167 Holland America Oosterdam Cruise Reviews

Back from the HOLLAND AMERICA (HAL) Oosterdam February 6-20 Australia & New Zealand cruise... here our (wife & husband, mature couple) report: The ship (Oosterdam) is great, recently refurbished, nicely decorated interior, very ... Read More
Back from the HOLLAND AMERICA (HAL) Oosterdam February 6-20 Australia & New Zealand cruise... here our (wife & husband, mature couple) report: The ship (Oosterdam) is great, recently refurbished, nicely decorated interior, very good facilities. Our stateroom (Category SY) was spacious, well appointed and clean. On embarkation the "VIP Reception" (as older HAL clients) was impeccable. The room service personnel did an excellent job during the whole cruise. Unfortunately (compared to our HAL Rotterdam Panama Canal cruise 2 years ago) the general HAL level diminished evidently -- we assume due to Carnival's (who owns HAL) tightening the proverbial financial screw on them. - all dining room(s) personnel (incl. maitre d') was exclusively Indonesian & Phillipino, some w. a rather "summary" comprehension of English - occasionally huge (up to 1 hr!) dinner waiting times - the Pinnacle Grill price supplement went up from $20 to $25... the meals quality... let's not go there! - no more free water for the shore excursions - no more self-serve laundromats; the smallest load to be done by the ship personnel was $20 - bedside night-table telephone defect; couldn't be fixed till the end of the cruise - rather weak shore excursions presentations; the Cristchurch shore excursion was a misrepresentation! As sorry as I am for the residents, after the 2010-11 earthquake there was literally nothing to see... just ruins and huge heaps of rubble... - the steaks were absolutely miserable: irrespective of the cuisson ordered, all we got was hardened shoe sole! Upon numerous complaints (by everyone!) the staff accused the poor quality of the Australian beef... We gave up meat dishes approx. ½ time into the cruise, switched to fish/seafood only. Fact is that we had excellent steaks in Sydney and Hobart, it's just that HAL obviously bought the lowest quality meat available! - ½ the time the telephone cards sold by HAL did not work, and it was a chore to obtain a time refund. The front desk accused a third party contractor for the intermittent service. Fact is that HAL sold the service and they had the responsibility for its function! - the daily "home" (Canadian, UK, etc.) newsletter distribution in the door-pocket was cancelled; there was only a New York Times summary available in insufficient numbers, to be picked up at uncertain points on the ship... by the early risers! - On some evenings the dance orchestra took inordinately long pauses, sometimes leaving just 2 performers to play... in a rather indifferent, almost annoyed mood! Obviously most of the public left, so by the time the full orchestra (with vocalist) reappeared, the lounge was empty, and the atmosphere... somber! - Last but not least... my wife just received in the mail an upgrade of her HAL Mariner Society status to "Two Star", with a nice bronze pin. I DID NOT... in spite of the fact that we took the cruises TOGETHER! Adding insult to injury, we convinced a couple of dear old friends to join us on this cruise... It was their first HAL cruise, and...one can imagine our embarrassment! Definitely this was not the Holland America of the old, but a thinned-down, penny pinching shadow of it! Our (and a few other passengers we befriended and talked to) decision was not to ever return to HAL... at least not as long as they are still owned by Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
This was our 2nd Alaska cruise but the first time we had ever sailed with HAL and while none of it was horrible it just wasn't anything special either. The food was ok in the Vista restaurant nicely prepared and served, the food ... Read More
This was our 2nd Alaska cruise but the first time we had ever sailed with HAL and while none of it was horrible it just wasn't anything special either. The food was ok in the Vista restaurant nicely prepared and served, the food in the Pinnacle was great excellent quality, taste and service, well worth the extra charge. The food in the Lido was just not good, mostly cold, not enough options and the hours of operation not very accommodating. The only station open through out the day was pizza and pasta and it never changed. The place is always a little trashy too, lots of table left with dishes too long, food on the floor not picked up just not well taken care of. The room steward was great but too often in other areas of the ship the service was spotty at best and downright sullen at times. The ship is older and definitely showing its age, chipped and cracked, needing paint little wobbles here and there, our door would not shut tight so we had to put up with a wind noise even after they "fixed" it. On the other hand the bed was the best we have ever had on any cruise and the bathroom while old and tacky was well laid out and had a great shower, too bad the tub didn't drain while you showered. The on board shops are very limited in selection and prices seemed high even for a cruise. The smoking area is not well ventilated so there is a very strong odor all around on that floor. The daily activities were very repetitive and not that interesting. The show lounge had some very good singers and dancers and they put on some nice shows, there were also 2 comics on the ship. They were not to my taste but I must say that everyone around me seemed to be loving them. The acts in the bars and other lounges were uniformly weak and not worth wasting your time. Two things that really bothered me the most is the ports of call and the time allotted to you in each of them. We spent all day in Tracy arm and then didn't see the glacier a real waste of time. We had a reasonable time in Juneau and Sitka but only about 4 hours in Ketchikan and then the biggest disappointment of all was getting into Victoria 3 hours late and having just about 2.5 hours to try to see one of the best walking and shopping cities in the world, and it was late at night. I found it very interesting that the NCL Pearl was still tied up at the dock when we left Ketchikan and yet was already tied up at the dock when we got to Victoria. I don't know whether they got lost or were trying to save on fuel. The second thing is kind of related to the first and that is that there are no comfortable chairs anywhere on this ship. Because of the itinerary we spent a lot of time on the ship, in fact I finished 3 books from the library, but could not find a chair or couch anywhere to sit more than an hour or so.I guess that is not entirely true, the ship has a nice small movie theater and the seats there were pretty good, they got a lot of use from the movie goers. Getting on and off the ship during the ports of call was very slow, but embarkation and disembarkation was handled very well, quick and smooth. If a friend asked me to recommend this cruise I would tell them all of the things to expect but probably still suggest they go if they got a great price. I think as long as you understood what this ship experience is you would be all right. Most of our cruises have been on Celebrity and they are just a better more polished experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
It appeared as though there were different centers of activity or business that operate almost autonomously. I say that because of the tremendous difference in quality that I noticed. Some things were great; others were deplorable. I ... Read More
It appeared as though there were different centers of activity or business that operate almost autonomously. I say that because of the tremendous difference in quality that I noticed. Some things were great; others were deplorable. I certainly feel that HAL should make money from their passengers; but their passengers should also have an enjoyable experience. On our last cruise, some of the business centers focused solely on making money and ignored our experience. In other cases service was impeccable. For example, check-in was flawless, fast and smooth. Room service, the same. Dining in the Italian restaurant was a pleasure, as was the buffet. But the food in the main dining room was just so-so at best, and the much-touted high-end La Cirque (extra charge) had great food but terrible service. We sat with empty plates on our table for 20 minutes, missed the show as a result, and complained to the manager who apologised but didn't do anything about it. He said he was short-staffed, but that was a revenue-generating decision to pack as many people in as possible who were paying extra fees (over $150 a couple). We paid for an upgrade from a balcony cabin to a luxury suite, but the furniture in our "luxury suite" was broken and stained (we had them remove some of it). In fairness, the beds were the most comfortable of any on any ship I have been on. But maintenance was deplorable. The ship is showing lack of attention. The owners seem to be milking it without putting back what is needed to keep it up. I would rate some of the elements of our cruise an A+, the excursions we chose also an A+, the ship itself a C- mostly due to maintenance, service and food issues. Most of the staff were helpful and friendly beyond normal expectation. A few were stupid and intrusive. One was downright ugly. Worse experience was in the health spa: we signed up for the hydro spa, a gigantic hi-tech hot tub, for a charge of $195 for the entire cruise. They claimed it was 100 degrees but it was actually much hotter. Many people complained but they insisted their equipment measured it correctly. Well, we have a spa at home set at 100 and we know the difference. We both have high blood pressure and cannot take very hot water. This was at least 105. They refused to check with a manual thermometer or refund our fee. A second spa incident: they called to reschedule my wife's massage because they were overbooked. We refused to do it because they wanted to schedule it very early. The next morning she was not feeling well and cancelled the massage, knowing there was a waiting list, but they refused a refund. So we wound up paying for things we never used. They will attempt to squeeze every dollar they can from you, often without regard for your experience. While some things were great, some were just so-so, and some really sucked. If we had avoided the spa entirely, and eaten more in the Italian restaurant and buffet, we would have been much happier with this cruise. Regarding the views and the excursions, only one word: spectacular!! Well maybe two: unbelievable!! The voyage down Tracy Arm was worth the price of the cruise all by itself. But that separates Nature from the ship. What we saw of Nature was just wonderful: the fjords, glaciers, the whales, eagles, etc. And the ship got us there comfortably and safely. So kudos to the captain and crew. That's why I title this "some good, some really bad." Perhaps a different ship on the same itinerary would have been better. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Ok so this was my first cruise in recent history. I was looking forward to visiting Alaska but my experience on the Oosterdam really left a lot to be desired. First of all the food. I ate in the buffett mostly but the two times I ate in ... Read More
Ok so this was my first cruise in recent history. I was looking forward to visiting Alaska but my experience on the Oosterdam really left a lot to be desired. First of all the food. I ate in the buffett mostly but the two times I ate in the restaraunt, the food was basically all the same as the buffett. By day three I was bored with the menu. Each day it was salmon, chicken pork and very rare beef. The salad bar one day had two types of lettuce. On day one there was sliced cucumbers. On day two there were tomatoes. On day three there was celery. The sauce changed daily but the basic items were always the same. Eating in the restaraunt wasn't a whole lot better as both nites the steak came totally rare when asking for it medium. Got to the point that I ordered it well done in hopes it might not be too bloody for me. I just found that the dining was a big downfall. Even though I know HAL has tried very hard to change the image from their older more sedate clientele I felt this cruise represented a way older crowd than I anticipated. The late shows were sparsely attended. I realize it was the first cruise of the season and that presented some issues. First the day to Tracy Arm we didn't go very far and never saw the glacier that was supposed to 'like Glacier Bay'. Ports of call in Sitka, Juneau and Ketchikan were all good however Ketchikan was only from 8 am till 12:30 and last port in Victoria we didn't arrive till 8 pm or so. The emphasis on shopping and visiting jewlery stores was a real turn off. Instead of handing us a port map and showing where the attractions are their 'shopping ambassador' met you and gave you a map of the jewlery stores. That I felt was a total turnoff. I did enjoy the staff but I think I'd like to experience a new ship with more dining choices. I know some people just love cruises but I met several on this cruise that were less than impressed. I know it wasn't the norm but this was a dissapointment for me. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
This was our second HAL cruise. It may be our last. We had taken this cruise five years ago on the Norwegian Pearl, but this time we wanted to try HAL as a previous repositioning cruise with HAL was very nice. We thought the food and ... Read More
This was our second HAL cruise. It may be our last. We had taken this cruise five years ago on the Norwegian Pearl, but this time we wanted to try HAL as a previous repositioning cruise with HAL was very nice. We thought the food and service might be better than on the Pearl. We were right about that. It was what we didn't know that would have caused us to choose the Pearl again. DEPARTURE HOTEL We always fly in a day before the cruise and out the day after a cruise primarily because my wife does not have a lot of stamina as a result of a medical condition. This time we chose the Mayflower Park Hotel in downtown Seattle and loved it. We took the train from the airport to the hotel, which has the advantage of being both very inexpensive and ending in the mall next door to the hotel. Fortunately the ride was on a Saturday afternoon and the train was not crowded - there is really no place to store Pepto and Bismal, our very large, very "findable" hot pink suitcases. (This was their first trip with us and they provided many a laugh while never being hard to spot in the sea of suitcases!) The hotel is about 5 blocks from Pike's Place Market. Being Mother's Day weekend the market was more awash in flowers than usual. We love street vendors, and we found a wonderful leather bag to replace one we'd bought 18 years ago in St. Thomas. EMBARKATION The Mayflower's van vendor is wonderful, and they delivered us to the ship at about 11:15 a.m. We were in our room by 11:45, and eating lunch by 12:15. STATEROOM We stayed in 6175, which is a handicapped aft suite. It was a wonderful room, with more room than the three of us needed. I have never seen so much storage! It was nicely appointed with excellent craftsmanship (I'm a woodworker, so I notice such things). The bed was excellent. The window was quite big with a wonderful desk in front of it and sash big enough to sit in. The balcony was very large with a table, 5 chairs and a chaise lounge. Previous reviews I'd read had warned that there is virtually no overhang over the balconies on deck 6 aft and that proved to be a handicap on the few times it rained during the cruise. I would have loved to have had the corner suite next door so I could have seen "around the corner" on the wrap-around balcony, but the very nice folk that stayed in it had booked before I. We had never sailed in an aft cabin. Though I don't care to not being able to see where we were headed, the advantage of very little wind as the ship moved through chilly air was nice indeed. The biggest disadvantage, at least on the Oosterdam, was at Tracy Arm. The captain got us there just fine, but once there he kept the ship pointed forward for a short time, then turned it around and promptly left. We only had moments to see the glacier and the harbor seals on the ice. Had I known that's what he was going to do I would have fought the crowds and gone forward for a while. Our room stewards Joe and Tree were just exceptional, astoundingly wonderful, beyond words, etc. DINING The food in the main dining room was excellent - almost every dish was as good as one could get anywhere. The service was mostly good except at lunch a couple of times. The Pinnacle was mediocre, crowded, with inadequate seating, and it always closed before the posted closing time. We always had our "first breakfast" via room service ordered for 6 a.m., and it always arrived at 5:30 a.m. It was quite tasteless. We were thankful for the order forms we filled out the night before and hung on the door, as room service did not answer the phone one single time on our cruise. As a result, we consider HAL's claim that food is available 24 hours a day just so much hot air. If you are hungry after about 8:30 at night, your menu choices are pizza and ice cream, at least until about 11. After that, forget it. We learned quickly to buy food in port, or get extra yogurt at breakfast for those late night snacks. What became amusing, but nice, was that later in the cruise coffee that we didn't order started showing up about an hour after breakfast was delivered. ACTIVITIES AND SHIP SHOPPING The "activities" were a source of derision, especially to our 20 year old daughter. It reminded me of the days I have visited folks in adult daycares. But, I don't go on cruises for ship activities, so that might explain why I thought they were so funny. My girls are professional shoppers and it didn't take them long to explore, then dismiss shopping on board - they forgot swimsuits and were out of luck as there were none. For me - no bandaids or (few) toiletries or socks or underwear? Wow. I've gotten on ships before with little or no extra clothing - on purpose - to just buy it there without having to bring a big bag, and it's a good thing I did not try that on Oosterdam! ENTERTAINMENT The one show we went to was ok; the female lead singer was very good, and some of the dancers were excellent. The routines were a mixed bag from mediocre to quite good. The comedian, Julie Barr, was quite funny. PORTS We love any port in Alaska and either shop or just walk around town visiting with locals. When shopping we avoid the cruise line's in-pocket shops and seek out locally owned places. Sitka is wonderful, as there are only about 3 places affiliated with the cruise lines. We found an amazing piece of whale bone art at Sitka Rose Gallery, and I could have maxed out a credit card or two there. (The piece beat us home to Oklahoma too!) The walk to, and around the national park in Sitka is stunning and not to be missed. I loved Sitka so much that I am going back in August for a week just to fish and hang out. There was a native art place in Ketchikan back from the harbor near the Creek Street shops that had an amazing piece of marble bear and seal (I can't remember the name of the shop), but ma wouldn't let me spend $4,000 on a rock! Darn. I'm still thinking about tracking the place down and calling them to get it. The State Museum at Juneau is small, but fun. One of the displays was a spoof and I felt rather silly after saying "Oh, give me a break" several times, then seeing the explanation outside the room only upon leaving it. We love shopping in Victoria, but unfortunately our favorite shop closed down/changed its inventory "because the younger generation does not care for fine woolens" drats. However, as I've detailed below (and noted that cruise reviews for the week before ours say the same thing), don't count on anything happening in Victoria as there is not time there- a pox on HAL! If you do get a little time in Victoria the taxis are half the cost of ship-provided transportation, and there was absolutely no waiting for one either to get to town or back to the ship. THE "YUCKIES" This ship had some mechanical issues. The toilet seemed to have a mind of its own re: flushing. Some of the time flushing occurred successfully upon pushing the button. Other times it might flush five minutes after pushing the button. Many other times it would flush an hour later. And at least 6 times it would not flush at all and we had to call maintenance. On one visit the tech actually admitted that they were having system problems all over the ship and whole sections would become inoperable because of "air locks". I asked a few of our neighbors if they were having problems, and all said "Oh, yes." I found it odd that most of the propulsion came out of the port side propeller. I even asked the captain himself about it and he gave me some nonsensical mumbo jumbo; I didn't care until it became obvious that the ship was running slow everywhere it went. We sat for four hours outside the Sitka harbor while they repaired "a problem with the anchor." Apparently it wouldn't come aboard. They only managed to make up 2.5 of the hours, so we were late getting into Ketchikan and lost that hour and a half in that port. As other Oosterdam cruisers have reported, we left Ketchikan half an hour ahead of the Norwegian Pearl, but the Pearl passed us late afternoon. We got into Victoria an hour and a half late and saw the Pearl already docked and unloaded on time. We ran into a local who claimed his brother was a harbor pilot, who explained that Oosterdam had a history of running late; that the pilots thought it was because the captain wanted to collect his fuel savings bonus, and that none of the cruise lines wanted to stop in Victoria anyway but were required by law to do so. Who knows if this is true or hogwash, but at any rate, the whole is not a positive. The end result, whether because of ship issues or captain's motives, we lost a lot of time in port. So, if I ever go HAL again, I will assume that the itinerary is probably baloney. DISEMBARKATION Walked right off at 9 a.m., found our suitcases immediately, and were outside in the van back to the Mayflower by 9:30. SUMMARY The food was worthy, the cabin extremely nice, and most of the service was outstanding. However, if we do a third Alaska cruise, we will go on the Pearl again, or try some other line. Toilets are things one only notices when they don't work, and dishonored itineraries left me feeling less than comfortable about trying this one again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
The Captain kept referring to the "Beautiful Oosterdam". Well he should have walked around to see it more closely. So let me tell you about this ship: Threadbare furniture, cracked leather seating, filthy chairs you ... Read More
The Captain kept referring to the "Beautiful Oosterdam". Well he should have walked around to see it more closely. So let me tell you about this ship: Threadbare furniture, cracked leather seating, filthy chairs you wouldn't want to sit in, lampshades in dining room scotch taped together, restrooms that either smelled of urine or were not working, 3 out 8 treadmills dysfunctional and our bathroom drain was broken and had to be used manually to get rid of the water. The Lido Buffet was a Chinese fire drill - you had to run all over the place to get your meal. The food was cold and the selection boring. The drinks were served in juice glasses so you had to fill them up several times. And there was absolutely no logic to the layout......none! And you couldn't help yourself to anything it all had to be served. The cabin stewards were magnificent but the waitstaff was unhelpful. Whatever you asked them the answer was "I don't know".......unless they sent for their supervisor. My guess was they didn't speak English. On the plus side: the restaurant food was tasty, well presented and superior to other Carnival lines; the entertainment was professional and the disembarkation procedure was phenomenal. Unfortunately this was my first - and probably last - Holland America Cruise as it did not meet by a long shot my expectations. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Cruise Critic Review of the Oosterdam Hawaii Trip Feb 25, 2012 First let me start with the positives. The service staff on this ship are great. The room stewards work hard to keep their assigned rooms clean and neat. The bar staff ... Read More
Cruise Critic Review of the Oosterdam Hawaii Trip Feb 25, 2012 First let me start with the positives. The service staff on this ship are great. The room stewards work hard to keep their assigned rooms clean and neat. The bar staff are friendly and courteous - special shout out to the Ocean Bar staff (Eddie et al). We ate all our meals in Lido and were impressed both with the service and the quality of food. The Captain was approachable, informative and friendly. On our entry into the Hawaiian Islands, there was a pod of hump back whales that we could watch frolicking in the sea. That was really the highlight of the journey! Kudos to Holland America for being not just handicap accessible but handicap friendly. there were many seniors on this cruise that needed assistance and it was provided with a friendly smile. We had 2 medical emergencies on board that were handled in an expedited fashion, showing that the customer truly does come first when it comes to health issues. A captain that sends out for medication to be delivered by air drop from the US Coast Guard out of San Francisco and stops the ship to retrieve said medications shows a great respect for his medical staff and their patent and should be commended for his handling of the situation. The negatives: No one's fault but the weather just didn't' cooperate. Can't blame Holland America but 10 days at sea with wind, cloud cover, cool and rainy to say nothing of when in Hawaii itself tended to colour the whole trip in a negative light. The first couple of days at sea were rough with moderate swells for much of the journey. This wasn't an issue for myself or hubbie but I think a lot people were battling sea sickness for the first while. Our room was intruded on at 1030 PM by someone who only identified himself when my husband called out to ask if I was ok - the intruder was in our washroom and Hubbie thought it was me. When he called out, a male voice responded that he was maintenance checking our toilet. We did complain to the front desk staff about this and they said they would address the appropriate department. We did get an apology but both feel that everyone was busy covering their you know whats and no one would explain or take responsibility for this frightening intrusion. The Oosterdam is not that old a ship and I understand that it has recently been refitted. However, everywhere there are signs of wear and tear in this ship. The carpets are worn, the furniture is worn and there is often a musty smell in some areas. While the ship claims that the casino is smoke free with only designated areas to smoke in - That's a bit of an oxymoron. If you allow smoking, it drifts and all are exposed. It was nice that the eating areas were all non-smoking and would have been nicer if the casino was non smoking. Designated smoking areas need to be walled off and have a good air return so others are not exposed to the second hand smoke. Even to get to the shows, one had to run the gauntlet of stale smoke. Also the musty smell was predominate in the area just outside the Queen's Lounge. In summary, if what you want is a relaxing holiday with not much to see for most of the vacation, then this is the trip for you. If, like me you like to watch the shorelines and ships pass by, pass this one up. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
This cruise was our third cruise in the past 3 years to Hawaii on 3 different cruise lines, our second HAL cruise on a Vista Class Ship, and our fifth cruise in the last 3 years. Our other HAL cruise was on the Zuiderdam doing the inside ... Read More
This cruise was our third cruise in the past 3 years to Hawaii on 3 different cruise lines, our second HAL cruise on a Vista Class Ship, and our fifth cruise in the last 3 years. Our other HAL cruise was on the Zuiderdam doing the inside passage to Alaska. We booked VA5185 cabin, a stern veranda cabin. We always have a wonderful time on our cruises and this cruise was no exception. Lin was excited before we left to be cruising on HAL and was anticipating that this would end up being our cruise line of choice for future cruises. Let me start by saying that the crew on the Oosterdam were the happiest (genuinely happy, not corporate mandated happy) crew we have ever sailed with. We saw behavior of some passengers that was absolutely atrocious and the crew handled themselves with a dignity and respect that made the offending passengers look like idiots. Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived early and when we were allowed to board, were one of the first people on-board. This was actually the easiest embarkation we have ever had on a cruise, even compared to two previous cruises where we were in suites. We did not have a cabin steward on this cruise, we had a cabin elf. Everything was always magically done and any request was met with a smile and was accomplished promptly. Our cabin elf was named Harry and we left a "Let Us Know" card praising his work at the front desk. We purchased the Thermal Suite package for the cruise beforehand knowing that the price would be cheaper on embarkation day. Upon embarking the ship we went to the spa and verified our reservation and they told us that since the special was $200 less than what we paid beforehand they would only charge our on-board account for the special price, in effect giving us another $200 of on-board credit. We absolutely love the Thermal Suite and made good use of it during the cruise. Our cabin was a little larger than I thought it would be and our veranda was huge compared to regular veranda cabins. It was about 15 or 16 feet deep. It was outfitted with two of the faux-wicker loungers and two faux-wicker chairs and the obligatory small table. This was our first time ever having a fully covered veranda and we found it to be perfect. You can find more details and photos in our blog at: http://thegeomonkeys.com/2012/03/our...osterdam-2012/ We love the promenade deck on the Vista Class ships as you can walk completely around the ship on one deck unlike some other ships that require you to go up and down stairs at either end of the ship to make a complete lap. The first night out of San Diego we had 30 foot seas and 20 foot seas the first full day at sea. Neither of us are bothered with motion sickness and slept like babies with the rocking motion. Many others were not so lucky and the bags and medication were readily available for those who needed it. This is the first time that I have ever seen a formal night canceled and rescheduled due to rough seas. We don't do formal nights and had made reservations for the Canaletto Restaurant for those nights so on the rescheduled night we ate in the Lido instead. The food on this cruise was good overall, probably better than we expected based on previous cruises. The shows were hit and miss, as expected. We always sit near an exit so we can escape if need be and we did that several times. We don't do Bingo, Karaoke, or Trivia, although we will sit in occasionally on Trivia or Karaoke to have a good laugh. We felt the cultural program left a lot to be desired. We attended the first one and left when the "expert" was basically reading a script. We don't do ships excursions because they are generally overpriced and we aren't sheep and don't like to be herded. We had arranged our own things to do while in Hawaii and enjoyed them immensely. It was nice to see that the muster drill had a little more importance placed on it although HAL needs to tweak it some. Roll was taken, under threat of not being able to sail if you weren't there. That is a good thing. However, to have everyone meet at their muster station and have a crew member try to show everyone how they should put on their life jacket when only the people in the front row could see them is rather silly, especially for first time cruisers. Our first stop was in Lahaina, Maui. This is a tender port (thankfully the only one on this cruise) and the tendering process was absolutely horrible. We have been here on two other cruises, on different lines, and HAL really screwed this up. They put 5 tenders in the water and found that two of them were broken down. REALLY! SERIOUSLY! Rather than putting in two others to replace the broken down ones, they decided that they would work on them in the water to fix them. Maybe they thought the other eleven on the ship were broken down also. These are the life boats that would be used in an emergency and they weren't working properly. So much for the enhanced muster drill procedures. From the time we got our tender tickets (#10) it took us 2 ½ hours to be put on a tender. I feel sorry for the people who showed up for their tickets 45 minutes later and had ticket #36. On our other cruises we never had more than a 20 minute wait after getting our tickets. Returning to the ship was excruciating also. We stood on the dock for over an hour for a tender to show up to take us back to the ship. There was no traffic in the harbor and the seas were calm. The tendering process was ridiculous. HAL definitely dropped the ball on this one. We did our own things on the other islands and getting off the ship was easy since all HAL had to do was make sure the gangway was secure. Unfortunately a huge storm pretty much canceled anything on Kauai. Roads were washed out and torrential rain dominated the agenda. Amazingly, some passengers were absolutely incensed that their tours were canceled and blamed HAL for it. More childish, spoiled, entitled people! Disembarkation in San Diego was a breeze. Unusual to be sure, so we'll take it and enjoy it for a change. Now for something new in my reviews. Ahhh! To Dream. IF I WERE KING: (and I had unlimited funds) I understand some of these thoughts are not possible, some are funny and some could be put into service. 1) Make it so that you could view your on board account on your stateroom television. 2) Make the atrium large enough to feel like a destination of it's own. 3) Make the Vista Showroom large enough to accommodate everyone that would like to attend a show there so you don't have to show up 45 minutes early to get a seat. 4) Have muster roll call taken with hand held mobile scanners that they use when you disembark the ship. 5) Hold muster drills inside (requires more seating in the Vista Lounge, etc) so that elderly people aren't standing for long periods of time while roll is taken. Everyone might be able to see the life vest demo that way also. 6) Make sure all tenders (life boats) are operational prior to needing them. 7) Use more tenders to get people ashore in a reasonable amount of time. 8) Install a button to turn on the T-Pool jets that can be reached while IN the T-Pool. 9) Install sensors in the Thermal Suite that will sense when someone on the tile loungers is snoring that will drop down a "Cone Of Silence" (remember Maxwell Smart) around them so others don't have to listen to them snoring. 10) Install a human wash (similar to an automatic car wash) at the entrance to all hot tubs, pools, and T-Pools so that everyone has to take a soapy shower before entering the public pools. 11) Cappuccino Bomb would be on the dessert menu every night. Prior to our cruise we saw posts from people on Cruise Critic that have sailed on the Oosterdam who said they were disappointed with the condition of parts of the ship. These people, some of whom are long time cruisers and posters to CC, were vilified, attacked, and called trolls from other boards because they dared to say something was "wrong" with the "O". We heard many comments while on-board from people who were upset about the condition of some sections of the ship. So we did a little investigation while on-board to see for ourselves. Feel free to yell at me now for what I am about to post. There are areas of the "O" that are in need of repair. Should they ruin someone's vacation? I don't think so, but everyone needs to decide for themselves. It's very easy to attack someone you don't know when it is your word against theirs, so I decided to take pictures to support what I found and people can make their own judgments. The "O" underwent a dry dock a few months ago so I expected her to be in pretty good shape throughout. Yet, some items were not addressed during the dry dock, but someone had to make the decision that these conditions were acceptable for HAL's standards. You can view the photos and what the complaints were that we heard about while on board at the following link: http://thegeomonkeys.com/2012/03/hol...am-march-2012/ The offensive, obstinate, self-righteous, arrogant, demanding, holier than thou passengers were in greater numbers on this cruise than on any other we have taken. The only cruise we have taken that had similar clientele was on the Zuiderdam. The standards that HAL has for what is acceptable in public areas for furnishings also surprised us. While it didn't ruin our cruise we found much higher standards on Princess and Celebrity. Therefore, we will not sail on HAL again, not because of the crew but because of the clientele. __________________ Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
We are Australian,frequent cruisers, now that we are in retired. As such, we can choose to travel whenever and on whatever ships we like. This short cruise on the Oosterdam was chosen because of a previous wonderful cruise on the ... Read More
We are Australian,frequent cruisers, now that we are in retired. As such, we can choose to travel whenever and on whatever ships we like. This short cruise on the Oosterdam was chosen because of a previous wonderful cruise on the Westerdam, her sister ship, and because it sailed out of our home port, Sydney. We looked forward to a voyage with quality inclusions including decor, food and service - the ports were unimportant as we had been to the Sth pacific before. Unfortunately we disembarked feeling very dissapointed. Perhaps we are now spoilt, having cruised on many different ships in many exotic and interesting locations. However, I dont think we were the only passengers who found the ship to have boring and uninspiring activities, entertainment and food. So, to be fair I will list the points that were: Favourable - the size of the verandah - very spacious, enough for 3 people to sit - the stateroom service - efficient and friendly cabin steward and assistant who was happy to vacuum the sand I dragged in - the library - good selection of books - the open dining room service - we were met each night by a wonderful smiling personable "seating manager"( dont know his title) and other staff who greeted us by name and pandered to my gluten free dinner requests. - the popcorn in the screening room - eggs Benedict in various ways Unfavourable - The drill on deck - manually calling out the cabin numbers for 20 mins while we stood and were spoken to like children that had been naughty! - the boring music in the lounges and deck - at this time of year we needed something lively not something to put us to sleep, the rough seas did that! - The pathetic movies in the screening room - some good but some atrosious - the variety of the food in the Lido - what was there was ok but every day the same thing, OMG, there sure was creativity lacking in the deserts with no gluten-free selections. The Pizza looked so tired and unappertising each day! The salads were the same and lacked flavour - the production shows - they were OK but perhaps the lethargy we noticed was due to their contracts coming to an end at the end of the cruise! - The Captains noon announcement - OMG - talk about boring. These noon announcements are something we look forward to on cruises but not on the Oosterdam. Our personality lacking Captain should have delegated these announcements to someone who wanted to do them!! - the state of some areas of the deck by the end of the cruise - food and cigarette butt strewn areas!! - some entertainers were more like buskers - please HAL, we expected better! I think that is enough of my negative comments but the whole time we were on board, we got the impression that HAL was cutting costs by reducing staff and the quality of entertainers, food and other minor things. Maybe we are wrong but our 10 day experience was not one we wanted to repeat. We are booked on the Eurodam in october and only hope it is a better experience. In the meantime, we will continue to cruise with a variety of cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We expected a much better experience than we had. This was our first time on this line and this ship. Food was good, but dining room service terrible. We complained about cold food and time between servings and were told there was only ... Read More
We expected a much better experience than we had. This was our first time on this line and this ship. Food was good, but dining room service terrible. We complained about cold food and time between servings and were told there was only 1 waiter per five tables which could mean 30 plus guests to serve. Open seating was disorganized and had long lines for early seating. We ended up ordering breakfast in room and going for sit down dining for lunch and endured the terrible service at dinner. We could not find a lot we wanted to do on the ship. The staff that does activities is subcontracted and minimal. Might as well forget Internet access. Tried to log on to Gmail and message came up that their software does not support Google. Could not open email and they refused to adjust the package I had bought to the tune of $100. It would not support tablets either. This department is also subcontracted. On last day of cruise people were offering others money to print boarding passes. Under cabin I have listed all the problems we had with it. The crow's nest was supposed to be library and reading room? Too many other activities there to be a good place to read and relax. Even a cruise critic meeting that got real loud. Other venues for activities are small. Lido buffet is cut up and disorganized and no trays so you could collect your food before you sat down. Had a burger on deck was dry and tasteless. Early on in the cruise I smelled mold around the Greenhouse Spa which seemed to be corrected later on. Upholstery on chairs in Crow's nest had holes on the arms and one glass top table had water and dirt under the glass. Buttons missing from the leather seats there also. Daily movies were offered in a screening room with seating for only 25-30 people. People were continually disappointed. Entertainment was just average. Seems like a lot of activities are offered to sell something, like spa treatments, etc. Art department is very small. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We arrived at the port in San Diego at around 11:30 a.m. and though there was a line we were aboard the Oosterdam in good time. We didn't have to wait for our cabin like on other ships. We went straight to our cabin, dropped off our ... Read More
We arrived at the port in San Diego at around 11:30 a.m. and though there was a line we were aboard the Oosterdam in good time. We didn't have to wait for our cabin like on other ships. We went straight to our cabin, dropped off our stuff and headed for the Lido deck. The food was ready and waiting for us. My luggage was in the cabin when we returned from lunch, but my companion had to wait until 4:45 p.m. for hers. The cruise to Hawaii took four days and was relaxing except that we did not receive any water in our stateroom the first three days. We thought that they didn't provide it in the stateroom anymore, until there was two bottles in the room on the fourth day along with a receipt for three bottles that we never received. I couldn't find the cabin steward so I returned the water to the front desk and requested that no more be left in the stateroom for the rest of the cruise. The next day we returned to the stateroom to find a bottle of water with a receipt for two more bottles. Once again I took the water to the front desk and requested our bill be corrected, which it was. When I returned to the cabin I left the cabin steward a note requesting the removal of all items in the mini bar so we were not charged for anything else. He complied. As I stated, the cruise to Hawaii was relaxing, but on the cruise back it seemed as though the number of children doubled in size. I was told by another passenger that most of them were children of the crew, which I could not substantiate. I certainly hope that Holland America does not risk the loss of paying customers in this way. The unsupervised children took over the pool and all three of the hot tubs. At one time there was an elderly person with a noodle in the deep end of the pool and the kids were jumping in the water on both sides of him. Another time a child in the hot tub was splashing people as they practiced line dancing. The aft pool is for adults only, but it is outside and the air temperature stayed in the 50's and 60's. The aft pool should be for the children; it is even decorated for them. The shore excursions were organized and informative. The food in open seating was excellent on some nights, but bad on other nights. Service after the first night was excellent. We had Gede as our server after the first night and we requested him every night until the end of the cruise. We took a cruise to the Panama Canal a couple of years ago on the Zuiderdam and was very impressed with the food. I guess your can't judge by cruise lines, you have to judge each ship on it's own merit. The shows were good, especially the Oosterdam singers and dancers. I would have liked to see more of them. We were scheduled for disembarkation between 9:50 and 10:00 a.m. but were called around 9:10 and went directly off the ship. Easiest disembarkation ever. When I returned home I checked my credit card account online and was again charged $12.03 for the mini bar, that was empty since day four. Never again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
After some 15 cruises with Princess we have recently become unhappy with some of the changes be made by them and decided we would reach out to HAL and see if we could find a new home with them. We thought that they catered to an older and ... Read More
After some 15 cruises with Princess we have recently become unhappy with some of the changes be made by them and decided we would reach out to HAL and see if we could find a new home with them. We thought that they catered to an older and perhaps a more sophisticated demographic which we found to be quite incorrect. We looked forward to our Chirstmas cruise on the Oosterdam but unfortunately we left the ship quite disappointed. Likes: Friendly officers & crew Well trained and friendly PSD staff Easy Check in Meals generally tasty Breakfast dishes excellent Good buffet lines Complimentary after dinner specialty coffees albeit not brewed Linen hand towels in public restrooms Gents being handed jackets on formal nights Santa Gifts for children on Christmas Balcony furniture Table fully set in MDR Size and shape of coffee cups in MDR Brewed coffee in MDR and throughout the ship....free No steward carts in hallways Very comfortable beds Towel animals on bed each evening Full hot breakfast available from room service Wine stewards in MDR Not being hustled for drinks around pool areas Scooped ice-cream available free Juice available free in buffet Fully tiled cabin bathrooms Medicine chest in bathroom Glass holders in bathroom Adjustable table in cabin Coffee, tea, cookies set out for bridge players and CC meeting Dislikes: Tables in outdoor bars and buffet areas left un-bused and dirty for long periods Unexciting production shows Lack luster entertainment No Laundromat Closing of MDR on sea day for Mariner's luncheon MDR closed on port day, no help for H/C person in Lido buffet Very crowded MDR for dinner Dinner service extremely slow; dinners took full two hours each night Number of out of order fixtures in public restrooms bathroom Small atrium No refund of FCC after 4 years Very small accessible cabins No onboard wheel chairs for disabled; must rent at cost of $200 for 7 days Very limited shops and boutiques Crow's-nest Lounge used for too many activities...coffee bar, library, dance classes, trivia contests, internet lounge, meeting room...... Large columns blocking views in Vista Theatre Glasses and bottles in pool area Poor condition of Lido poolside lounges. Very limited cabin closet space Bath soap, shampoo and conditioner in dispensers Limited drawer space Very small ice buckets....ice melted before happy hour Cabin fridge used for mini-bar Wines more expensive than other lines Running out of pool towels in late afternoon Dinners often cool Meat often tough Smoking including cigars permitted Onboard activities poorly organized and equipped No note paper in cabin Dirty glasses not removed from cabin in evening. San Diego is such a poor terminal non US Citizens, including Canadians MUST report to USINS at 0645 with passports, not withstanding HAL and INS having passport and NEXUS information months ahead. Gentlemen allowed in MDR at diner in shorts and t-shirts. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Detailed reviews in some areas, need some time to read... This was a family vacation during Christmas week for our family while the kids were off school. We sailed with Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean before. Of course, we ... Read More
Detailed reviews in some areas, need some time to read... This was a family vacation during Christmas week for our family while the kids were off school. We sailed with Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean before. Of course, we could not expect "perfect" in any of the cruise lines when comparing them in different ways like food, service, cabin, activities, ship's design & condition, etc... Every passenger enjoys different things and has different opinions. For our purpose of cruising, we are looking for family fun and fine food. So, my review about this cruise is based on a family with kids. When the kids are happy, the parents are happy. I have heard this cruise line has more elderly than any other cruise lines before choosing this cruise. But I realized that HAL has added the kid's programs and since it was a Holiday cruise, there should be more kids on-board than usual. Besides, I watched HAL's on-line video, it offers kid's hands-on culinary classes, which is rare to see in other cruise lines, so there must be something unique to go for - just one more reason I picked HAL. However, in all 7 days during the cruise, none of the culinary classes were offered for kids. There was a day on the schedule that the kids can play dodgeball, but there was no dodgeball on the ship, the kids were sooo disappointed. There was no rock-climbing wall, no mini-golf... For adults, there was no "hairy leg" competition or pool deck challeges. Most of the games for adults were trivias, where I learned some educational facts, but too many of one game became boring. Dance classes were held in a tiny place, where could not even fit 20 people, and there were only 2 dancing classes in all 7 days. 4 out of 6 shows were just boring. There was no show at all in the last night. As compared to Norwegian Star we sailed the Christmas in 2010, the show in the last night was the grand one, which combined all performers to produce a never-forgetting grand show with a mix of magic, ballets, modern dance, and stage special effects. Norwegian Star hired professional performers from Las Vegas to throw in different shows every night. The very first night already offered a show (not a welcome show), Band on the Run. Then, there were Duo Acrobatique, Extreme Vegas, Comedy Hypnotist, The Second City (comedy), a musical show, and the grand show Elements! On the Christmas Eve, the cruise director guided his cruise team members to line up along the beautiful attrium stairs to sing Christmas Carols along with the passengers...have not even mentioned how involved the cruise director was in the cruise, we saw him everywhere organizing games and activities. He was even in one of the shows himself! That were what Norwegain Star offered. Well, get back to HAL...after all, there was not many things to do in Oosterdam. I saw people reading their books everywhere. Even HAL tried to run kids programs, but there are still a lot more rooms for improvements if HAL really wants to attract families with kids. When kids don't like it, we don't like it because it was a FAMILY vacation. There was a problem with the ship's keying system. We booked 2 cabins and we needed to have extra room keys for each family member. It took the front desk 3 times before the extra keys could work. It was just a nightmare, it wasted us 90 minutes to get extra room keys that will work, plus we did not know the keys worked or not until we went up to our cabin to try out, then went back down to front desk to line-up for reporting the problem, it was repeated 3 times! Every time we needed to go to the back of the line... Good things about this ship are that the overall food is the best out of the rest of the cruises we sailed before. The breakfast menu in the dining rooms has more choices than any other ships: Dutch Breakfast, Japanese Breakfast, English Breakfast, Full American Breakfast, Scandinavian Breakfast, etc. Juice choices during breakfast include tomato juce, V-8, grapefruit juice, pineapple juice, grape juice, cranberry juice, prune juice, apple juice, and of course orange juice. The best of all is that juices can be ordered during lunch or dinner, too. Other cruise lines already cut back on juices that there was extra charge for ordering. Oh, forgot to mention that we had free soda in the captain toast and the champagne brunch. It is not an expensive item but none of the other cruise lines we sailed before gave out free soda. Also, cappuccino and expresso were also free to order during lunch and dinner at the dining rooms besides coffee. There is a good feature at the buffet that it offers 80% of the dining room's dinner menus at the buffet. If passengers just wanted to grab a quick bite at the buffet, they won't miss out too much of the fine food from the dining rooms. It was the first time I tasted Duck Pate with Black Truffles in cruising, 8-oz Lobster Tails, and the finest cut of Filet Mignon. The afternoon tea was still offered in HAL, which is a traditional feature for cruising. None of my other past cruises offered this. However, the dining room was not open for every lunch, it only opened for 2 days for all passengers, 2 extra days for past passengers. The passengers were stuck with buffets on the days the dining rooms were not open. Even the past passengers have privilege to enjoy 2 more lunches at the dining rooms, however, the food choices were just like cafe...nothing as special as HAL reserving that 2 days especially for past passengers. One of the lunch dishes was that cheap swai fillet, I couldn't believe it is being served in a cruise. If you know where the swai was raised from, you dare not to eat it. Speaking of negative reviews on dining room dishes. There were 2 port days that the dining dish choices were the worst, nothing look good or exciting. We rather had hamburgers by the pool deck... I can feel that the cruise director tried to make the ship to be kids-friendly. He threw-in a Santa's Arrival party in the lounge on the Christmas day. It worths lots of time and efforts to organize this event. Kids and other passengers were delighted in that event. But you can only see this on Christmas day. Without this, the cruise is even more boring... The captain, cruise director, and all cruise team members were very polite. The services were excellent. Food was better than other ships which we sailed before (some areas mentioned need to be improved). If HAL can pay more attention to the kids programs, adult activities, and shows, then this will be my #1 choice of cruise line. However, there is no such thing as "perfect" cruise since everyone expects different things. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
This was our second time cruising with HAL. Our first time was 1998 Hawaii and back, and was the standard by which we judged all other cruises since; the service was great. Wanted to try HAL again now that we are older and making more ... Read More
This was our second time cruising with HAL. Our first time was 1998 Hawaii and back, and was the standard by which we judged all other cruises since; the service was great. Wanted to try HAL again now that we are older and making more money and see if it was worth building loyalty points. Also our 20th anniversary. The suite service and concierge level was the only thing that saved the cruise, and that we were willing to pay extra for the fine dining. The restaurant staff and service was what we had in the dining room those many years ago, it was great! And the food was several times better than Princess' Sabatino's. As another cruiser said, the dining room was abysmal. No smiles, no wine list, I was told I could only get the house wine. The Lido food was merely OK and the servers there were harried and showed it. I was expecting greater things from the hype about their Chef-retooled cuisine, it should have gone to all levels of dining. Room service took hours and the sandwich I ordered off the room service menu was great and perfect the first time and the second made completely wrong. We could have waited another couple of hours for them to make it right, I guess. The room was great, very spacious. The bed was wonderful and we have ordered one from HAL, they sell them. The concierge service was great. We went prepared to spend most of our $ on liquor and tips, which we did. Also, even though the SA is a suite, the embarkation people made me get in the regular line, saying it was Superior only. After winding through the line to where I could reach the expediter, she said the same thing the looked at the room number and expedited us. HAL did not win our loyalty. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
This 4-day reposition down the Western US coast was the least satisfying HAL cruise we've ever taken. The atmosphere aboard was truly uninspired. In fact, it seemed as if this short sailing was a Blow Off. The entire crew seemed ... Read More
This 4-day reposition down the Western US coast was the least satisfying HAL cruise we've ever taken. The atmosphere aboard was truly uninspired. In fact, it seemed as if this short sailing was a Blow Off. The entire crew seemed distracted and disengaged, unlike most crews we've had on other HAL ships. Were they exhausted from the just-finished Alaska season? Were they focused on making the transition to the up-coming winter season? Was there some sort of on-going, behind-the-scenes crisis disturbing the crew? Who knows, but the passengers aboard between Vancouver and San Diego were clearly not their top priority. The food, in terms of both variety and quality, was sub-par. The entertainment offered was sub-par. The service was somewhat slow, and certainly lacked HAL's usual personal warmth. There were no special events for the Mariners aboard, no Officers' Reception for all passengers, no Good Morning Oosterdam sessions. This cruise seemed like a real strip-down operation. And the disembarkation process, which is the last chance HAL has to leave passengers with positive impressions, was terribly mishandled, then botched, by an inept Cruise Director who lacks the required skills for clear communication, organized process management, and successful crowd control. Even when we fairly grant that a 4-day transitional sailing has to be full of tough, unusual problems, this dis-spirited, disappointing cruise should cause HAL's management some real concern. On the positive side, the ship was clean and in good repair. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
I with my wife and friends traveled to Seattle to cruise on the Holland America Line Oosterdam, as first time cruisers I was really looking to get going on our voyage to Alaska. The ship looked very impressive and after finally getting on ... Read More
I with my wife and friends traveled to Seattle to cruise on the Holland America Line Oosterdam, as first time cruisers I was really looking to get going on our voyage to Alaska. The ship looked very impressive and after finally getting on board we checked out our cabin; I expected it to be really cramped but I was surprised how nice it was, my wife was not so impressed. We were next door to our friends so me met on our adjoining buy separated verandas. The problems presented themselves after realising that there was so real service in the dining room it was a buffet style lunch but after getting our food which was excellent we had to get on another line to get our drinks, 8 ounce glasses of juice or ice tea,leaving or food cold and unprotected.This continued for every meal at the casual dining room. The main dining room was excellent but the the formal meals were with the king crab, lobster and fillet mignon were when we were at open seas, the shipped tossed around that pretty good so if you were prone to sea sickness your substitute meal was green apples and tea if the ship served the fancier meals when they were in more protected waters it would have been much calm seas to sail in and more passengers would have enjoyed the king crab, lobster, and fillet mignon, maybe I just answered my own question. I would also explain that every morning I, we, awoken by crew members dragging and then slamming the deck furniture together at 5;30am every morning the front desk said that they would investigate and correct this problem, the told me that everyday, very polite but very unprofessional They gave us $100 for ruining our sleep every morning. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Just back from an Alaska cruise ( our third), this time on the Oosterdam. We were so disappointed by the ship! The ship is old, worn and in need of immediate refurbishing, both in the public areas as well as the cabins. In our deluxe ... Read More
Just back from an Alaska cruise ( our third), this time on the Oosterdam. We were so disappointed by the ship! The ship is old, worn and in need of immediate refurbishing, both in the public areas as well as the cabins. In our deluxe veranda suite, the leather chairs and sofa were worn down to the nubs... the yellow chair arms were brown! The towels, even in this very high category of cabins, were threadbare. The pool deck is chipped, the plastic "wicker" on the pool chaises are fraying... on and on. The food in the dining room is less than mediocre, the Indonesian wait staff, while very sweet and charming, have little grasp of English and the wrong food order is more common than not. The Lido is totally impossible... no flow of people and unless you don't mind waiting on long lines for a long time, and then trying to find a table is exasperating. On a positive note, the extras accorded to suite passengers ( which is why we booked this ship) are plentiful. We enjoyed dinner in the Pinnacle, with excellent service and excellent food, especially the steaks. Breakfast was also served to suite passengers in the Pinnacle, a lovely perk. The Maitre D and waiters were sure our favorite table was always available. The Le Cirques dinner ($40) was truly outstanding and worth the money. After sampling a few very mediocre lunches in the dining room, we choose to eat in either the Pinnacle or the italian specialty restaurant nightly. The food and service in the Pinnacle was outstanding and well worth the extra $20. The services of the private concierge in the Neptune Lounge were also excellent. Unless you're booking this level of cabin ----- book on another ship!!!! We've traveled on 2 of HAL's larger and newer ships and had nothing but good things to say about them. This ship is tired, old, needs a re-vamp in decor as well as food. Doesn't even come close to the Celebrity cruise we took in the spring. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Just returned from a 7 day Alaska Explorer cruise on the Oosterdam. Following is a short recap of the trip. Spent first night in Seattle at Fairmont. Transfer to hotel was easy and quick. Afternoon at Pike's Place Market and ... Read More
Just returned from a 7 day Alaska Explorer cruise on the Oosterdam. Following is a short recap of the trip. Spent first night in Seattle at Fairmont. Transfer to hotel was easy and quick. Afternoon at Pike's Place Market and then a ballgame at Safeco Field made for a great start. Breakfast the next morning in the main dining room at the Fairmont was elegant/good, but expensive. However we did not feel cheated at all, well worth the cost. Transfer from hotel to pier 99 (north of downtown) was easy after checking in with Holland desk in Fairmont lobby. Getting into the pier building was one of the low points. Confused chaos was the order of the day. Holland folks telling you different things. Finally one lady just took us in on her own into the check in building. Once inside we were able to go to the deluxe verandah suite line and got quickly through the line and on to the ship. Ship is nice, but a bit worn. Dry dock is coming up in October for the Oosterdam. We were on the Rotterdam deck just down the hall from the Neptune lounge. Room was very nice and roomy. Plenty of closet space and drawer space for three. Our son said the sofa bed was the best he had ever slept on. Neptune lounge is an excellent feature. Snacks were always fresh and the staff was the best. Room stewards were amazing. Things were just as you wanted. I opted to tip the stewards 20.00 each day during the trip. They seemed to appreciate that. We had open seating for dinner, but asked the Neptune lounge personnel to book us each evening at 7:45. This worked out great. Food was better than Carnival and about the same as Celebrity and Princess. The formal nights had the best food. Service in the dining room was lacking. Two nights my dinner order was incorrect and they tried to get me to take the incorrect entrEe. Breakfast in the main dining room was excellent. We stayed away from the Lido deck. We could never find a place to sit and it was very frustrating. Pinnacle Grill one evening was very good. Steak was excellent. Well worth the cost. One nice tip for breakfast in room. Write what you want on the slip you hang out and you will get it. We wrote the Dutch breakfast on the slip and received them. We saw all the shows. The illusionist was very good. Vista lounge was full when he was performing. The comedian was also good. The 'Broadway' shows were lacking. Vista lounge was only half full for them. Holland needs to get the message! Casino staff was helpful and gave good advice. Lots to do on the ship during the day. Trivia in the Crow's Nest was fun. A Tarot deck of cards has 75 cards. Who knew! Stops were at Glacier Bay, Juneau, Sitka, Kethickan, and Victoria. Went to salmon hatchery, Mendenhall Glacier, and Salmon Bake in Juneau. Very good excursion. Did not do anything in Sitka. Heard lots of folks say the otter/whale watching was good. Went fishing in Ketchikan and had great success. Victoria was great. Went to Butchart Gardens on Sat night and saw fireworks. Stops were all good. Glacier Bay was OK, but wish we would have cut that down and had more time in Victoria. Disembarkation was very easy. Opted for luggage direct for 19 per person. Well worth the cost. Put luggage tags on bags and did not see them until we reached home. Overall good cruise, but some of the bad things overpowered the good. Three stars. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
We loved our stateroom and our steward, Simon. The staff onboard were wonderful. The food was only okay, mostly overcooked and under-flavored, with few choices. I think they serve mediocre food so you'll pay extra for the specialty ... Read More
We loved our stateroom and our steward, Simon. The staff onboard were wonderful. The food was only okay, mostly overcooked and under-flavored, with few choices. I think they serve mediocre food so you'll pay extra for the specialty restaurants, which we didn't try because it cost more. We sometimes ate on the Lido deck because the food was about the same there, but oftentimes there were no clean tables to sit at and tables with dirty dishes and half-eaten food sat uncleaned.We saw lots of whales and seagulls while on board. One of the best expeditions was an independent one with a young man with a small boat who took 6 of us out in the bay. We saw lots of sea otters, many mothers holding little babies and one group of them with at least 50 otters. We saw a grey whale with lots of barnacles so close we could have touched it and it swam under our boat, rolled over underneath the boat and came out the other side. Amazing! My husband booked an independent fishing expedition and caught 4 salmon, now fileted and in our freezer. But...the itinerary for Sitka said that we would be there at 9 o'clock so we paid for reservations for the small boat cruise for 10. However, unless you had booked your expedition through Holland America (at a very premium price), because Sitka is a tender situation, you were not allowed off the ship until 10:30. So we had to cancel that reservation and quickly make another with someone we weren't familiar with. There was a couple onboard that had family waiting and they were not allowed to disembark early either. Holland America should explain about the tender and furnish the time you are actually going to be on land.We brought our laptop, believing we could keep in touch with our family by emails. We paid over $50 for 100 minutes - no free wifi anywhere on board - at least not for those of us that paid only for verandahs and not suites. The first time we tried to get online, it took about 5 minutes to get to the web and we spent about 5 more minutes checking emails. When we logged off, we had been charged for far more than 10 minutes. Most of the time we could not even get online in our stateroom. The woman in the computer area on the ship said that nothing was guaranteed. She, of course, didn't tell me that until after I paid and complained, but she used that phrase, "it is not guaranteed" a total of 12 times when I did complain. She said that I could use the computers in the computer area, but they were just as slow and used up minutes quickly. For over $50, we got to send 2 emails and receive 3. Holland America should suggest that you not bring a laptop - a total waste of time - and that if you must bring one, they should tell you which staterooms actually get service. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
This was a great trip overall the port selection is perfect & everyone should go on this venture - just maybe with another cruiseline. Glacier Bay Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan & and very brief stop in Victoria. Oosterdam was just OK ... Read More
This was a great trip overall the port selection is perfect & everyone should go on this venture - just maybe with another cruiseline. Glacier Bay Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan & and very brief stop in Victoria. Oosterdam was just OK - Checkin and departure - very very fast and organized. Food service and dining a major let down - so we ate off ship a good amount of the time. The rooms (5139) was very nice and a good size for two people, both closets are good size and we are over packers. First the good things clean, gym huge, walking desks and outdoor time perfect. Pool choices & lounges are many and fun & there was not the "saved" lounges we see so much - plenty of space. Casino was fun as well. So off to the bad & I am not one that spends lots of time on the dining but this just never worked for us. We had the open seating which was either full or changed for that night, we tried the extra fee "grill" and it was 1 hour to get salads started and 3 hours to finish dinner - got our $20.00 per person refunded, the buffet never seemed to be in full service - one area here and there were open (could have been our timing) but only two hot entrees at 7:30 to pick from - a bit weird. Enjoyed the Canneloni (sp?) reservation but no $$ dining very small and enjoyable. The shopping was terrible on board including the art shows (I guess I just love Princess & how they organize this) The gym and spa was very nice & they ran some great specials all days - wait until day 3 to book the spa - better deals.Arrived in Seattle a day early to explore (very fun) stayed at the Marriott Waterfront AAA rates were $205.00 - very easy for getting around the city (pikes market 5 min, space needle 30 min walk) and also a $7.00 shuttle to the ship which is out on Pier 91 - nice treat again.Overall we will do this again within 2 years just will move back to Princess or NCL. Do not miss this experience in Alaska Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
I'll first start with the negatives. (Note: there *are* positives too!)This ship is not for non-smokers or folks with allergies/asthma. Apparently HAL has decided that their real money-makers are bars and casinos, centrally located ... Read More
I'll first start with the negatives. (Note: there *are* positives too!)This ship is not for non-smokers or folks with allergies/asthma. Apparently HAL has decided that their real money-makers are bars and casinos, centrally located and smoker-friendly. In fact, it's rather difficult to access some areas without walking past these or the nearby atrium which allows smoke to freely rise to the next level. By the time we arrived for our first dinner -- a late seating, we all smelled like ashtrays. Combine this with the lack of compartmentalizing smoking/non-smoking rooms and the unkempt nature of these rooms, and you may well suffer horrid allergies/asthma on your vacation. Our verandah was above and behind a pair of chain-smokers, so sitting outside did nothing to alleviate our suffering, and made enjoying our verandah difficult on nice days. Our cabin was also a little tired looking.I am not well-off by any means and must save-up for a special vacation. I don't want to sound conceited, but while I paid full-price, I gather that this cruise sells many hugely discounted rates based on the riff-raff on board. I will try to attribute some of the staff's attitudes to this fact. But I also wonder if HAL uses these shorter passages to train some rather green staff as several did not live up to the reputation of Holland America.The front desk staff did not seem to know how best to handle concerns in general, nor how to reassure a customer that a concern would be addressed. While I suspect it was a language barrier, one of my first experience with the front desk was when one of their staff (presumably having learned it meant "relax, and all will work out") told me to "chill" after I calmly told her of a concern. Among other things, we had SNAFU's with reservations at the Pinnacle (twice!) and room service which never arrived -- neither the morning of a very strenuous, early kayak outing, nor the morning of departure. One excursion was not as advertised, and the staff's poor handling of it left me with my final bad taste. (Staff deferred addressing it until the last day when none of the excursions staff were on board. They did allow me to speak with someone on a cell phone with lousy reception, but her attitude was one of not-their-problem though it was the late arrival of the ship at port that messed up the excursion.) They also didn't honor some of the perks due to a four-star Mariner traveling in our party, which we didn't learn until recieving our final billing shortly before disembarking. Generally, the front desk dropped the ball on these issues.Aside from the above, I should say that the rest of the cruise was very pleasant. Most of the excursions were wonderful. The food in the Vista was good and that of the Pinnacle Grill was exceptional. (The buffet-style foods on the Lido clearly cannot be compared to these.) Another party traveling with us had much better room service experience, as well as finding the front desk pleasant when she needed to contact them about a leak from her sink. The embarkation and disembarking were not as awful as most. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Second time to Alaska, first cruise on HALEmbarkation was quick. The safety drill went very quickly as they did not have us put on or bring our life jackets to deck.First, the BADI was given cabin 1026. I didn't have high ... Read More
Second time to Alaska, first cruise on HALEmbarkation was quick. The safety drill went very quickly as they did not have us put on or bring our life jackets to deck.First, the BADI was given cabin 1026. I didn't have high expectations because i had sailed prev line in the cheapest interior cabin - prefer to use my money other ways. Had also had a balcony on last trip to Alaska and never used it so didn't want to pay for that again. In this cabin, the floor was blackened, as if there had been a fire and burned ash had been scoured into the floor. Was told they knew about the floor and can't get it clean, that it will be replaced when ship is in dry dock next. Said they didn't know what it was. I decided to overlook it and have a nice cruise. The cabin was huge with the 2 beds together, large closets, a half-circle couch (with 2 cigarette burn holes) and a nice counter space. Small flat screen TV and DVD player. The next morning i noticed flakes of black on my white hand towels and a fine powder of black on the toilet seat. Again i complained and was told there was no other cabin and the ship was full. By now after sleeping all night in the cabin i had pulled out an inhaler i had brought along even tho i normally never need it. A few hours later before dinner i returned to find more flakes that i now realized were ash and a fine powder again on the toilet seat. This time i wouldn't be put off as i was needing the inhaler every 2 hrs because of the air in the cabin. Went again to front desk and talked to about the 4th different person altho they said they knew my problem. Took her to the cabin and showed her that the ash was coming out of the intake vent in the bathroom, which was also blackened. They suddenly had cabin 1116 available and assisted my move into it. Same size and style, fresh air.The entire ship is quite worn looking, including mismatched paint patching walls, fraying upholstery, torn carpets, dirty windows. Unattractive colors that don't match.At late seating dinner, i was given the larger table seating i had asked for, with wonderful folks - one American couple and their mother, and one Australian couple. Every night we were all at the table and it was a great time. Dinner service was slow and i guess i would describe it as grumpy overall except the wine steward and the assistant dining manager. But my iced tea was waiting every night, and my cappuccino was at my elbow with dessert. The food was very good in the dining room all three meals but i thought poor in the Lido buffet. Taco nacho bar outside was very good and made nice snacks to take into happy hour. Best place on the ship is the Crow's Nest bar on the top level. View is wonderful at all times. Happy hour is 4-5 pm with buy a drink and get the second for $1. The cost of the drinks is reasonable - $4.95 and up, and the drink of the day is $6.95 and included in happy hour prices. Peanuts were always served and often little plates of snacks. We took our own nachos in.It was very crowded and seats fill up fast because the library/internet/coffee counter almost blend right into the bar. The little theater was fun - get there early for a seat and popcorn. The last night the movie was shown in the large show theater. The free DVD rentals are a nice amenity also but are not very new titles.The live shows in the large theater were very amateurish except for the magician.The adult pool and 2 hot tubs on the top deck were almost empty all the time and the hot tubs were very warm. It was not warm enough to swim on top but the pool inside was not crowded most of the time. There were very few children on this cruise. Just a few infants and toddlers. In Juneau took a morning 4-hr hike that is a great experience but is strenuous where there are log steps not meant for short legs. Nice guide with good explanations of history and flora. In afternoon took the tram up the mountain which is always a fun trip and a great gift shop at top. There is a movie to watch on history, and a rescued eagle viewed at certain times of day.In Sitka took a 3 hr hike that was long but not many log steps and more flat areas - much variety in area hiked - great guide and "sweeper" - also went to see Russian native dancers and did go up on stage where one of the women put her cape on me to move with the dancers. St Michael's Cathedral should not be missed and the raptor center was great. In Ketchikan took a trip to the totem pole park but was disappointed in that we were just kind of dumped there for a little while and then taken back. Creek Street was lots of fun to explore on foot. The shopping in Ketchikan is a huge variety, not just jewelry, and very good prices. In Glacier Bay the glaciers had not lost their coating of snow yet so were not actually calving, but shedding snow which was still impressive. The beautiful blue color would finally show thru when a waterfall of snow cascaded off the surface. There was almost no ice floating. Because i travel solo, i pay more than most to cruise but realize that isn't probably going to change soon and try not to base my expectations on that. I also like assigned dinner seating which is going away on many lines and will limit my options. However, i expect every cruise to be quality and none to be shabby. If HAL can't deliver quality on Oosterdam, i wouldn't trust any of their cruises. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Embarked in San Diego and initial baggage handling was quick and efficient...I had a walker so was directed to another entrance since the elevator was not working and was disappointed that we missed out on the boarding picture.The cabin ... Read More
Embarked in San Diego and initial baggage handling was quick and efficient...I had a walker so was directed to another entrance since the elevator was not working and was disappointed that we missed out on the boarding picture.The cabin was nice and spacious and the steward was very accommodating but disappointed that our room had a fully obstructed view. Unable to switch room due to the fact that the ship was at full capacity. The Lido menu was the same day after day. The glasses for tea and drinks small (4 ounces?) The food quality and presentation were lack luster and boring. The staff were very attentive & helpful. Enjoyed our evening at Le Cirque in the Pinnacle Room...the food was delicious and the service superb. Met Marco the owner of Le Cirque and he was a gracious host. Entertainment was great...the comedian and Peter Peterkin were outstanding. Most of the venues & poolside were over crowded and had a hard time finding a seat. Tried several nights to attend Karaoke...but never was able to get in the door.We feel the ship needs some TLC...carpet & seats torn in several areas...ship feels claustrophobic at times..low ceilings and dark colors. We have been on Royal Caribbean and Carnival,so comparing them, we would say the Oosterdam is the Motel 6 of cruises. We don't think we will go another HAL cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
I was very particular about booking our second cruise and did lots of research and this is what I came up with after cruising on the HAL for the last 7 days:HAL terminated the port to Mazatlan..good thingTold us 2 days in Cabo but ended up ... Read More
I was very particular about booking our second cruise and did lots of research and this is what I came up with after cruising on the HAL for the last 7 days:HAL terminated the port to Mazatlan..good thingTold us 2 days in Cabo but ended up 2 days in Puerto Vallarte. Was disappointed in the change in itinerary since did not like Puerto Vallarte as much as Cabo. Many military and police around but we always felt safe on the ports. We did not do any of the excursions but went to downtown in PV and then did jet skiing in Cabo,the teens enjoyed both. Very many vendors in town and on beach, crowded with spring breakers as well but festive.On the HAL itself, excellent cruise for the family or over 50 crowd. The teens were a bit bored, very limited teen program. The pool was a real disappointment as they only had one for the kids and was no larger than a motel 6 pool. The other pool was for adults only. The spa can not be accessed unless over 18 or part of teen spa program. The SS8048 Cabin we were in was spacious but very noisy. I asked our TA if being uder pool we would hear noise, they said no. This is untrue, you can hear everything, you can hear chairs moving, kids running, drinks clinking, all hours of the day. Do not stay below pool area, I will be writing Expedia Travel to let them know of my dismay regarding this suite. But the best thing on the HAL by far is the service, bar none, the staff is excellent, attentive and warm. The food is also very good but limited. Only three restaraunts inclusive, the Lido Terrace has limited food service times or rotate the same type of food all day, pizza, ice cream, burger etc. No sodas but plenty of Juice. The entertainment was good but sometimes advisable to let families know some of the humor was a bit adult or inappropriate. The casino was fine, a casino. The movie theater was small, only 30 people could fit in the theater. There were cute programs like name that tune or family BINGO, but I felt they could expand on the daily programs since we were at sea 4 out of the 7 days. The standouts in service are Andi (Undeee)pronounced in his language, a waiter in the Vista Dining Room and Erwin the chef in the Lido Terrace. They were wonderful and made the cruise a wonderful experience. I think the HAL is great for an older demographic and is clean, well attended and great food, but we will most likely choose a Carnival or Disney Cruise to spend that kind of money next time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Embarked in San Diego and initial baggage handling was poor...no porters at taxis, and lackluster efforts.The embarkation line is long and slow. Our party boarded via wheelchair and even that was a bit slow.The cabin was good and spacious ... Read More
Embarked in San Diego and initial baggage handling was poor...no porters at taxis, and lackluster efforts.The embarkation line is long and slow. Our party boarded via wheelchair and even that was a bit slow.The cabin was good and spacious and the steward was very accommodating (though shampooing carpet underway is a bit much!)The Lido menu was the same day after day. The glasses for tea and drinks small (4 ounces?) The food was good, just the same each time.Worst part? No real info on the cruise each day, just a very generic bulletin with too many ads and little useful info. We were scheduled for PV, Mazatlan and Cabo....Mazatlan was canceled, yet we were never informed at all...anywhere! Had we arranged any business, reunion, meeting folks in Mazatlan, the4 trip would have been a disaster and waste of money. For that reason alone, I would not recommend HAL! I expected three ports and got two....not good! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Oosterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.5 3.6
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.2

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