14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
This was our 64th cruise on a variety of ships including 5 world cruises but the first and last on HAL. The weather was great, accommodations comfortable, some great ports for fun in the sun, embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. ... Read More
This was our 64th cruise on a variety of ships including 5 world cruises but the first and last on HAL. The weather was great, accommodations comfortable, some great ports for fun in the sun, embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. Our love for ballroom dancing turned into a huge disappointment. HAL has a reputation for great ballroom music and dancing. Not on this trip. "The Band" played jazz at every opportunity. They started with a nice dance tune and soon turned it into a jazz number. Certainly not conducive to ballroom dancing. "The Band" was used to back up stage shows thus leaving us without dance music. Several people, who came to dance, registered their disappointment with guest relations. They solved the issue by providing recorded music when "The Band" was not present. Unfortunately, the choice of music left something to be desired. How does one dance to Dixie, Little Brown Jug, and Battle Hymn of the Republic. Who was responsible for the choices? Certainly, it could not be the cruise director. The Lido (buffet) was used by most passengers for breakfast and lunch. Its layout is a disaster. There's no self-service, consequently congestion and lines. Even worse on a sea day when the ship is full. There are a number of locations with different types of breads. If you want yours toasted, you must take it to another station with only one toaster which doesn't work very well necessitating passing the bread through twice. If you like cream cheese with your lox and bagel, the lox is at one station, the bagel at another, and the cream cheese often limited to strawberry cream cheese (ugh). Tables were not cleared in a timely fashion. I never anticipated busing tables on my vacation in order to get a seat. Add to this all the little glitches like being billed for something in error, crew member unable to direct me to a specific location (lounge), dining room server bringing me what I did not order three times in one sitting, etc., etc. The decor is dark and depressing. Is that why the crew isn't bubbly and happy? The entire atmosphere is bland like the ice cream flavors available each day - vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. Obviously, HAL is a bad fit for us. Fortunately the weather was great for fun in the sun but we will not return on this cruise line. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2016
The Oosterdam was constantly being cleaned by staff BUT, it is in desperate need of a refurbishing (will be done in April) Rugs & furniture in room & public areas, many pool lounge chair pads need replacing. Should have been done ... Read More
The Oosterdam was constantly being cleaned by staff BUT, it is in desperate need of a refurbishing (will be done in April) Rugs & furniture in room & public areas, many pool lounge chair pads need replacing. Should have been done sooner! PRE-CRUISE HOTEL: Booked the Hampton Los Olas online several months in advance. $259 for 1 night hotel room, free parking for the duration of our cruise in a secure (key card entry) ramp garage, free breakfast buffet, 2 free drink coupons and transportation to cruise dock. (their package now only includes 7 days of free parking) EMBARKATION: Perfect! Took free shuttle from the Hampton Los Olas @ 9:45 AM, through security by 10:45, boarded @ 11:30. Very smooth! ROOM: - Our room was a Deluxe Verandah Oceanview on deck 5, not too deluxe - at only 143 square feet. Balcony was shorter because there was a life boat that was even with the balcony floor - wish we had been made aware of that. Very narrow hallway between closets & bathroom. We had to shut all closet doors in able to reach the bathroom. Bathroom was very small, with toilet being set at an angle (our knees were touching the tub) + Had a mechanical issue that was resolved quickly by our room steward and Cathy at the Front Desk. Plenty of storage, just not a lot of room to walk around. We used the stool at the desk for our dirty clothes, as the top lifts off. ENTERTAINMENT: + Loved: Brad Cummings (ventriloquist who is better than Jeff Dunham), Chris Michaels (Instrumentalist - including the turkey baster!), Matthew Dowden (magician), Jon Stetson (mentalist) , Aaron Bonk (juggler), the computer class with John & special Caribbean chef Freda Gore. - Not many activities, especially on sea days. We have done 17 cruises prior to this B2B and had never gone to one movie. On this cruise, due to lack of activities, we saw 11 movies. The theater has only 31 seats - too small. Found that the BB King venue in the Queen's Lounge too loud for such a small space. Of the 21 shows - 11 of them were HAL singer & dancers and other HAL music staff. DINING: Food was good to very good. We don't usually do any specialty dining, but part of our package from our travel agent included dinner at the Canaletto & Pinnacle. Both were terrific, perhaps a bit too much food! Most days there was a happy hour 4-5 PM in the Crow's Nest & Ocean's Bar. Buy a drink get 2nd one for $1.00. STAFF: Staff was great - friendly, engaging & helpful! Better than great - they off-set the shoddy appearance of the ship. We find if you ask them where they are from, find out about their family, call them by their name and if you don't treat them as servants - they will bend over backwards to make you happy. We had several staff calling us by our names after only a few days. Many thanks to our room stewards Sandy & Donny, Rana & Roni waiters in Lido & Vista, Alex & Mabel in Ocean's Bar. POOL: Not many lounge chairs open near the pool (too many chair hogs) Pool staff should put a card with time that towels/yellowed old paperback book/etc. are left on the chairs and remove them to the bar area after a certain time. I would suggest 1/2 hour. That would be enough time to run back to your cabin for sunscreen, or to get breakfast or lunch at the Lido. One day we sat at a nearby table for well over an hour and saw 12 chairs with towels and no occupants. DISEMBARKATION: Perfect! We did self-walk off at &:30 AM. You have to be able to take all your own luggage. SUGGESTIONS: HAL used to give out ship pens, lanyards, pin backs etc. for trivia & games - saw very little being given out. A cutback that you should re-instate - this is literally free advertising for you because anything with your name & logo is worth its weight in gold!! SUMMARY: Loved the staff (thanks Rana for showing me how to make paper flowers from a napkin) Roni for our daily dose of fresh ginger after dinner, the food (especially fries at the Dive-In & the ice cream cones @ the Lido buffet), the rugs in the elevators that told you what day it was. Loved the meals @ Canaletto's & Pinnacle Grill. Embarkation & disembarkation were terrific! Did not like the Deluxe Oceanview Balcony room - it was way, way too small @ 143 sq ft. Did not like the heavy use of HAL entertainment. Did not like the fact that Martinique was scheduled on a Sunday, when everything is shut down. HAL is no longer on our list of top 3 cruise lines. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
My husband & I have cruised at least 12 times prior to this on other cruise lines but decided for our 25th anniversary we would book with Holland America based upon their reputation as a 5 star experience. Boy did we ever make a ... Read More
My husband & I have cruised at least 12 times prior to this on other cruise lines but decided for our 25th anniversary we would book with Holland America based upon their reputation as a 5 star experience. Boy did we ever make a mistake. Not only did we spend more money for an interior cabin with Holland than we ever have for a balcony on competing lines, but we personally experienced the worst service, food, and hospitality we ever have onboard a cruise. Our overall opinion of the ship is she is well past her prime and overdue for upgrades in dry dock. The ship smells particularly on lower decks, the public restrooms smell of urine and we observed cracked and fogged windows. Service in the restaurants is lacking greatly and the food was minimal at best. Even service in the specialty steakhouse was bad although the food was better despite being served cold. The two best things other than our stateroom attendant, Asis, and he was fantastic, was the itinerary and the entertainment onboard. They have a club called BB King Blues Club with live music and it was wonderful. We contacted Holland about our "extremely disappointing anniversary celebration" with hopes they would offer some form of compensation and they responded by offering a 3 bottle wine package to try them again to show us their level of service. Shame on them for that service the first time but shame on me if I ever spend another penny with Holland America. In conclusion I would say HAL is not for us but we booked based upon positive reviews from other travelers. I will say we heard repeatedly this was not the typical HAL experience but we are just not willing to risk our money with them to have another awful experience. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We enjoyed our trip to the southern Caribbean in late December 2015 (Christmas trip) on the Oosterdam. But one bad experience spoiled it for us. My wife booked our cruise a long time in advance of the departure date and booked our ... Read More
We enjoyed our trip to the southern Caribbean in late December 2015 (Christmas trip) on the Oosterdam. But one bad experience spoiled it for us. My wife booked our cruise a long time in advance of the departure date and booked our excursions weeks in advance. We took our grandson on the Christmas cruise to expand his scuba diving experience and let him see some of the other countries and cultures. It all came to an end in Bonaire when Dive Friends Bonaire refused to allow me to dive with them because I am over the age of 65. Nearly all parts of our cruise were good-to-very good. Our stateroom was very good and plenty large enough for the three of us and our stewards took good care of the stateroom. We missed the Mariners onboard gathering and none of the staff knew anything about it. So much for that perk. We attended the Gala nights and had all of the pictures taken. My wife enjoys having photo documentation of our trips even if the price is outrageous. The food served was good and presented in a wonderful way and there was a good selection every night. If you want to spend an hour to two hours dining then take advantage of the regular dining assignments. We did enjoy the Dive-in Dogs after a good shore excursion even though diet wise they are not the best thing to eat, but they were good. Otherwise the Lido buffet served a verity of foods and more time could be spent on the other shipboard amenities. We did not take advantage of many of the shipboard amenities such as facials, massages, saunas and such. Not much for laying around a pool with a lot of noise and roasting like a pig on a spit. I wasn't crazy about the ten kids that spent their day running and jumping in the pool and then running to the hot tub and jumping in and splashing all of the water out. No running, jumping, or diving notices posted everywhere and no one to control it. A highlight was the evening dining. Our table stewards were great. We had fun and they interacted with us and made the meal something to look forward to. My hat's off to Putu and Komang. That brings me to getting on and off the ship. The embarkation went much better than the last HAL cruise. Maybe because we stayed at a Hampton Inn & Suites that provided a shuttle to and from the cruise ship and kept our vehicle at the Inn while we were on the cruise at a very reasonable cost. Getting off of the ship for excursions was a nightmare. No organization at all, just a bunch of people pushing and shoving and hollering at fellow passengers. It is hard for me to understand how people can act this way. One port was tendered in very choppy seas (tender would move up and down 3-4 feet) which created a very dangerous condition especially for the older clientele that had canes or walkers or had physical handicaps. The debarkation went really smooth. We had time to get up enjoy a breakfast and then wait for our turn to get off. By 10:30 to 11:00 we had picked our vehicle and were on the road home. We enjoyed the stops we made and it gave us the opportunity to have the grandson see different countries and cultures. Half Moon Cay is ho-hum. Few things to do if you don't want to just lay in the sun. They even removed the parasailing which the grandson was looking forward to. So we walked and talked. We visited Grand Turks, Samana, D.R., Bonaire, Curacao, and Aruba. Grand Turks, Curacao, and Aruba were wonderful. While the grandson and I scuba dived my wife enjoyed island tours. She saw some good things and learned a few things. A highlight was the slave housing and its history in Curacao. Samana, D.R. was not a good shore excursion mostly due to the weather conditions. But we survived it even though the dive operation was not up to standards and we cut our dive short. The lunch served on shore was very good with the fresh caught fish served hot. Bonaire was a big disappointment. This is where we made our big mistake. As I stated my wife set up the cruise and made the excursions weeks in advance. When scheduling the scuba diving in Bonaire with Dive Friends Bonaire she did not see the "age" limits. Anyone over 65 can't dive with Dive Friends Bonaire if they are on the Holland America Line ship. I am 67 years old and have no medical problems, am physically fit for my age, have no disabilities, and take no medications at all. Yet, I was not allowed to dive because I am over 65. Somehow Holland America Lines is partnered with Dive Friends Bonaire and together they acknowledge and support age discrimination. I still don't understand this. We had five ports scheduled for scuba diving, with three of them booked through the ship (Gran Turks, Bonaire, and Aruba). We were allowed to dive with the Gran Turks and Aruba ship excursions but Dive Friends Bonaire had the age limit. Had we known this prior to booking we would not have booked with Holland America or Dive Friends Bonaire. If we had not booked through Holland America I could have dove with Dive Friends Bonaire. And this makes no sense to me. The Oosterdam was full of elderly and disabled people. Some with wheelchairs, carts, walkers, and canes. So why would Holland America Lines partner with Dive Friends Bonaire and discriminate based on age? Based on this experience we cancelled our future cruises with Holland America Lines and will take our next cruises on another cruise line. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
This was our 7th cruise, 4th on HAL, and 3rd on the Oosterdam. Our first cruise was on Carnival in 1987, and that experience was so bad it took me 23 years to convince my wife to try another cruise. When we started cursing again it was ... Read More
This was our 7th cruise, 4th on HAL, and 3rd on the Oosterdam. Our first cruise was on Carnival in 1987, and that experience was so bad it took me 23 years to convince my wife to try another cruise. When we started cursing again it was on the Oosterdam, and my wife liked it so much we took annual trips. All were great until this trip. The Oosterdam and Holland American have cheapened their product. Cost cutting can be seen everywhere. The room stewards, who were excellent, were very over worked. On earlier trips they had about 20 rooms to service, on this trip they had over 30 rooms. HAL always used to brag about their beds, which were always very comfortable, now the are hard as a brick, and when we asked about an egg crate pad, our stewards didn't know what we were talking about. The food had always been excellent on our cruises, and the quantities ample. The menu in the Vista dining room was very large with 5 or 6 items that were offered daily, and good selection of daily specials. The new menu was only 2 pages, with only 3 items offered daily, and only 4 specials. Very few seafood items, and the amount of food on the plate would leave a bird hungry. The special one night was surf and turf, and my wife really likes lobster so she was looking forward to dinner. When it arrived, the steak on each plate was the size of a hockey puck, but only 1/3 in thick, and the lobster on my wife's plate was only a shell. The waiter kept trying to get something out of the shell, until he finally had to admit the there wasn't anything there. They did go back to the kitchen and came back with a small lobster tail with meat in the shell. The Lido buffet was better, but again they used to have a great dutch ham at breakfast, and now they have a much lesser quality ham. Also the Pinnacle Stake house was excellent, and the food quality and quantity was great. The cost cutting was also seen there as they no longer offer lobster on their menu. What is a steak house without lobster? Another area of cost cutting was entertainment. They used to have great entertainment in the Crows nest, and all the other lounges. Now only a piano bar, a classical duo, and a dance band, which doubled up as the band in the Vista lounge show room. One plus entertainment was the BB King blues band. They were great, and we saw them every evening, and every show was different. In summary, I think that HAL, which is owned by Carnival, but until this trip was on a much higher level than Carnival Cruises, has devalued its image and is falling to Carnival"s level, yet they are still charging HAL prices. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
This our my 3rd cruise. We've gone with 2 other cruise lines in the past and loved every minute. Sadly I can't say the same about the Oosterdam. Let me start by saying our stateroom was wonderful and the crew was wonderful. ... Read More
This our my 3rd cruise. We've gone with 2 other cruise lines in the past and loved every minute. Sadly I can't say the same about the Oosterdam. Let me start by saying our stateroom was wonderful and the crew was wonderful. The lay out of the ship was not the best. The ship was lacking in entertainment. Nowhere you could really sit outside without being in the weather. Food was definitely a step down from our from our previous experiences. Quite frankly we were bored. My husband and I are in our late 50s early 60s, perhaps if we were older we would have enjoyed the ship more but sadly this experience has put us off HAL and wouldn't consider cruising with them in the future. I cringe to think that a friend is on the ship right now doing the Panama Canal for 21 days. I hope she and her husband survive the boredom. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
The inhospitable environment created by the leadership of the Oosterdam ruined our Holland America cruise experience! We were sold a drink package that was difficult to use. DO NOT buy the Signature Drink Package. This ship only ... Read More
The inhospitable environment created by the leadership of the Oosterdam ruined our Holland America cruise experience! We were sold a drink package that was difficult to use. DO NOT buy the Signature Drink Package. This ship only accommodates people that rise early and are in bed by 11pm. Although every night the bars we were socializing in still had patrons, the staff were instructed to close. (First night the last bar on the ship closed at 12:15am; there were still 10-15 people in the lounge). My husband and I met interesting people from all over the world and had every evening cut short because the managers instructed their staff to close. I do not go to bed at midnight. Nowhere in the WORLD do bars close at that time. I lodged numerous complaints, finally meeting with the food and beverage manager to no satisfaction. We were left unattended in the lounges every night and felt vulnerable to other (sketchy) guests who were also left unattended. A reasonable concession would have been to keep a common area open and staffed. Perhaps even a coffee shop for those who choose not to retire early. Breakfast was shut down early some days and when we arrived at 10 am the food was not replenished. They started pulling down breakfast before the posted close of 10:30 am. Our state room was run down and inadequately furnished. It was located on Floor 1 above the anchor which woke us early each morning (metal on metal for about 2 hours) while we docked. We could also hear the music from crew parties somewhere below us late at night. The serving staff were friendly and hospitable. In contrast, the front office and leadership we encountered were accusatory (how it is our fault that our room key quits working almost EVERY day? NO! It is not next to my cell phone or any magnets!) They were rude, unaccommodating, and condescending. My husband and I will NEVER cruise Holland America again. This is NOT a 5* cruise. It is not enough to say you have 5* amenities, you actually have to provide them. I have never felt so disrespected on a vacation, we felt like we were cattle being herded. In contrast, the serving staff (bartenders, hostess, & wait staff) were really excellent! Special mention should go to Mabel, TJ, Davis, Achmad, and Joel they absolutely made every attempt to create a wonderful experience for our vacation. The bartender at the sports bar in the evenings was difficult and did not accommodate us on numerous occasions (likely because I challenged him on shutting down so early on the first night). Our issue was more with the officers, they were very defensive, inhospitable, and disrespectful. I walked onto the deck with a drink the first day and I was abruptly told to go inside (other patrons had drinks but my group was targeted; I’m sure my age had nothing to do with it!). My husband set our food tray in the hallway after we finished breakfast one day (like you would do in any hotel). An officer knocked on our door the next morning to explain that this was unacceptable. My husband apologized for not knowing the policy to which she abruptly lectured him reiterating over and over that this was not acceptable. A kind, simple directive would have been suffice and made us feel like value guests instead of criminals being interrogated. It was a food tray, relax! The front desk staff were adequate at answering questions but if we were to complain the dialogue shifted to disinterested and dismissive. They were not interested in fielding complaints and concerns. We gave them every opportunity to rectify these issues while we were on the ship; instead they chose to disregard our concerns. I think it’s interesting that I received the request for feedback via email before I even returned home. It has been 1 week since I submitted the feedback survey yet, I have heard nothing. Holland America do you really care about feedback? Listen to your guests when we are on the actual ship! Our wonderful experiences on Royal Caribbean and Disney proved that Holland America is only capable of catering to one demographic. If you are under the age of 65, you will not be accommodated; instead treated with discrimination and suspicion. For the record I am 38, and my husband is 42, we have a lot of cruising ahead of us. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
What a huge disappointment this cruise has been. We usually cruise with Norwegian and we made a mistake by trying Holland. I would rate this ship with a low level grade similar to a comfort inn. There are too many really good cruise ships ... Read More
What a huge disappointment this cruise has been. We usually cruise with Norwegian and we made a mistake by trying Holland. I would rate this ship with a low level grade similar to a comfort inn. There are too many really good cruise ships to waste your money on this one. We are currently cruising Alaska, but even the itinerary can't make up for the low grade offerings of this ship. Food: Horrible. The buffet had the same unappetizing selections every day. The bowls or trays of food are dried out on the edges and mostly empty, as if the food was prepared over a week ago. Their "cheese trays" have a few small pieces of cheese left over from WHAT?? I just picker a hair off of a piece of cheese. The eggs are runny and oozing some kind of liquid. The omelets are ok, but again, the vegetables to fill the omelets are limited and the containers are always empty. The main dining room is slightly better, but still only below average food. The staff were very nice, but could not get an order correct. They keep brining us dinners that we did not order, rather than what we asked for. Order a glass of wine and you probably won't get it at all. As another passenger noted, you were not allowed to order anything that was not on the menu, which had limited selections and always the same day after day. On good cruise ships, you can order off the menu and they are glad to accommodate you. There is not such thing as good beef, lobster or any other food you normally expect on a ship. If you are use to fast food joints or chili's type of menus, you'll be fine. Otherwise, run as fast as you can to another cruise line. The Pinnacle Grill was good, but of course you had to pay extra per person for the "privilege" of dining there. What is customary on good ships, is an added cost on this ship even though we paid over $3k for this cruise. Appalling. Our cabin was clean and the stewards were fine. The ship needs upgrading as it is old and smelly. The corridors smell of mold and must. There is a constant garbage smell on the promenade deck and at the pool side bar. The odor is so bad, you can't stand in these two areas. The staff doesn't seem to notice. Young people should not take this cruise. It is a senior ship and the itinerary is appropriate for that age group. The "shows" were tacky and comparable to a high school glee club. If you are looking for fun & entertainment, this is not the ship for you. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
We have been on several Holland American cruises and I must say this was the worst ever. The room stewards were great as was the captain but the cruise director and the chef left a lot to be desired. First I will take on the food. ... Read More
We have been on several Holland American cruises and I must say this was the worst ever. The room stewards were great as was the captain but the cruise director and the chef left a lot to be desired. First I will take on the food. We always enjoy going to the dining room each evening but found the food selection was awful. There are 9 of us in our party and none of use were impressed with the selection. On all the other ships, if you did not care for the entrees of the night, you could ALWAYS get a steak or chicken or a Caesar salad, but not on this ship. And who ever heard of having the surf and turf night (formal night) on a night we are in port and have not left yet? Never heard of such a thing. We were all so disappointed in the selection of foods we only went to the dining room twice. I must say, the Pinnacle Grill was wonderful the night we went and tried to go several other times but they were booked. No wonder, no one liked the food in the dining room or lido. The cruise director was non existent except for a message on the intercom and to introduce the acts at night. Horrible. I will have to think about going on Holland America again to Alaska and I always suggest HA for friends who are going to Alaska. Will not do that again. If this would have been our first cruise, I would never go again but since we have several to compare it to, I must say, it was a disappointment for the money we paid. All 9 of us were shocked at the lack of anything. The captain was the only saving factor, he was wonderful and let us know when things were happening or when wildlife was spotted. He also opened the bows to we could go there. Thanks captain. it was appreciated. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
Where to start. Embarkation - Pouring rain when we got to the port. No cover we were soaked through dropping our bags. Then watched our bags moved to the trollies which were also without cover, by the time we got them they were soaked ... Read More
Where to start. Embarkation - Pouring rain when we got to the port. No cover we were soaked through dropping our bags. Then watched our bags moved to the trollies which were also without cover, by the time we got them they were soaked as well. Great Start. HAL need to remember that not all their passengers are from the US. Everything on board was aimed at a US market. The quizzes, the food, the trivia, the talks and even the entertainment. The food was extremely poor. Three nights in a row we retreated to our room for a room service steak sandwich as we could find nothing edible (and believe me we are not the fussy type). The buffet was gazetted as closing at 8pm (early) however on 3 occasions we went to eat at 7.30 to find them already closed. You could eat reheated pizza or undercooked pasta whenever you liked. Coffee machines were out of order constantly or if they were working they were often out of water. The staff did the best they could and were friendly and helpful. Entertainment - With the exception of Paul McD in the Piano Lounge (He was brilliant) the other guests were poor. (If they were busking I would have kept my hand in my pocket and kept walking) The staff shows were good but why at 11pm. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
Before I begin, I want to make it clear that Holland America is an above average cruise company which I have travelled with before without incident and with all my expectations being met or exceeded. Normally we travel with Cunard. We ... Read More
Before I begin, I want to make it clear that Holland America is an above average cruise company which I have travelled with before without incident and with all my expectations being met or exceeded. Normally we travel with Cunard. We booked a Neptune class suite on the Oosterdam for the Sydney to Auckland cruise last year expecting a great holiday on fine ship with a premium stateroom. We didn't quite get what we paid for or hoped for. The Oosterdam needs some TLC inside. The threadbare furniture in some of the lounges should be replaced; the decor generally had a "tired" look to it. Our stateroom on deck 7 was no exception. Upon embarkation I noticed right away that the shower stall had been damaged some time in the past and had been repaired in the past with strips of masking tape which were beginning to peel away. Is the part of the "Signature of Excellence" the line advertises? If the damage had occurred with the past week then I can accept a temporary fix. The masking tape appeared to be HAL's permanent solution. This speaks volumes about HAL's current approach to maintenance and after spending thousands of dollars on a premium stateroom decorated with hardware store tape, I was less than impressed. However the staff were great. Since our last HAL cruise the quality of food offered throughout the ship has clearly declined; but that is another story. As if the add a punctuation point to the tape issue, the toilet functioned poorly during the cruise. That was a first. I'm sure they will eventually repair the shower, but I don't intend to wait and see. HAL needs to get passionate about routine maintenance of its older ships. Its very competitive out there especially in the luxury segment where more is expected and more must be offered. Next time its either back to Cunard or maybe Crystal. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
This was meant to be a special trip but it did not turn out that way, nothing like the 'excellence' promised. The combination of the ship condition and some aspects being well below the marketing statements was disappointing and ... Read More
This was meant to be a special trip but it did not turn out that way, nothing like the 'excellence' promised. The combination of the ship condition and some aspects being well below the marketing statements was disappointing and only offset by good staff service and a great itinerary. The entertainment was below par, all overstated show and poor quality entertainers. Food in the Lido buffet was ordinary and not hot. We did not expect all vegetables to contain peppers or the fruit selection to be so limited. The tea and coffee was poor and compounded by no fresh milk (only long life) for the last week of the cruise. We resorted to buying our own on shore excursions. The other restaurants were better but some charged extra. Good quality tea and coffee may be an Australian preference but we also found Americans who said the same. We did our own excursions as we the HAL options were expensive and we prefer our flexibility without a crowd. Overall this was not as good as our Norwegian Cruise Line experiences and more expensive. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
Unlike our experience with a 30 day cruise on HAL's Statendam to Hawaii and French Polynesia in 2014, this vessel, its physical resources, staff and Master were uniformly disappointing. We are fans of smaller vessels but found the ... Read More
Unlike our experience with a 30 day cruise on HAL's Statendam to Hawaii and French Polynesia in 2014, this vessel, its physical resources, staff and Master were uniformly disappointing. We are fans of smaller vessels but found the 1200 passengers Statendam to be adequately fitted with sufficient comfortable deck facilities for both inside and outside activities. The 1900+ passengers Oosterdam was severely constrained in both regimes. It consistently lacked adequate deck space for relaxation, especially covered areas on the open decks. The Lido cafeteria was always crowded and messy during peak feeding times. The explorer lounge, espresso bar, library, and crows nest were squeezed together in a hot, crowded, and uncomfortable public area forward on the observation deck. A lot of the furniture in this area was worn and threadbare. The Lido deck amidships and its pool and related facilities were essentially limited to the use of several hundred children and their families who were booked on the fist leg (14 days) of this voyage. We were certainly not expecting a Disney cruise and would have not booked this trip if we knew what HAL had in store for us. Forthright communication from HAL's in-house agent would have been appreciated. Many Lido cafeteria staff had difficulty understanding English, so when I asked for one (1) sausage patty at breakfast I would get two or more. Or I would be given bacon or sausage links. I was never sure what was going through their minds as they were obviously under stress given the crowds. I eventually just accepted whatever they put on the plate. Others preparing a sandwich would object to my order - acting with insulting disbelief when I requested just a roll with meat and cheese. I got the message that I was not adding the proper amount of filler and was consuming too much of a valuable cold-cut (in the single sandwich that comprised my lunch.) There was an appalling lack of water glasses. Literally the ship did not have enough water glasses in the cafeteria, ever. We were expected to drink from tiny juice glasses designed to limit consumption. It was a rare occasion when tea spoons were available. And, I know this is an American style complaint, ice service was poor. When consumables or cutlery or glasses were gone did the house management place a priority on replenishment - even if requested? Uniformly no. And the self service areas - beverages and salads especially were sloppy and disheveled with spilled fluids and food on counters and floors. Food was inadequately labeled. An attempt was made with some mains but the little tags became quickly unorganized. Other foodstuffs, especially salads were never labeled. When boxed milk was not available the staff would pour milk products into glasses that they placed in the refrigerated case, but they were never labeled and I had no confidence in the answer when I asked what they were. I found it odd that in the main dining room that we were never once asked if we would like to conclude our dinner with a cup of coffee or tea. I concluded this was probably some corporate optimization to the service script. The master delivered us safely to our various destinations and for that I am grateful. But the comfort of the passengers is clearly a consideration secondary to the economic objectives of HAL and its parent organization. For example, the return trip from Pine Island, New Caledonia to Sydney sailed through some extreme seas during the final 24 hours of the voyage. Many if not most passengers suffered sea sickness, with crew valiantly scrubbing, neutralizing, and vacuuming vomit all night long. I watched the bridge's navigation console on the cabin TV and the master never varied as the vessel strained at 20 knots during the entire return voyage. What I and probably another thousand passengers would have praised might have been a somewhat slower passage. But HAL has its economic objectives and the master is surely evaluated in light of meeting those objectives first with passenger comfort given somewhat less weight. By the way once the ship had completed its disembarkation/embarkation cycle the next day in Sydney, the master announced that Oosterdam's sailing would be delayed 12 hours until the following morning due to the sea conditions previously described. And of course passengers would not be able to disembark to enjoy an evening in Sydney. I mention that return voyage to give some perspective to the master's decision making process regarding the aborted landing of passengers a week later at Akaroa NZ. The vessel was anchored in the harbor and more than a thousand passengers had tendered to shore by 11am. My wife and I had been waiting for a tender for nearly an hour at the staging area when the cruise director announced that outbound tenders would be temporarily suspended due to sea conditions in the harbor - chop. We retreated to the aft Lido deck to await resumption of the service. Perhaps a half hour later the announcement came (from the cruise director) that tenders to shore would continue. (Obviously, with more than a thousand passengers ashore return tenders never stopped.) So we and about 150 other passengers queued at the gangway. No more than two tenders worth of passengers still wanting to head to shore. The next wait was not long, perhaps 10 or 15 minutes, when the Master announced on the PA that he had previously ordered all further shore leave canceled but apparently this order had not been communicated to the hotel staff and the cruise director so our planned day ashore never occurred. Personally I found the two hours of waiting, confusion, and not knowing what was going on to be a far worse outcome than a 25 minute tender ride in a strong chop. A while later on the PA the Master told us some reasons for his action. He reported there was a weather front approaching and it portended potentially serious local effects. Further he had communicated with the Captain of the other cruise ship in the harbor who advised him of similar circumstances a year ago where some of his passengers were stranded ashore. I imagine the cost to HAL if hundreds of passengers had to be bused to the next port and lodged and fed was starkly featured in the Master's calculating mind. Or the penalties he would suffer even if the ship's departure had to be delayed. Of course the Master had already allowed more than a thousand passengers to head to shore given the existing conditions and weather forecast. If this port is subject to such mercurial hazards why is it even on HAL's itinerary? Probably because the usual outcome is what occurred this day - the harbor waters became calm for the rest of the afternoon. A beautiful day ashore was had by many and further frustration by others. Oh and that weather front? It did arrive - late apparently, and spun the ship around its anchorage to a new direction. I am not questioning the Master's decisions - he is responsible for all lives aboard and HAL's financial investment. But I am questioning HAL's choice of ports of call, the Oosterdam's weather forecast facilities and staff, and the obvious lack of coordination among the ship's management services. A final example of inadequate provisioning and management failure is the extremely long line of passengers who, having disembarked, faced a complete lack of public transport. I understand HAL disavows responsibility for this logistics SNAFU since the Oosterdam had to tie up in Sydney at a different, less accommodating, pier than the one from which she departed. I had independently booked a car and walked a quarter mile past many hundreds of passengers who waited God only knows how long for taxis that should have been waiting for them. So I have highlighted some of the failures I experienced aboard this ship’s voyage. I will not return for another voyage on the Oosterdam, not because I don’t believe that its crew and officers cannot or will not improve, but because I believe this class of ship has inadequate infrastructure, resources and staff to adequately service the complement of passengers that HAL feels is necessary to operate profitably.   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
Stateroom and staff. During our cruise, our toilet broke (would not flush) three times for an extended period, requiring us to us the public facilities until fixed. On the third time, the maintenance man said it was fixed but we had to ... Read More
Stateroom and staff. During our cruise, our toilet broke (would not flush) three times for an extended period, requiring us to us the public facilities until fixed. On the third time, the maintenance man said it was fixed but we had to call him back as the toilet began leaking all over the bathroom floor. Once he fixed the leak, we had to ask that house keeping come to disinfect the floor from where the leak had been, before we were able to use the bathroom. There also seemed to be a constant sewerage odour, I presume from the toilet issues. I was also dissatisfied with the TV as it was very crackly, poor quality sound and picture. I was also disappointed in the fact that I had originally paid for an inside stateroom, was offered a partial obstructed view upgrade for $99 which we took and were allocated a perfectly lovely room on deck 4, only to be "upgraded" to a poorly located stateroom on deck 1 which was under constant bombardment from noise below in the hold when luggage was moved or when tenders were lowered etc. Dining I have cruised on other lines before and found HALs buffet and dinning option to be limited and very unimaginative. Buffet in the Lido was bland and lacked taste. Hot breakfasts weren't of a high quality. Cereal selection was good at the start of the cruise but was not consistent for the whole cruise, as the the availability of fresh whole fruit such as bananas. Hot chocolate satchets ran out 4days before the end of the cruise. Dining room staff at our table were friendly but did not engage with guests. Only presented the menu, took orders, presented the meals and filled water glasses. They did not try to build a relationship with us even though we dined there every night of the cruise. Dive-in burger bar was exceptional and we tended to rely on this as a means to supplement the very disappointing selection in the Lido. Bar Beverage service by Pearly Anne in the Crows Nest bar and the Vista Lounge was exceptional and she should be commended for her lovely personality and great service. Bar service was only average by other staff. Staff serving at Explorations Cafe were not efficient and not overly friendly. Took too long to prepare orders. Barista was clueless. Internet Internet service was very poor and would constantly drop out. Shore excursions. Pre-purchased shore excursions through HAL website. Had no use for onboard shore excursion staff. Shore excursions were a little pricey but you at least have the assurance that you will make it back to the ship in time to sail. Entertainment Having cruised before with other lines, I was expecting a higher standard of performers. The guest performers were mundane and it felt like the type of entertainment I could see at my local club. Well below par for something meant to be special. Show singers and dancers were entertaining and always gave their best. Show host Jordan was always fun and a very pleasant person to chat with. Always willing to have a laugh with the passengers. Gen and the Halcats as well as Ben and the Halcats were always great to listen too and engaged with the audience really positively. Other entertainment staff were less approachable Acknowledgements I would particularly like to acknowledge Pearly Ann in bar service for her exceptionally nice personality and for always making time to engage with us. We had many great laughs with her and she should be congratulated for her exceptional service. I would also like to acknowledge Gen the singer, who always made time to talk with us and provide a wonderful musical atmosphere wherever we watched her perform. I understand that she is no longer with HAL by her own choice but I reccomend that HAL maintain a performer of her calibre to create a warm and inviting musical experience for future passengers and guests. Other stuff I understand that the ship had over 300 children on board for this cruise but I felt that parental supervision of children was sadly lacking. Many times I saw large groups of unsupervised youths roaming the ship causing mischief and no sign of any kind of security. It also disturbed me to see parents drinking in bars clearly marked as no children under 21, with accompanying children and even toddlers roaming freely around the bars and even in the Casino. Again, there was little regard for common rules and there was never any intervention by HAL staff or security. Overall opinion Very disappointed with most things on this cruise and felt very cheated of the advertised service standards and signature HAL experience.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2014
First, allow me to say that my wife and I have been huge fans of HAL and the Oosterdam since our first cruise in 2006 with HAL! This cruise started with a three night land portion to Denali National Park! It was overall excellent ... Read More
First, allow me to say that my wife and I have been huge fans of HAL and the Oosterdam since our first cruise in 2006 with HAL! This cruise started with a three night land portion to Denali National Park! It was overall excellent beginning with our one night in Anchorage at the beautiful Hotel Captain Cook! The next day we were transported by bus to the McKinley Explorer Train (owned by HAL), had a beautiful escorted train trip to Denali with great service and hosts onboard. Even the food on the train was great for a tourist attraction. our luggage was picked up at the hotel by truck arriving at the Princess Denali Lodge and in our room before we were. Our keys and directions were all given to us aboard the train! I was surprised how well coordinated it was. the Lodge and grounds were very pretty and well maintained. both nights we chose to dine in the Hard Tack Lounge. Our server, Tyler from Ct. by way of Denver, was excellent and friendly. The food was good and priced as you would expect in a resort in Alaska. The tundra tour was very good, and we saw moose, caribou and eagles! We also did a tour of Jeff King's Alaskan Huffy Kennels and training facility. He has won the Iditarod five times! On the very nice motor coach trip to Seward, we had several photo stops with spectacular views of Mt McKinley, apparently a rare treat for only about 30% of the visitors to the region. The lunch stop a sandwich/salad buffet was very nice in a beautiful area of Wasilla. From the arrival in Seward to disembarkation in Vancouver the following Sunday, things went downhill! This was our fourth Oosterdam cruise since 2006! The Seward cruise port building is a steel warehouse building! Check in was like a rat's maze with several busses arriving in close proximity. There were probably 800 to 1,000 people trying to get checked in and to board after 5pm! It was a real "cluster", poorly managed and all boarding the Oosterdam.!!! From this point forward the sales pitches started from photography, wine, shore excursions, art work, etc.! Our baggage had all arrived in our cabin by an hour after boarding. The biggest changes were in the quality of food and service in the Lido buffet, the Main Dining Room and the Pinnacle Grill. Breakfasts in the Lido were as always crowded, but the rudeness of line servers and the quality and selection was the worst. Scrambled eggs looked like slop; bacon was almost raw and the lines were usually closed early and were running out of some items! never before seen on HAL. At our table #69 in the MDR, the service was okay, but the girl wine steward was not knowledgeable about all the wines and only interested in hurrying to sell more bottles. Dinners in the MDR were more often disappointing because of the selection, quality or quantity in some items. My escargot were overcooked and only offered once! On the final night, the usual and fun parade of servers with baked Alaska was deleted! There was no more "chocolate extravaganza" around the pool as usual before one evening. The Pinnacle Grill cover charge formerly $20is now $29/person. That nearly 30% increase would be okay, but they eliminated lobster tails from the entrée choices and put an additional $20/person upcharge for King Crab legs! I ordered a 10oz filet mignon, medium rare, and it arrived well done. Reorder came medium well but ate it anyway! The manager seemed to make reservations difficult, but there were always a few empty tables! The singers and dancers were live and good especially Angela, the light haired male singer and the piano player, Mario in the Halcats band. the magician was mediocre and not friendly to guests off the stage and around the ship with his four dogs, child and wife. the comedian, Julie Barr was funny and entertaining. Our cabin stewards did a good job except when our fruit was ripe and ready to eat, they removed it and left not so ripe. Finally, disembarkation was another "cluster" and absolutely horrible regardless of what you had put on your form regarding post cruise travel arrangements, etc. We were supposed to disembark between 8:15 and 8:30am, but it ended up being about 9:15am? If these issues are not fleet wide, they may be related to the new Captain Bos since such problems run downhill! In conclusion, if we don't hear anything positive from HAL and not token, this will be our last HAL cruise! One final comment regarding ports on this cruise concerns the port of Haines! It is very disappointing, and must be free of any port charges to HAL. Only one shuttle bus was running to town because the other had broken down a few days before! Skip Haines and do Skagway! In summation, enjoy Alaska and Denali; but don't sail the Oosterdam, and maybe choose another cruise line! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2014
We will not recommend this trip to friends. It was not what we expected. The pictures in Holland America's brochure were spectacular - Glacier Bay was amazing. But in fact when our ship pulled in to the bay on one of the very few ... Read More
We will not recommend this trip to friends. It was not what we expected. The pictures in Holland America's brochure were spectacular - Glacier Bay was amazing. But in fact when our ship pulled in to the bay on one of the very few sunny days, the Glacier was small and not even stunning - not at all the picture in their catalog. In two of the ports, Juneau and Ketchikan we were greeted with more of the same jewelry stores that were already on board ship with salesmen pressuring us on the sidewalks to enter and buy. Not the wilderness we expected to see. Upon embarkation in Seward we were "herded" into a warehouse where all 2000 guests were signing in to board. We were in line for hours, even though we had booked a Neptune Suite and were suppose to have special embarkation status - there were no Holland American agents working the line as you entered it to help you navigate to your correct spot. In addition when we did go up the gangplank and boarded our ship, despite what we paid there was no one to help us find our deck, elevators, or stateroom. We were surprised to see that everyone's luggage was being xrayed as well before being allowed on our ship. We all had previously been through TSA, and Customs - why the x ray - to find if you carried on your favorite bottle of scotch or wine. We heard from other guests how their bottles were taken and would not be returned until the disembarked the ship at the end of the cruise - unless they paid and $18.00 corkage fee per bottle! To us that was their personal property......! We had been looking forward to the food as we had heard it was wonderful. Again, we were disappointed Out of 5 stars the best we could give it is 3 and that was even with the evening in Le Cirque thrown in. I would not recommend the Pinnacle Grill or the evening in Le Cirque - they were overpriced for what you got. Our Stateroom on the other hand was very nice, and very well taken care of by our Stewards who were constantly available to help. Service in any of the restaurants was excellent as well as the bars. We were surprised though to hear the wait staff push whole bottles of wine on guests when they tried to order just a glass. Also, we overheard several Holland America staff pitching future cruises to several of the elderly guests. Disembarkation was as unorganized as embarkation - We will not recommend this trip . Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2014
My wife and I have just completed a 14-day Alaska cruise with Holland America on the MS Oosterdam. It was such an incredibly disappointing experience on all fronts that I feel that I must share my experience with other cruisers considering ... Read More
My wife and I have just completed a 14-day Alaska cruise with Holland America on the MS Oosterdam. It was such an incredibly disappointing experience on all fronts that I feel that I must share my experience with other cruisers considering sailing with Holland America. I apologize for the length of this review, but it is necessary. ACCESS FOR THE MOBILITY IMPAIRED - Like most cruise lines, Holland America only supplies wheelchair assistance for embarkation and disembarkation. The thing that sets Holland America and this cruise apart was the fact that I had to WALK several hundred yards from the bus/taxi drop off point to the office where you could request a wheelchair. While I was getting mine, a porter told the Holland America representative that a lady was sitting on the curb at the drop off point since she was unable to walk to the office. The HA rep was visibly annoyed and said that the woman would have to come to the office to get a wheelchair. Unbelievable! I do not know how the problem was resolved. There was a similar problem with disembarkation. We were told to report to one place on the ship if we needed a wheelchair. When none came, I managed to attract the attention of a HA rep and asked where the wheelchairs were. He appeared to be annoyed and told me “didn’t you hear the announcement?” You have to WALK to another area of the ship to claim your wheelchair for disembarkation. FOOD - This food on the trip, with a couple of exceptions, was very disappointing. The descriptions of the food made it sound fabulous, but they didn’t reflect reality. The food was not as described and was obviously “altered” to save money for HA. For example: “waldorf salad” consisted of apples and a little bit of celery (no grapes, no walnuts); a slice of fruit pie had two small pieces of fruit in it, the rest of the filling was thinned out fruit? liquid with a ton of cornstarch in it to make a gelatinous solid; “New York style cheesecake” looked like cheesecake, but was a concoction whipped up with air obviously to save money on ingredients; “baked Alaska” was just a small scoop of ice cream. Most of the main courses were of poor quality the worst being the fish, which was obviously frozen and was always dry and overcooked. After my second fish dish, I learned not to order that again. Unlike on our cruise earlier this year on the Emerald Princess, I never looked forward to dining on the Oosterdam. Worthy of special mention is the food on Lido buffet. I can only compare it to the worst of the chain cafeterias. For breakfast, the eggs were good (custom prepared), but that’s about it. The bacon was bordering on being raw, the waffles and pancakes were cold and like rubber, the “toast” was usually never toasted and was just awful and rubbery. They served you mini-portions (to save money). If you ordered an omelet, they would put about a teaspoon of fillings in it. I was in line next to a teenage boy (you know how they eat). He asked for pancakes and was given two, each about 3 inches in diameter. He was too intimidated to ask for more. While you can get by with breakfast and lunch (you can get a salad) on the Lido, don’t even think of eating dinner there. Enough said except to state that, as the cruise wore on, they were running out of food and the food became poorer by the day. FOOD SERVICE - Food service was terribly slow and inefficient. Either the waiters were on some kind of “work slowdown” or HA was understaffed. Can you imagine it taking an hour to have bacon and eggs! The hours of food service were very short (I’m sure they wanted to push you to eating at the Lido) and even the Lido had limited hours and was shut down by 10:30 at night (you couldn’t even get a cup of coffee after that except from room service). Our last cruise (3 months ago) was on the Emerald princess and they had the “International Café” which was staffed by a couple of people 24 hours a day. If you couldn’t sleep at night, you could go there and get a cup of coffee and read without disturbing your cabin mate. There was no such option on the Oosterdam. You would think that a ship with 2,000 passengers could afford to provide this service. Room service was, I believe, intentionally slow, in order to train you not to use it. It typically took the best part of an hour to get some coffee (or anything else) by which time you no longer wanted it. THE PASSENGER COMES SECOND - You would think that, at a minimum you should be able to enjoy the comfort of your room (we had a balcony). We returned back from breakfast one day to find that the balcony railing had been varnished. I have a lung condition and could not breath. We had to leave our stateroom for the day until the stench died down. Nobody ever bothered to ask us before doing this. Another day, we were told that they would be coming into our stateroom (at a time that we would normally be in bed) to hose down the veranda. It seems to me that whether it is ship maintenance or food service hours, or anything else, no consideration is given to the passenger. SALES PITCHES AD NAUSEUM - Being on this HA cruise was like being locked up with a bunch of high-pressure salesmen. The vast majority of activities on the ship either cost money or were sales pitches to make you spend money. Two weeks of this becomes very tedious and annoying ROOM STEWARD - The one bright spot on this cruise. Our steward was outstanding. As an example, the first day of the cruise I asked for ice so I could make myself a drink in my cabin. Thereafter, there was always fresh ice in my room without me asking. OTHER THOUGHTS - We took a 14-day cruise (Vancouver to Seward and back). HA should treat it as a 14-day cruise and not two seven-day cruises. Not only did we visit the same ports coming and going (we expected that), but also we were subjected to the same entertainment and same never-ending sales pitches. HA is way too cheap when it comes to making the passengers feel good. Princess had small token gifts and at least recognized it when you had a special occasion such as an anniversary. There was a wonderful lady on our cruise that was celebrating her 100th BIRTHDAY!!!! WOW! Guess what HA did to help her celebrate that great moment, NOTHING!!! I don’t know if HA is dishonest, or just doesn’t care about its customers. We had paid for an excursion and the HA staff directed us to the wrong bus and we missed our tour. I spoke to a HA representative the day we left the ship to get a refund and was given a business card and told to contact customer service. Customer service did not answer their phone (I was on hold a half hour) and they have failed to respond to an e-mail that I sent them regarding this matter. We are retired and will be cruising 3 to 4 times a year, but as I said earlier, NEVER NEVER again on Holland America.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
After having cruised with various lines (20 times) My wife and I decided to try the Holland America line (Oosterdam) cruising to the Pacific Islands on the 2nd of March 2014 for14 nights Embarkation and disembarkation was excellent The ... Read More
After having cruised with various lines (20 times) My wife and I decided to try the Holland America line (Oosterdam) cruising to the Pacific Islands on the 2nd of March 2014 for14 nights Embarkation and disembarkation was excellent The ship to us seemed too dark in colours Our cabin with balcony (the balcony could not be used due to cabins on either sides were smoking and of course the smell wafted to our side made it very unpleasant) Also smoking in the casino and other places should be a definite NO as internationally smoking and passive smoking is a Health Hazard We did not like the Lido having different service bays and to line up in one then lining again in another and the food getting cold The screening room was a joke 32 seats for 1900 passengers The port of Luganville was wasted time , why not go to Champagne Bay which is nearby Two months previously we were advised by another Line that in New Caledonia there was a severe ZIKA FEVER alert Nothing about it was told to us. I mentioned this to the other couple on our table who approached the medical about it (they knew nothing about it) and yet someone in the front office was aware of it   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
Just arrived back today (19 January 2014) from a South Pacific Cruise departing Sydney. Firstly, the cabin upgrade from verandah to veranda suite was a lovely surprise and was really appreciated. Then comes the rest, not necessarily so ... Read More
Just arrived back today (19 January 2014) from a South Pacific Cruise departing Sydney. Firstly, the cabin upgrade from verandah to veranda suite was a lovely surprise and was really appreciated. Then comes the rest, not necessarily so good. Food: Main dining room choices, style and flavour were very good as was the Pinnacle Grill.Temperature checks need to be done in the Main dining room, as often food temperatures were barely safe serving temperature.The Lido was passable with reasonable but limited choices. Service standards and staffing levels: Open seating in the main dining room was a debacle from day 1 with a wait time of 45 minutes but ok, it was the first night. After attempting to book for for following nights, I was told that the only available times were 5.15pm or 5.30pm. Every night was line up and then wait for 30 to 45 minutes to be seated. Once seated, the service was good but it is obvious that staff numbers have been cut dramatically, particularly in Wine and Food Service and it is very noticeable. The wine waiters can only serve wine by the bottle. The food servers now take orders for all drinks including glasses of wine, this poses difficulties and takes more time. Our last cruise with HAL was Sept 2012 in Europe and the reduction of staff numbers is very obvious and having a serious impact of quality and service standards. No more coffee/tea trolley in the Lido, over the 14 days, we were lucky to see 2 trolleys go by. Ran out of clothe serviettes and cutlery on the last lunch day in the Lido. Cabin stewards are amazing, the work they do and the time they get to do it in is amazing, 10 minutes per room and no overtime. Those guys are worth every tip they get and then some. Furnishing and fit out: VERY Tired,with the Oosterdam in real need of upgrade from soft furnishings right through to general furnishing. Lots of holes and stuffing showing through in cushions and lounges both in cabins and public areas, wooden tables, chairs and railings needing major sanding and revarnishing, worn carpets in all public areas including stairways and corridors. We have a European cruise booked with HAL in September 2014 and I hope this shows some major improvements, otherwise this Mariner will be travelling with another line. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
Quick synopsis: Old ship in need of total refurbishment to bring up to today’s standards. Crew at times were surly and quite confrontational. Food okay but not outstanding. Entertainment mostly appalling Ships senior offers not ... Read More
Quick synopsis: Old ship in need of total refurbishment to bring up to today’s standards. Crew at times were surly and quite confrontational. Food okay but not outstanding. Entertainment mostly appalling Ships senior offers not available or seen above the rank of a 1 bar. Scandalous! Front desk, polite but useless. Certain areas of ship need a good spotless clean. Carpets on stairwells worn-out. Ships crew seems to lack discipline and smartness of dress untidy. Review: It has been 8 years since our last HAL cruise, in this time there is a noticeable difference in the standard of service for which Holland and America were once renowned for. The Carnival Corporation has now worked its policies on this line to make it more affordable to everyone, so for those of you accustomed to the old more prestigious line or to travelling on Celebrity or Royal Caribbean out of Australia then possibly the now old, bruised and battered Oosterdam will not be up to their high service levels in all departments. Check in was pitifully slow with only 80% of the check in counters being manned. No priority line for mini suite guests. Once on board no staff to welcome you, find your own way, for an avid cruiser not a problem but for those new to cruising they found it more difficult to find their cabins. Our suite upon arrival was smelly, from body odours and not being sanitised thoroughly. The bathroom floor tiles had large areas of grout missing, clear evidence that both maintenance and supervisory attendance were lacking. No cabin steward in sight or one to introduce themselves to us until well after we were on our way to evening dinner. We asked for the strong odour smells to be irradiated, no such luck. We persevered that night but the next day the smell was equally as prevalent, we asked for the cabin to be deep cleaned, which apparently it was, to no avail. So we left the cabin door open on the balcony which after 8 hours did the trick along with us spraying our deodorant over the fabrics. No more smells of past bodies. The bathroom was re-grouted too. Unfortunately now the cabin stewards have to attend to 30 cabins on Hal, up from 19, so in all fairness they have little time to really spoil you and spruce up your cabin, past a very quick spit and polish if you are extremely lucky. The bathroom toiletries consisted of a single bar of soap for basin and shower with a single small pot of body lotion. This was your luxury pack of toiletries. Our towels were constantly old and grey not white, fluffy and pristine. Occasionally when we were fortunate enough to find a relatively new towel it was a fight to see who showered first. Cabin overall was adequate but for a suite nothing too special to entice you back. Lido, breakfast and lunch both offer a good range and selection, again not to RCI or Celebrity, quality wise but, good enough, if your first cruise you would not be disappointed. Vista dining room, here too they now have 30 covers to serve, that's per steward, which again gives a lot of work for one person to cover. The quality of the food was again good but not outstanding. Not to the same level as Radiance, Rhapsody or Solstice, all three outshine the Oosterdam by a mile in all degrees of service level, quantity, quality and presentation. Whilst the waiting stewards were fairly joyous and happy, due to their volume of work they had little time to make your dining experience that extra bit special, as was the case previously. I would go as far as to say that my experience on the Pacific Dawn was indeed superior to that of the Oosterdam, which was over 3 times the price to that paid for similar accommodation on the Dawn. Officers above 1 bar were never to be spotted on this ship, never, even if requested, you were not able to voice your concerns to a senior officer of this ship. It was as if you were prevented from asking a question that you may have been given a real answer to, instead this ship diversifies your real question and answers with a totally irrelevant one, which of course is extremely frustrating and irritating. Entertainment was below par for what is perceived as a 5star cruise line. Only 3 cruise line production shows on this a 14 night cruise. No doubt they only now have 3 in their portfolio as most cruises out of the US are for 7 nights which would make show every other night but one would have thought that at Christmas a little bit of extra thought would have brought them up to speed and introduced extra shows for this over priced cruise, which all Christmas cruises are. No show or entertainment at all in the Vista lounge on the last night. The venue itself has many seats which have a pillow blocking the view of the performers, this spoils any enjoyment. The layout of the seating is particularly badly designed with the first 7 rows set out as if you were in a two bit club, tables and uncomfortable chairs, taking up where at least 12 full rows of theatre seating could have been installed. So many people could not be seated at the evening shows. Brought into service in 1995 the ship is badly in need of a total refit, this is not a luxury liner of the 21st century, is this why it is brought to Australia for our summer. Why are all cruise lines guilty of bringing all of their old worn out ships to die in Australia? After all our rate per cabin per day is far higher charge than say one sailing the Caribbean route or for that matter the northern European routes. Overall my experience on this Christmas and New Year cruise was very disappointing as it was for many that voiced their grievances to me. Many a comment was made about staffing levels and wait times for service from often quite surly crew. How times are changing. New Years Eve: At times ships run like clockwork and at others they seem to be run by idiots. On New Years Eve, the dress code was casual, first time in my 17 years of cruising at Christmas and New Year. Most of the bars were closed at 10 pm to allow for everyone to attend the pool party on the open deck under the stars. (Make everyone attend no options) When we arrived at 9pm they were clearing away all of the tables and chairs. They removed every single one, apart for those where 6 people were already sitting. Hid them and locked them all away out of sight. Asked officer why, he replied “there are going to be 1500 people up here and we want to make enough room” I replied “so you want people to stand for 3 to 4 hours on a moving ship for all this time” he replied “yeah” pointing out the age demographics of the ship seemed not to draw his attention to that plight. We ourselves went to another cupboard and grabbed 4 chairs and a table for our drinks. Over the next hour or so, everyone who then arrived went to the rear pool area through the Lido and brought back a set of chairs and tables. By midnight the place was full of tables and chairs brought by the passengers either from their own cabins or from the rear pool, area. I ask these idiots’s as that is clearly what they were, what was the purpose or locking way all the chairs in a room and drawing the curtains/blinds to hide them and then allowing all the passengers to fetch their own chairs, stupidly or what! Unbelievable.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
The agenda...14 days in Venuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji, followed by immersion for 14 days in New Zealand was great. The ports were wonderful, the activities available were plentiful and the agenda experience was outstanding. I wish I ... Read More
The agenda...14 days in Venuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji, followed by immersion for 14 days in New Zealand was great. The ports were wonderful, the activities available were plentiful and the agenda experience was outstanding. I wish I could say the same about our onboard time. Oosterdam operated like it didn't care if you were there or not. HAL, the once excellent cruiseline, has reduced itself to the lowest common denominator in the cruise industry. While their brochure promise Five-Star Luxury and treatment, they deliver 1-star performance. The company has decided that cost cutting comes before customer satisfaction. I really don't want to say anymore because I'll get in trouble with HAL defenders, but HAL needs to fire some folks and FIRE-UP their operations. They lack staff enthusiasm and it shows in the product they deliver, be it be the food or the service or the entertainment, Their "safety" drill...the one where you show up at your lifeboat station...is a joke. No one is paying attention and the staff we must rely (singers, dancers?) on appear to be incompetent and uninterested in the exercise. I can only imagine the panic in a real emergency! Our cabin was nice...about double the normal stateroom size. Finding storage space was not a problem. And it was comfy. The Neptune Lounge was nice, but hardly enough to justify the very expensive price of the suite. Some folks just love these suites, but I find it difficult to see the cost-value benefits. The staff doesn't seem to care if you're there or not. OK, no more on this. I'm already in big trouble with HAL fans. Go for the low price, but don't expect much except for what you can do for yourself. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
this cruise was nothing like we booked 12 months ago.Embarkation in Seattle was fine nice and smooth and first impressions of the ship were fine the cabin was good . how wrong can first impressions be. it was down hill from there on. the ... Read More
this cruise was nothing like we booked 12 months ago.Embarkation in Seattle was fine nice and smooth and first impressions of the ship were fine the cabin was good . how wrong can first impressions be. it was down hill from there on. the ship left Seattle one day late due to bad weather which we can fully understand as safety comes always first. but then it started they changed the port of Hilo for laihaini cut of a day in Honolulu changed the dates on Dravuni island and Suva in Fiji cutting of the evening visit in Suva. we have never been on a ship with so many changes happening to the itenerary as on this one never mind if you had private tours booked you lost your money.We have never seen so many unhappy people as on this ship. the food standard was very dissapointing in the main restaurant the food was bland a cold we send it back on a few occations and walked out. the dining room waiters were great they tried their upmost. food in the Lido was average apart from the Oriental and italian sections they were great. we feel the standards have dropped on this vessel from a 5 to a 3 we do hope that it was just this vessel as we have sailed before with HAL and were very happy.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
Thank goodness for Seattle. I'd finally convinced my husband to take an Alaskan cruise ( about 4 years of talking). When he said yes, I quickly booked a trip before he could change his mind. Booked in August for travel in September. ... Read More
Thank goodness for Seattle. I'd finally convinced my husband to take an Alaskan cruise ( about 4 years of talking). When he said yes, I quickly booked a trip before he could change his mind. Booked in August for travel in September. Since he had agreed to the adventure, I added 2 days pre cruise in Seattle. Thank goodness for Seattle. We stayed at the Seattle Marriot Waterfront. Nice hotel,great views, close to Pikes Place Market ,the BigWheel and lots of restuarants. We took two Savor Seattle Tours ,both great , a city bus tour and went up into the Space Needle. We had a great time and want to return for a longer visit. Thank goodness for Seattle. Since this was our first cruise , we were a bit apprehensive about embarkation. Happily , it was painless. Everyone was courteous and helpful. We were feeling excited, we were on our way. We had heard so many good things about Holland America obviously they had not been in our room on the Oosterdam. We walked into room 5154 and were so disappointed. The room looked worn and shabby. The sofa's arm was torn ,the springs ( it was a sofa bed) were showing. The pillows on the sofa were dirty and stained. The plaid throws looked liked they should have been thrown away cruises ago. But what I had noticed first was the most upsetting. The black knob on the blonde wooden cabinet over the sofa was being held on by white tissue sticking out all around the knob. Really. I realized it was the second to last cruise of the season and things may be a little worn,but REALLY. The bedding looked worn and the pillows smelled old. Thank goodness for Seattle. By Wednesday-the third day of the trip- the knob had been glued,the sofa had been changed. The bedding did not improve. The ship's decor was a bit dated and worn. Know now I should have checked the last time it was refurbished when choosing a ship. Positive note, the mattress was comfortable even in high seas. The food---------the buffets, not bad not great. Hard to find a place to sit. The Vista dining room was better but service was slow. We had dinner at the Pinnacle Grill, probably the best meal. The crab cakes were wonderful. Again the service was a bit slow. Canaletto, pretty good, BUT. We were offered the dessert menu before we were served our pasta. Lots of servers, one not knowing what the other was doing. We ordered drinks. We waited for the bill. Finally got up and told the person at the podium about the drinks and our room number. Our evening at Le Cirque is another story--------food very good ,service good BUT with 80 mph winds and 20 foot seas, a little hard to enjoy. I could see huge waves through the window ! We ordered breakfast room service each morning. Food good but always a little later than the time we requested. It was hard to get a call through to room service. Always busy. One afternoon i requested some orange juice. They said they only serve orange juice in the morning?? Thank goodness for Seattle. Alaska is BEAUTIFUL. We saw only a small amount and would love to go back. Just not on a cruise. Tracy's Arm was overwhelming. Could not believe that blue even on a cloudy day. Our Juneau tour,a glacier and whale watching photo safari, was great. Fun and educational. Our photo guide and boat captain were wonderful. THEN , a real adventure began. We thought we left the Gulf Coast and hurricanes. No, we were on a ship in Alaska with 85 mph winds and 20 foot seas and we couldn't evacuate !! Stuck on a ship rocking and rolling. We could not stop in Sitka--the reason I booked this cruise-- not many cruise ships stop in Sitka and from what I have read since we have been home,Holland America skips it often in September. I wish I had done more research on this cruise line. Let the buyer beware. We also missed Ketchican. So for a 7day cruise, we were on the ship for 5 days. Thank goodness for Dramamine and Seattle. Had never seen ships shows before. After the first show didn't really care to spend time there again. Though I did go back for Dancing With The Stars the last night-----entertaining. Wanted to see the magician, boat was really rocking that night , had to hold on to the bed instead. Most activities involved some sort of a fee. Movies were free but unless they moved to a bigger room only about 30 people fit. The Digital Workshop was so informative but there again if you didn't get there early there was no room. So happy to get to Victoria. To get off the ship. But by then we were a little ship shocked and sad we had missed so much. We did take a city bus tour. Victoria is beautiful and we want to return but not on a cruise. We tried but just couldn't get into it. Don't want to be, but still sad about the whole cruise. From what I have learned since returning home,maybe Holland America should leave for Hawaii at the end of August. It seems the weather is often not conducive to cruising in September. The salmon are gone--we saw none and the whales are on their way to warmer weather. Maybe the cruise ships should also leave or when offering a lower price also tell the customer that some ports may be skipped because of the weather in September. We are not from that area of the country and had no idea of September's stormy weather. Seattle was cloudy and rainy but thank goodness for Seattle. We paid $20 per person extra to have our luggage , best money spent. The disembarkation seemed a bit disorganized. Wish we could have stayed a few days in Seattle after the cruise. Thank goodness for Seattle! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
I just returned from Holland America's Cruise to Alaska on the Oosterdam sailing June 23rd. I was very very disappointed. The room was clean and our steward could not have been better. The food was horrible. Old Country Buffet would ... Read More
I just returned from Holland America's Cruise to Alaska on the Oosterdam sailing June 23rd. I was very very disappointed. The room was clean and our steward could not have been better. The food was horrible. Old Country Buffet would have been gourmet compared to the food available. No taste. Poor Quality. Rude service from the buffet staff. Room service was a joke. Long waits and never get the order right. I was even sent rotten fruit. Any time I asked for something I was told they were out of it, on the second day. We were told on prime rib night they forgot to load the prime ribs. Turkey day the was no turkey in the buffet. We opted for open dinning. Do not do it the servers were over worked and we waited and waited. The next day we opted for late seating and our waiters at table 8 were great. With most of our food left on our plates(four adults) they asked if it was good they offered to bring something else after a few tries we gave up. The entertainment was poor. The singers and dancers work to canned music. Old and dated material. I have seen better high school productions. The magician was good. The ventriloquist's material was from the 60's-70's and not very funny. We ended up entertaining ourselves in the library with the games there. Other main night entertainment was provided by the passengers in the form of newlywed game and dancing with the stars. That's ok for extra entertainment, but not the night's main entertainment. Our ports were great, all but one excursion we booked after we got off the ship at much less. Alaska was beautiful! We wanted to adjust our tip that is automatically added every day and give to people who went the extra mile. We were told we were not allowed to do that and that was that. If that is the case then they should include it in the cruise price. We will not cruise Holland America again. They have cut back so much it was such a disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
I had read several reviews about cruising Holland America as well as the ship Oosterdam, I do not know what ship they were sailing on, but it could not have been the same. On a positive note, the crew were very friendly, always smiling, ... Read More
I had read several reviews about cruising Holland America as well as the ship Oosterdam, I do not know what ship they were sailing on, but it could not have been the same. On a positive note, the crew were very friendly, always smiling, and so helpful. Sometimes the language barrier was a little frustrating, but I would not trade that in as the crew was wonderful. That being said, lets start with the ship. It seems to be older, basically clean as long as you stay out of the casino, but there was not much to do unless you want to pay a couple thousand dollars just to get on the ship and spend several hundred more on shopping and activities. Everything seemed to cost. Internet usage was expensive, deoderant(my husband forgot his) was almost $8, every turn someone was trying to sell low quality wine at a price that would suggest robbery. I was excited about the movies, but there is only room for maybe 30 people-keeping in mind the ship holds around 2,000! And help you if you are caught saving a seat for your spouse, I thought one of the families who was saving a seat for her inlaws was going to have to walk the plank! Seating is cutthroat so go early if it is a decent movie that you really want to see. I went to an activity called "make a candy box", Ok there was no candy, and it involved a prefolded HAL box that took all of 15 minutes. * Ok now the room. I had the VA, which is delux verandah. I don't know what was delux about it. I always heard HAL rooms were bigger than other cruiselines-this room was no bigger than any other cruise I have been on, and our toilent did not work the first 4 days. We were constantly calling for someone to unclog it-keep in mind my rule is always flush twice, once before the paper and once after to prevent clogging. It was never less than 2 hours to get the toilet unclogged. Half the time it wouldn't even flush-you never knew when the toilet would work. Beds weren't bad, and the one thing I can say was great was the run of free movies in the room, especially since the screening room was always full. * The ship performances were low rate, say if you visited the old part of Branson Missouri, they were better performers. Even if you wanted to see the shows, there was no room. The only explanation I have for the tiny spaces, is they must have been trying to fit as many staterooms as possible, and no room for other spaces. The fitness center just plane sucked (sorry). It was one tiny room with a few treadmills and weights-people hovered trying to get a treadmill. My husband and I took to running the flights of stairs since working out was not working out in the fitness center. * The ports were great. Alaska is wonderful-but I would not take HAL to visit again. Careful with the excursions. We did the zipline and it was great-all we expected. The second excursion was not very active, and I did not realize that. It was the Wilderness Crab feast. The food was great, but it is more suited for a 70 year old than a 30 year old. We did meet a couple who found their own excursions in Juneau and Sitka. They went to a glacier on foot and kayaked-we were jelous. Their excursion turned out great and they made it to port in plenty of time. Yes, the boat will leave you if you do not make it in time, but don't let that scare you from a wonderful excursion, just do your homework. * Now I saved the best for last-the food. It was for the most part terrible. The positives- the fresh fruit is great, breakfast was just fine. It is hard to mess up 2 fried eggs and french toast, but that is where the good news ends. There were a couple exceptions. I had escargot and it was actually very tender and flavorful. That same night I had a salad with mushrooms and gorgonzolla cheese that was great. The rest of the food is typical buffet food. Tough beef-stay away from the prime rib, it is a sad waste of a cow's life, unless you like boot leather. Vegetables were super salty and full of butter, pizza was comparable to cardboard, I was given a salad that had bloated raisens and soggy apples-it was terrible. The desserts were awful, no flavor at all. We stopped eating in the dining room because it was the same food that was served on deck, and it took forever to get the food. We heard everyone say that the restaurants you pay extra for were great-but I already paid almost $3000, I should have great food. The better food on the boat is the in room dining. You are very limited on your choices, but the quality seemed a little better, and you didn't have lines of people. Oh, and you have a place to sit in your room. The buffet restaurant, you spend most your time fighting for a place to sit and eat before your food gets cold. * I am sorry this review is so negative, but both my husband and I were very disappointed. We are not first time cruisers, but may be last time cruisers. We were not the only passengers with this opinion, we spoke with several others who were disappointed. Yes there were people who were thoroughly enjoying themselves, but I suspect those are the same people happy with the golden coral special. If you like chicken stuffed with prunes, bloated raisens in your salad, the excitement of not knowing if you commode will work, and fighting to the death for a theater seat, this is the cruise for you, otherwise, I would look elsewhere. Read Less
Oosterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.5 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.5 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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