volendam that we chose to use Holland America again for our next voyage. What a mistake. We travelled from Australia (Sydney) on 16 March on Qantas Flight QF11 to Los Angeles, staying there overnight and self-driving to San Diego the next morning to join Oosterdam. Qantas enroute to Los Angeles was excellent, the flight being on the A380 aircraft with very good creature-comforts and superb service by cabin crew. Accommodation at Los Angeles was the Airport Marriott (very well-priced and comfortable, close to freeway entrances), vehicle rental was from Hertz at the Marriott. A nice upgrade from Hertz - we booked a Dodge Caravan for ease of transporting luggage, instead provided with a Mercedes GL450 4WD at no extra cost. Porters at San Diego Cruise Terminal are as usual, excellent. They know what they're doing and they do it very efficiently and politely. On arrival at our cabin, the premises were nothing short of putrid. Past passengers' pubic hairs on the bathroom floor; more hair within the bed linen; soap scum layering the sink, soapdish and shower-tile surfaces; carpet lined with grit and filth; litter (potato-crisp packets) on the floor adjacent to and beneath the bed; mattress stinking and reeked of perspiration; sofa head covered in dust with some dead insects for good measure; sofa and cushions stained and obviously not correct for use in accommodation represented as "5-star"; makeup stains on the pillow-linen for the bed. We genuinely believe that the bed-linen had not been changed from the cabin's previous occupants, if not longer than that. The hair-dryer's casing was severely chipped and therefore a safety risk. No steward identified themselves to us as being responsible for our cabin. We approached a steward standing in the corridor (not doing much) near our cabin and asked him whether he was responsible for Cabin 5150, he said that he was and that seemed to be the end of the conversation. No enquiry as to the satisfaction of our accommodation, no greeting blurb as to the location of our lifeboat station, etcetera. I rang the front desk to advise that we wanted housekeeping management to view our accommodation. Shortly afterwards, Housekeeping Managers Tessa and Melanie arrived at the cabin and agreed that the accommodations were in fact filthy. They could provide no explanation for the condition that the cabin was presented to us in, but advised that it would be properly cleaned when we went for dinner. On return from our meal, the cabin appeared to have been thoroughly cleaned. Over the next number of days enroute to Hawaii, other events occurred - unfolding a napkin at the Lido Buffet Restaurant during a lunch, the napkin contained somebody's fresh nasal discharge - whoever folded the napkin must have seen this but chose to make the napkin available for use, complete with cutlery folded into it. Another lunchtime napkin in the Vista Dining Room contained some luxuriant black hair on another day. The bartender at the Ocean Bar one evening gave us a drink with somebody's fresh lipstick nicely decorating the glass's rim. The strip of corridor on Deck 2 between the Atrium and Queens Lounge stank strongly of vomit, all day every day, widely-commented on by many others. Then the air-conditioning unit over the bed in Cabin 5150 started spewing out black soot into the cabin - onto the bed and cabin-furniture, probably onto us during the night and being inhaled by us, too. Even after a claim of repair, the unit continued to do this until finally stopping. The Hawaiian ports were excellent, we made use of Dollar Car Rental for Hilo, Honolulu and Nawiliwili, Hertz for Lahaina. Lacklustre service at the Dollar depots, excellent service at Hertz. Tendering at Lahaina was fairly efficient and if you were prepared to start the day early, you got off early, too. From the Hawaiian Islands back to San Diego, grumbles amongst various passengers were becoming more bold, but whether or not anybody else made their grievances known to the Oosterdam management, we are unaware. Corridor-carpets and stairwells were always filthy, especially in the rearmost internal areas of the ship. At lunch in the Vista Dining Room on the second-last seaday enroute to San Diego, I ordered a Tuna Melt sandwich, clearly stipulating without bellpepper as I have a severe allergy to this and to pickles. The waiter repeated the order back, which was witnessed by three other Florida passengers with whom we were having lunch. I bit-into the sandwich, and it was loaded with bellpepper. The response from my insides was immediate, resulting in a dreadful mess at the table (you can guess the images). Lots of apologies from the restaurant staff at all levels, no explanation though as to how it had happened especially given that the order had been correctly-taken and supposedly then correctly relayed to the kitchen. What the checking mechanism is then for the meal's forwarding to the Dining Room, is unknown by me. The next day (final seaday), same time, I ordered a cheeseburger without pickles due to allergy. The cheeseburger arrived, on this occasion I checked the burger before biting it, and the burger was loaded with pickles. I informed the Head Waiter (same one as on the previous day with the bellpeppers) and he could not advise why this had now happened to me on consecutive days with advice of an allergy that would cause me to be seriously ill. At this table with us were four British passengers (one a retired judge). The judge ordered a meal which when arrived, he advised that it was inedible and insisted on a replacement. When the replacement meal arrived, the judge advised the Head Waiter that this meal was also inedible due to the way in which it had been prepared. The judge then gave-up on getting an edible meal in the Dining Room and they left to try to obtain edible food at the Terrace Grill. We cancelled our housekeeping tips that afternoon, and only left the Dining Room tips still standing due to some degree of loyalty to our Dinner (Fixed Seating) Waiters, who were relatively solid in their table-service to us each night. We wrote five positive-feedback compliments for various staff on Oosterdam, including the fabulous Glenn Gonsalves (personable and super-professional Manager of the Pinnacle Restaurant). As a comparison, we wrote over twenty compliment-cards for Volendam crew-members, struggled to find five to write about on Oosterdam. We received a letter from Oosterdam Hotel management thanking us for the compilment-cards we had written, and they included on the list a further four crew-members we had never heard of. The two Cruise Critics Meetings that were held were well-attended, and many, many thanks must go to our wonderful Cruise Critic Den Mother Norma from Arizona, who did all the pre-cruise organisation and correspondence with Holland America for the CC meetings. Special hellos from us also to Dobie Mom from San Diego and Cruznmonster from Chicago. We very much enjoyed the company of all the Critics who attended. It was a nice moment to sign the CC banner which is held aboard Oosterdam. Our dinner table (65) was an excellent collection of wonderful folk (family Dan, Diane and Shirley from San Diego, friends Kathleen and Dianne from Seattle). Disembarkation at San Diego was relatively efficient, again with those great porters who know their business so well. We hired a Chevrolet Tahoe truck from Hertz and kept this vehicle until departure from Los Angeles to Sydney on the night of 3 April. Holland America place a 'Let Us Know' slip in the cabin in each evening and advise that if you have any concerns, put it in writing. We have learned that this is lip-service only by Holland America, and in our experience on Oosterdam this 'Let Us Know' advice is lacking in sincerity and commitment. We wrote four advices to the Oosterdam management during this cruise, firstly for the completely unacceptable cabin-presentation, then for the deteriorating condition of the hygiene-critical items (napkin with nasal discharge, etcetera). then for having been served on consecutive days with food-ingredients that I had advised the restaurant would cause me serious illness with a potentiality for worse. On the first two occasions, we received short responses signed 'Thoughfully' from the Hotel Services Manager. After the incident which caused me to be violently ill in the Dining Room, I received a note saying my correspondence had been sent to Head Office in Seattle (no mention of 'Thoughtfully' against the signature this time); there was no acknowledgement even that something had happened to me. We submitted a further letter after I was served with an allergic-food on the consecutive day - we did not even receive an acknowledgement this time, even though we specifically asked for a response. Gutless or incompetent management? Make up your own mind. Any goodwill generated by Volendam on Holland America's behalf is well and truly gone now. We had intended to travel on Noordam in Europe this year, but not now. One older female passenger on this same Oosterdam voyage, when we advised of our intention to write this review for Cruise Critic, said "Tell 'em their ship stinks". Where does the 'buck stop' on Oosterdam - how could this ship vary so differently in a passenger-experience to Volendam? Whispers to us from some crew-members from various departments on Oosterdam were that this vessel is perhaps not a good example of Holland America. In our view, on this ship, the buck stops with the Hotel Services management (go as far up the tree of the ship's management as you wish). During the course of the voyage, we had never asked for any form of upgrade, only seeking a vacation that lived up to (or near enough to) the promises in the advertising. Oosterdam is relocating to Australia later in 2012. P&O Cruises in Australia, often commented for a rowdy passenger-demographic, at least provide very clean ships with good reliable service in recent years. Our tip to Australians who may be considering booking on Oosterdam, either as the opportunity to travel on a 'new' ship to Australian waters or due to previous good experiences on the excellently-run Volendam is DON'T. Instead give your fare to P&O or Royal Caribbean (who have also demonstrated a serious commitment in providing quality ships with responsible management to Australian passengers). This was a waste of vacation-time on a poorly-managed ship whose Hotel Management doesn't even have the courtesy to respond in writing after having actively solicited feedback (supposedly good or otherwise). Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
First of all, I should mention that I was raised and have had a lifetime of employment in the hospitality industry. A 5-star facility in fact, so my 'critical eye' is probably a bit more precise and picky than the average guest. ... Read More
First of all, I should mention that I was raised and have had a lifetime of employment in the hospitality industry. A 5-star facility in fact, so my 'critical eye' is probably a bit more precise and picky than the average guest. With that being said, this was our first cruise, EVER! We were so excited and after a couple of years or planning our Alaska trip, we decided to go with HAL over NCL & Princess. Mainly for the 'Quality of Excellence' they were promoting and looking at the dvd's & brochures. I studied the reviews regularly, and yes, there were a few terrible reviews, but there were equally as many excellent ones. So basically I threw them out, but made mental notes of each. One good would cancel out the bad, etc. Trying to compare apples to apples with all cruise lines, generally, the HAL reviews seemed consistently above average overall, with the exception of a frequent observation of the worn areas (corners, furniture, robes, tiles, carpet, dated colors, chipped plates & glasses, etc.) of the ship. I thought we could get by that, and we did, knowing the Oosterdam was scheduled for dry dock shortly after our cruise. It definitely needs an overhaul. The part that disappointed and offended me immediately was the attitude from the crew we experienced right from the start. From then on, it was an immediate daily downhill experience. For starters, embarkation was a nightmare. Long waits and the long lines were just the beginning of daily longs lines over the next week. Reading many CC reviews, we tried to get into the dining room instead of the Lido once on board because of the long buffet lines. We were refused and said it was only for returning passengers. Not a good start. After waiting in a long line, we couldn't find any seats available. Another negative. Finally there was an announcement made that all rooms were ready. Excited for a rest and hopefully a nice room, we fought the crowds to our room. Yet ANOTHER huge disappointment! It was filthy! Hair on bathroom floor, around sink, toilet & in tub! Gross! Carpet was stained and dirty, but worst of all, on main desk area, where there was a welcome packet, there were glass rings and sticky jelly and food stains. There was a think pattern of dirt/dust around the mirror and edge of the brochures, so after picking up my purse, yes, stains of old food now on it....I went to the bathroom to get a washcloth to wash off the desk. It was gross. While doing so, the dirt was so bad that I decided to wipe around the literature after removing it to do so. Well, I found a bunch of pocket change in the corner under the pamphlets left from previous guests! So at that point I stopped cleaning, took pics and immediately called the front desk, who finally sent the room steward up. I pointed out the filth, dirt, coins and said how disappointed we were in the cleanliness. He apologized and said it was his 'assistant' who had cleaned the room and that they didn't have enough time to turn over the cabin from the earlier departing guests of that day. And then added that the folks in our cabin before us had two small children and a baby and they were very messy, with cookies, crackers and crumbs everywhere, including the bed! I was starting to freak! He agreed to reclean it so we left. When we came back, the obvious dirt I had pointed out had been removed, however, the room stunk like a cheap hotel. The pillows also smelled terribly. Not the quality they had advertised. From that point on my optimistic attitude changed. We were literally looking for something positive on this ship. The first two days the weather was rough, many of the passengers were sick. The lines were very long EVERYWHERE! Passengers were all grumbling. By the 3rd day, there was a letter and an announcement that a flu virus was going around, and to stay in cabins if sick. Luckily, we didn't get sick, however, many folks were. Hand sanitizing was full on! However, since the buffets were being served, (not self serve) it made for more long lines! Not ONCE a dining pleasure at the Lido. The taco bar was never open once during the trip. The Terrace grill was only open the 2nd half of the trip, and of course, long, long lines. We did make it to the Pinnacle one night. Not worth the $25 upgrade (increased from $20 after we booked the trip). The food was good, but not any better than the dining room. Unfortunately, we couldn't get back in again as it was booked all week. We did eat in the dining room a few times that we could get a reservation. We had anytime seating but found out that was a bad choice as there was never any room without a reservation. We we had to eat in the Lido or get room service. We had some type of room service daily. Not once was it right, either on time or food selection. It became a joke towards the end of the week, wondering what we'd get an when. Food in the dining room I would have to say was exceptional. Excellent presentation, portions, flavor! WOW! A 5+ rating, however, the service, very lacking. Again, the attitude that we were inconveniencing THEM. Cold, resentful types, especially if you didn't order alcohol. Which, by the way we did regularly, but as soon as you said no, they lost their fake smiles. We made it to a couple of shows, lame, but the biggest complaint was the seating. No room. We either had to stand or go up to the balcony in the back for a seat. Noticed that no one was ever in the lounge with the band. Did some trivia and game show deals, but seating once again a problem. Made it to the casino a few times. We play alot in Vegas & Reno, and noticed the same slots we played in casinos were poor paybacks, so we stuck to the tables. Held our $$ together, but the dealers were mentally 'elsewhere'. We tried talking to them, but some of them had a convenient english problem. They seemed to speak amongst themselves frequently. Again, the guy getting drinks was friendly, until you turned him down. Started out going to the the first day at sea. I was there at 6:00 a.m., YES, that early, and only one treadmill available. There was a 30 minute limit, I wanted to run/work out for an hour. Not allowed. Maybe it was packed because it was raining so no one was outside?? Or maybe it was packed because EVERYTHING on this ship was crowded and jammed! Tried to get in a few more times, no luck, after that quit going. I had a whole week of work outs planned that never happened. Therefore, the first class gym and equipment get a ZERO rating since I could never get on it!! Finally, disembarkation was just as disappointing as embarkation, if not more! We were told to wait in our rooms until our 'color group' was called. The announcement from the cruise director, Dave, was to not arrive ONE MINUTE prior to our scheduled time. That would've been fine, except the room stewards came an and basically kicked us out! They started ripping up the bed and pulling towels, and we weren't even out of there! They didn't speak, weren't friendly, NOTHING! It was a joke. I asked if we could have a couple of minutes and then we'd vacate, but no response. We decided to go and wait in the lounge but of course there were no seats! Finally, when we got off the ship, we had to wait yet again for our luggage and a bus. And here was the FINAL straw.....after waiting on the bus for our driver to depart. He walked on the bus, and with broken english, out of breath and holding a handkerchief to his head, made an announcement that "There is NO ONE in this town that worked harder than him, the over worked bus driver, loading and unloading all of our HEAVY luggage, all by himself, and that if we appreciated him we would TIP him!!!" I am NOT KIDDING! Everyone on the buss was shocked and we all looked around at each other. Did that guy actually just say that? My husband actually commented stating that he must have a pair of 'brass ones' to blatantly state that. With the bus drivers theatrical performance, I decided that the tip he WAS getting was now a suggestion....GET ANOTHER JOB! Finally, with all that being said, I am not sure if we'll ever do another cruise again. We were told by other passengers that Princess had more people, therefore, more lines. However, we were also told by others that Princess was better organized, cleaner and the crew were much more pleasant. Throughout this trip, both an NCL ship and a Princess ship stopped in the same ports as we did. HAL promotes their quality, service and attention to detail as above all others. I did not find this at all. If anything, it is over rated, over priced and the crew is over worked. At best, it was a mediocre hotel room with a view. I do not recommend HAL unless your expectations are not too high. If you are looking for cleanliness, attention to detail and quality service, look elsewhere! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
If you are looking for a ship that has no ATM on board, no interactive capabilities on your cabin TV screen, very few activity and entertainment choices and not exceptionally clean cabins, then this is the cruise for you. If you enjoy ... Read More
If you are looking for a ship that has no ATM on board, no interactive capabilities on your cabin TV screen, very few activity and entertainment choices and not exceptionally clean cabins, then this is the cruise for you. If you enjoy total chaos while dining, waitstaff running around frantically, waiting a long time for food and receiving it warm when it should be hot or cold, and hearing your waiter give a different excuse each night as to why things didn't go well... this is your cruise. If you like your room service in 1 hour or not at all, never having your mini bar restocked, ordering bar services and not receiving it, being refused, yes refused, admittance to the dining room because the men in your party were not wearing a coat and tie on formal night, and if you enjoy relaxing to the point of sheer boredom, then, by all means, book on the Oosterdam. If, however, you are looking for a fun cruise with lots to do, enjoy a staff that is friendly and outgoing, then please book a different cruise ... on any other cruise line. This was my 20th cruise and by far the worst experience I've ever had. On the upside...they have a great screening room with good popcorn. So buh-bye Holland America. Never again. Happy travels, distrat Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
I am new to this site as a fellow passenger just told me about it on my last cruise.  However, I have taken other cruises and have greatly enjoyed those trips, especially the Alaska Inside Passage.  Unfortunately, my first posting on ... Read More
I am new to this site as a fellow passenger just told me about it on my last cruise.  However, I have taken other cruises and have greatly enjoyed those trips, especially the Alaska Inside Passage.  Unfortunately, my first posting on this site turns out to be negative.  My family and I enjoyed the ports of call but received horrible service from Holland America, specifically the MS Oosterdam front desk staff who were rude and unhelpful.  Our steward was wonderful and the dining experience in the Lido restaurant was positive.   Now for the negatives...We were assigned to a cabin that we discovered to be flooded upon entry.  The front desk refused to reassign us but agreed to send someone to address the problem.  That "someone" never showed up.  We walked in shoes over luggage mats on the floor for three days so as not to step in the disgusting mess.  Multiple calls had no effect on remedying the problem.  The floor finally dried on its own after a few days, but who knows what was left behind.  Other matters: Errors were made with our dinner reservations, the food served was not as listed on the menu (in the Vista Dining Room, the self-service Lido was fine), other passengers were allowed to make dinner reservations for the week when the policy is daily only, ice was served with a communal scoop with no gloves leaving us to wonder about health code violations, no onboard laundry machines, and many mistakes were made with cabin charges not only on our bill but those of many others with whom we spoke.  Holland America management was slow to respond and patronizingly condescending in their generic letter.In short, I highly recommend the area as Venice, the Greek Islands, Pompeii (shore excursion booked separately through Viator), and the Cinque Terre were wonderful.  The views from the cruise ship were great including passing Mt. Stromboli and watching it erupt at night.  My family and I will never travel with Holland America again and will be looking for a more customer-friendly cruise line.  Just wanted to warn others.  Now I know about this forum, I hope to be helped with my next cruise booking choice. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Three of us in 2 SS cabins. All three of us are Mariner Club members. All of us have at least 15 cruises under our belts. We are semi-retired and want value for money. We do not cruise in groups nor do we partake of many organized ... Read More
Three of us in 2 SS cabins. All three of us are Mariner Club members. All of us have at least 15 cruises under our belts. We are semi-retired and want value for money. We do not cruise in groups nor do we partake of many organized activities, preferring to fill our days as we see fit. We were advised by our travel agent two days prior to departure that the boarding would be pushed back to 3pm so the ship could be super cleaned following a norovirus outbreak. No other info was given nor could any more be gleaned. We arrived at the port about 2 pm to learn that boarding was at 4pm. The embarkation day was cold and wet and miserable in San Diego. Some effort to keep the passengers entertained was made but with the weather being so foul, few enjoyed the shuttles. San Diego is, to be sure, best enjoyed outdoors. After check in we were given a letter signed by the president of HAL that we could get a refund if we didn't want to take the trip or apply our payment to a future cruise. We had no idea what we were going to encounter so we decided to get on the ship and go. What a mistake - had we been told that our lives would be constrained to the point of nonsense and that decisions about our future would never be communicated to the passengers, we would have taken the money and rented a car and gone touring on our own! After a 4 hour wait, we finally got on the ship. Our cabin was great - big and spacious with lots of storage and a bathroom with two sinks and a jacuzzi tub and a separate shower (whose curtain got a bit personal from time to time!). We had none of the following: room service menu, tv remote, extra blankets, note pad, fruit, flowers, bible, nada. If it could be sanitized, it was. Things started showing up a few days after the cruise began but only in dribs and drabs. I know I sound like a whiny baby but common sense was in very short supply on this trip. I could cite endless contradictory examples but what's the point? The cabin itself was the only highlight of the trip. The crew was dead on its feet - going through the motions and struggling to get their regular, nevermind Code Red imposed, chores performed. None that I spoke to ever got off when we got to the various ports - they slept! Their fatigue was palatable and the strain made for few genuine smiles. The food was forgettable. I did not have a single meal I enjoyed. I could not believe this. The Pinnacle Grill was little better than the Lido. We opted for the open seating - twice we made reservations only to have to wait for folks who just walked up without them! Thereafter, we just walked up. We were seated with other couples three times. We prefer our own company, however. The entertainment was lame but that is all I expect on the big liners these days - Simon Cowell would have them booted from American Idol! Enthusiasm cannot overcome lack of talent in the long haul. Gone are the enrichment lecturers which we had always enjoyed. Shore excursion folks were, predictably, only interested in selling tours and none of the maps provided had anything but their shopping venues highlighted. As very experienced travellers, we always hire cars/drivers and this trip was no different. Got my only decent meal on shore. Did no shopping as we live close to Mexico and many of the goodies on offer are available in my town for less money! The trip was a grind and we were glad to be off the ship. Would I ever take another HAL trip? I don't know yet because I feel like the senior officers on the Oosterdam hid from the passengers and corporate HAL didn't get info to us in a timely fashion. I am sure they knew when they issued the late boarding notice that a refund would be offered. We will probably never know. I do know that I will never willing get on a ship which is under Code Red which is meant to keep us healthy but I believe it is driven by the lawyers, not the medical teams. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
I too experienced a horrible cruise on HAL Oosterdam. I truly understand that the GI illness is not completely their fault. However, the virus did in fact infect numerous people and was in fact encounter on ship. This said, I am sure many ... Read More
I too experienced a horrible cruise on HAL Oosterdam. I truly understand that the GI illness is not completely their fault. However, the virus did in fact infect numerous people and was in fact encounter on ship. This said, I am sure many people experienced a less than great trip as a result. The issue at hand for me is that HAL failed miserably in accommodating the sick and the families affect. While the Oosterdam staff conformed to CDC guidelines, they made few further efforts to make this issue palpable. Food line at all meals became unbearable, as guests were unable to serve themselves any longer. Staff was completely overwhelmed and could not accommodate nor serve guests timely or efficiently. Now guest were sick, short tempered, hungry, and impatient. The Oosterdam also closed many services that the guests came for and expected to enjoy, i.e., spa services, hot tubs, and steam rooms. Furthermore, HAL closed the children's play area and made not further attempt to accommodate recreation for children. This was exacerbated when the staff closed to family pool area for a number of hours to play a golf chipping game. As a result of the golf game taking over this pool, all children had to vacate the pool, were not allowed to take advantage of the Club HAL, the children play room, and were left with no place to play. While quarantine is understandable, what about guest comfort? Maid service was terminated and guests were left in their unkempt quarters. As many know, stateroom are generally small at best, even suites! Thus bed and bath linen was dirty, and rooms quickly became untidy and cramp. While the Oosterdam offer $100 a day in free room service, this hardly compensated for the incontinence of having complete families being confined to their rooms. Imagine food trays and dirty dishes piling up in and outside the room, sick loved ones, and short tempers being confined in an area under 200 sq ft. Here is a novel idea.......how about providing a refuge for an hour or so while maid services cleans your room and a hot meal is provided at a proper table???? This would allow guests to at least be confined to a clean living space. Illness on ships is not a new issue. One has the right to question why procedures are not taken to make guest more comfortable. After all, much of the time, this illness was incurred on the ship and the cruise line must own up to this. There are MANY resorts and hotels that have such procedures in place. A ship is a floating resort and MUST address this!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
I wanted to take this opportunity to write about our most recent cruise experience upon the ms Oosterdam November 7, 2004. This was a most disappointing cruise experience. I booked this cruise 7/20/04. I made a great effort in planning ... Read More
I wanted to take this opportunity to write about our most recent cruise experience upon the ms Oosterdam November 7, 2004. This was a most disappointing cruise experience. I booked this cruise 7/20/04. I made a great effort in planning this cruise so that my partner would have the most exciting experience of his life, Planning the details with the cruise consultant required a lot of my time and his for that matter, details from the fact that David loves bananas and requesting that they be available in our stateroom on a daily basis as part of the "fruit bowl that was to be in our cabin, Arranging a special spa treatment for us both, Asking that David's Birthday cake be delivered to the cabin and NOT in the dining room, because David embarrasses easily, planning excursions, just making sure we had the best Vacation we could on Holland America. Day one after arriving on board we made our way to the our stateroom because I wanted David to see the difference between our accommodations from our first Holland ship the Ryndam where we were guests in a B class stateroom and now we are in a SS class. He was really excited about being in the larger cabin, and had no idea that we would be having fresh fruit in the cabin for a healthy snack, there was no fruit available at that time, which didn't concern me at that time because we had entered the cabin before the announcement that the cabins were "officially ready". So with David excited we made our way back up to the Lido deck to have a first day cocktail and toast our Vacation! To our surprise once up on Lido Deck we saw Ramon the bartender from the Ryndam that gave us such a wonderful experience, we ordered our drinks and caught up with Ramon. Just until the announcement that cabins were ready. We made our way back to our cabin and to my surprise there were no flowers or fruit waiting for David. I eventually had to request fruit and flowers from our steward. Which we received late the next morning. Consisting of one banana, one apple one pear and one orange, very disappointing especially after telling the cruise consultant how much David liked his fruit. After unpacking I made our way up to the Spa to confirm and book our reservations for our message and facial experience that I had pre purchased. I scheduled it for 1:30pm the next day after our brief stay in Nassau. We also took a tour of the spa facilities and eventually signed up so that both of us could take advantage of unlimited use of the Hydro pool and sauna facilities. The $250.00 couples package. The next morning I went to the spa for a sauna and hydro pool treatment and found that the pool was filthy, grime on the chrome resting bars and rust looking substance floating in the water. Very disappointing. Upon arriving at the spa later that day for an afternoon of pampering, we were greeted at the front desk and shown to the "relaxation room. We received the massage but was told that they didn't have time to do the facials because they didn't know we were to receive one, and then were asked to make another appointment later in the week to receive the facial, needless to say I was disappointed because the whole idea of the pre package was to have a spa experience not a massage and facial, the staff at the spa made no apologies for the mix up, this was most disconcerting for me because once again my partner was disappointed. So now David and I both had two separate times for our facials His Thursday at 3:00pm mine Thursday at 4:00pm. Once again a couples experience was not to be had and once again no real concern was shown by any member of the staff. Later the appointments were changed again to accommodate both of us at the same time Saturday at 5pm. It was almost like "hey we have your money don't bother me" Dinner aboard ship that night was horrendous food that had a nice presentation but no flavor, Cakes delivered to our tables that were supposed to be delivered to our cabin, cream that had gone bad and curdled when poured into our coffee. I could go on and on but needless to say the food had no flavor, I remember one night I had the Peppered corned sirloin steak, but there was no taste or appearance of peppercorn. Our wine steward took our order for six bottles of wine to be served over several nights of the cruise, more often then not the wine had no ice bucket and was place on top of the table, I had to pour refills my self, I had requested that one bottle be delivered to our state room for consumption at our discretion, It was delivered but with no cork screw. St. Maarten was a disaster, we were schedule for a tour of the island but there were not enough buses available to take us at 12:45pm and when the time reached 1:30 and buses had not arrived we decided to go back to the ship with out our tour, when I mentioned to the tour staff how disappointed we were, she said well" I'm sorry" but we had to ask for a refund and when I mentioned that this was a busted port stop as far as we were concerned she just looked at us, with no real concern for our satisfaction, It was a crew member from Princess Cruise line suggesting that we take a water taxi over to the downtown section of Philipsburg. The next morning we had breakfast in the dining room and .well let me just say, I'm still waiting on my V8 Juice ... so disappointing. Enough was enough I decided to express my concerns to the Hotel Manager, when I made my way down to the front desk and asked to speak to the hotel manager. I was given excuses but when I insisted, out came the Guest Relations Manager, not who I asked to speak with, but I went ahead and expressed my concerns about the attitude and professionalism of the staff, the tasteless food aboard the ship, the cleanliness of the spa the fact that our cabin bath room smelled moldy, her response was "yea, yea, yea" very condescending. I mentioned to her how disappointed we were about the suite life thing that I though we were getting when I originally booked my cruise in July, shortly after that time Jeph informed me that that was only for S Class and Penthouse guests, and he apologized to me for the misunderstanding, we had talked about and how that Marketing should do a better job distinguishing suite life from ordinary suite amenities; she offered to give us access to the Neptune lounge, which we never received. And what really sent me over the edge was our day at Half Moon Cay. One of the biggest things for me personally on this vacation was my beach time, to my surprise Staff members allowed 4 service animals to run around unleashed and swim in the ocean. They showed no concern for this action I need not tell you that I didn't pay the money that I paid for this cruise so I could swim with DOGS. That's just plan out NASTY. I left the island about 20 minutes after I arrived. After returning to the ship I made my way down to the front desk and requested that all gratuities be removed from our bill and that we would be tipping those individuals that we felt were deserving, we were informed that we had the right to do this but the baker might not receive his tip! Just another example of how the staff aboard this vessel isn't interested in guest satisfaction. Acquaintances of ours that we made on board had purchased beverage cards for the island but were not able to use them until close to 12 noon because there were no beverages available. You don't throw a part then wait for your guest to arrive before going to the store for supplies. They mentioned to me that they got 3 cokes that afternoon, which made them some of the most expensive beverages on record almost $7.00 a can. Day 4 and 5 the fruit bowl was never refilled. So David had No fruit. The evening of day 6 the fruit bowl and flowers were removed from our stateroom and the mini bar was locked. I really felt that was a tacky thing. The last night in the dining room was just more of the same, after tipping our waiter and dinning room assistant, we ordered coffee I had an espresso and David ordered regular coffee. It took almost 10 minutes to receive our coffees and then the order was incorrect they had delivered 2 espressos, when I tried to correct David's order it took another 5 to 6 minutes and once again the cream was curdled. Needless to say I was ready to cancel all future travel with Holland America but David wanted me to give you guys a chance to make things right. I reported this to our cruise consultant from the airport in Dallas Texas, when I was able to finally get someone at Holland America on the phone, and he tried to find a resolution, I wrote him a letter which he said he would walk up to Guest relations department. That was on the 16th of November. As of this date I have not heard from Guest Relations. We previously cruised with Holland America because of the high standards that are set, unfortunately this was not the case on this cruise, and I not only cancelled our next cruise which was booked before this cruise, but have also stopped our plans for our European Vacation with Holland also. (This would have also included another couple.) Just to recap... The staff was unprofessional, the food was tasteless, the spa and bathroom in our cabin was not as clean as it should have been, Crew members passing the buck, and No one wants to take responsibility. This over all experience has really soured me on Holland America, What is supposed to be a five star Luxury Cruise Line to me was more like what we would receive on Carnival Cruise Line. Just thought you should know. Sincerely, Joseph Brecker   Read Less
Sail Date November 2004
My first comment is to state I will never sail on Holland America again!! The cruise we took was on Feb 8th to the Bahamas, St. Martin, Tortola. The cabin category was a Deluxe Verandah Suite. (Only 60 on this ship). Problems started ... Read More
My first comment is to state I will never sail on Holland America again!! The cruise we took was on Feb 8th to the Bahamas, St. Martin, Tortola. The cabin category was a Deluxe Verandah Suite. (Only 60 on this ship). Problems started from the beginning. I had made arrangements in advance to have a table for two at dinner near a window for 2nd seating. I had even called the corporate office a few days before to confirm this. When we got to our cabin it showed dining for 1st seating and the table was not near a window at all. We had to call up to have this changed and were not notified until after first seating had already started. The first night I got seasick and decided to have dinner in my cabin. I was told it would take a while. It took them over two hours to deliver dinner. When it arrived the plopped it down on the glass table on a tray. Nothing setup at all. No tablecloth nothing. The major problems we had with this cruise was service issues. We would order room service and either the item we ordered wouldn't show up or we would get something entirely different. This occurred at least four times. One time we had just ordered diet cokes. They delivered them still with the plastic wrap around the cans. No ice and no glasses. When we did get the items we wanted they would deliver them and plop them down on a tray. No tablecloths. The food in the lido restaurant was gross. At one point we had asked one of the people behind one of the buffet areas if they were open. Since most of the other areas were closed. He gave us a weird look as if to say "Yes I am open stupid". The food in the main restaurant was okay. Nothing special. The service at dinner was good. Although at lunch was a different story. We had asked for a table of two at lunch and we even stated it twice. We were seated at a table for six. The next time we asked the same thing to be seated only at a table for two. We were taken to a table of four with two people already seated. This time we did not just sit down. We went back and made them seat us at a table just for two. It wasn't busy as if they had no tables of two. Just another thing to piss us off. When these problems first started we had made complaints to the food/beverage manager. He did not respond to them until five days into the cruise. Then he was going to notify the Guest Relations manager but never did. We ended up placing a second complaint with her. Needless to say neither one of them did anything to resolve the issues. I will say that I have cruised many times before and would not recommend this cruise line to anyone!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2004
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

Find an Oosterdam Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click