2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
This was our 9th cruise with Holland and we were not disappointed again. Staff was excellent as usual with smiles and hellos every time we passed them in the halls. The ship was in better condition than we expected since she was headed to ... Read More
This was our 9th cruise with Holland and we were not disappointed again. Staff was excellent as usual with smiles and hellos every time we passed them in the halls. The ship was in better condition than we expected since she was headed to dry dock in Palermo Italy on 4-4-16. There was some carpets in public areas that showed some wear but it was not distracting. We had As You Wish Dining and were able to reserve the same table at 5:30 each night. We had the same table mates for the first 10 day segment and one couple stayed with us for the second segment. We had one new couple each night for the remaining 11 day segment. Service was excellent and timely. My wife has some food allergies and the staff provided the next evenings menu so she could adjust it as needed. It worked very well. The desserts were better than previous cruises which made me happy. However the ice cream selections are mainly chocolate, vanilla and strawberry with an occasional different variety provided every 3-4 days. I wish they would provide a larger variety as they used to on previous cruises a number of year ago. They have added tumbler style glasses in the Lido and now I don't have to carry 2-3 of the old small glasses of drink to my table. Our cabin was in good condition and the beds are the best, always got a good nights sleep. Embarkation in Ft. Lauderdale was smooth and quick, getting on board about 11:45am and were able to go to our cabin immediately, nice. This has been happening with all HAL ships for a number of years. At the end of the first 10 day segment the In Transit people met in the Vista lounge for about 35 mins. and were cleared very quickly. At the Safety Drill at 3:15 for the 2nd 11 day segment we did not have to attend the drill since the new rule with HAL is you have to attend a Safety Drill only once a month, se we were excused. I had to check to make sure that was true, it was, so we were excused from the drill. The entertainment has seemed to slip a little when compared to prior cruises year ago. Still there were a couple of acts that were pretty impressive, Amy Lee a violinist, and Island Magic a Bahamian steel drum band. Having only used HAL for all of our cruises we were very happy again with the service, staff, ship and amenities. We did three HAL excursions on three different islands and were happy with all three of them. The best was on St. Lucia taking the all day excursion where we were picked up by tenders in a different port (Pitons) than we docked at in the morning. We totally enjoyed that one. Overall, another great cruise with HAL and we will continue to come back for another cruise with them. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
This cruise was supposed to be my honeymoon but my husband of 8 Months passed away before the cruise. I am glad I did go on the cruise as I promised my husband on his dying bed I would! This cruise was excellent, the food was delicious and ... Read More
This cruise was supposed to be my honeymoon but my husband of 8 Months passed away before the cruise. I am glad I did go on the cruise as I promised my husband on his dying bed I would! This cruise was excellent, the food was delicious and the service exceptional, I was very impressed! I had been on a cruise in 2012 to the East Caribbean with Holland America and it was also an excellent vacation! There are many crew members who really made my trip so enjoyable, and I would like to praise a few...Shawn the cruise director, Kari the Northern Lights disc Jockey, she kept us rocking the night away, dining room crew... Dedy and Rani, and I couldn't forget our bar server Ronnie. The BB King Band was terrific and they were all very talented! I'm already looking forward to my next cruise! I did participate in the 5k walk in memory of my husband who had recently passed away from pancreatic cancer! He would have been proud of my achievement because I did finish the walk! Thanks for making this trip one of the best for me! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
We just returned from the 10 night Southern Caribbean Cruise on Holland America’s Oosterdam from January 29-February 8, 2016. With snow forecasted to increase in Colorado, we decided to don our Denver Bronco’s Jerseys and head to ... Read More
We just returned from the 10 night Southern Caribbean Cruise on Holland America’s Oosterdam from January 29-February 8, 2016. With snow forecasted to increase in Colorado, we decided to don our Denver Bronco’s Jerseys and head to Florida a couple of days early. This was our first “on board” Super Bowl, and we were ready! Pre-Cruise We checked into the Fairfield Inn and Suites at about 7:30 pm. The hotel shuttle took us to a restaurant called Tropical Acres for dinner. We ate at the bar, as there was a wait for a table. The food was well priced and tasted good. The bartenders were great! On the way back to the hotel, our driver stopped at Publix, a local grocery store, and we purchased water bottles to bring onboard the ship the following morning. We will probably not stay in this hotel for future cruises, as the beds were not comfortable, and we were moved to another room at midnight, because our heat came on and would not turn off. The temperature in the room rose to about 90 degrees F. Embarkation We left the hotel at 10:30 and got to the port shortly thereafter. There was no line to get through security or to get our key cards. I had two bottles of wine in our carry on luggage. Per HAL rules, each passenger may carry on one bottle of wine without a fee. Any additional bottle incurs a corkage fee of $18 each, and may be consumed in your stateroom or in the dining room. There was no wait to board the Oosterdam, and we were permitted to go directly to the stateroom to stow our bags. The room steward came in to introduce himself and ask us if the room was to our liking. We assured him that it was perfect! Stateroom We were in Neptune Suite 7048, located just aft of the Penthouse Suite on the port side of the ship. The location is perfect, as it is only 5 cabins from the Neptune Lounge, and just three floors down from the Crow’s Nest, where we spend much of our evenings enjoying happy hour. We had originally booked a veranda cabin on the back of deck 5, but were offered an upgrade a couple of weeks before the sail date, and took advantage of it. The cabin measures approximately 22 feet long and 22 feet wide, with a wall separating the bathroom, entry area and dressing room. It has a king size bed (or two twins, whichever you prefer), two nightstands, a couch, two end tables, a coffee table and two chairs. There is a desk area that has plenty of storage. There is a small TV that is on the desk that swivels to face the couch or the bed. There are cabinets and closets for storage, as well as about 12 drawers. This ship will be in dry dock in April, and the suites will be gutted and remodeled. I look forward to seeing it again in September 2017, when we will be on this ship for our Mediterranean cruise. The balcony is about 22 feet wide and 8 feet deep. On the balcony are two armchairs with ottomans, a small table between them, and a patio table with four chairs around it. Ship The Oosterdam was in very good condition. The carpet did not show signs of thinning, and I only noticed rust in a very few locations. This ship will go to dry dock in Italy on April 4, 2016, and all of the common areas will be updated, as well as remodeling of the suites. Dining Most mornings we had breakfast and coffee delivered to our balcony. The food was delivered on time and exactly as ordered. We had eggs benedict, and that was not even on the menu. We wrote it on the card we hung on our door and it came the following morning perfectly prepared. We also had breakfast one morning in the Pinnacle Grill. Neptune Suite guests are invited to enjoy breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill at no additional charge. That is, indeed, a nice relaxing place to eat, and the food and service are impeccable. For lunch most days, we ate in the Vista Dining Room. One day we ate in the Pinnacle Grill for a $10 per person upcharge. It was a wonderful change, and well worth the price. Our dinner in the MDR was scheduled for 8:00 pm. Food was prepared to order each night and was always the perfect temperature. The wine steward was very attentive and our wine glasses and water glasses were never empty. Our waiter (Tedi) and assistant waiter were wonderful! We have no complaints regarding the Vista Dining Room. One evening we had dinner in the Pinnacle Grill. The cost is $29 per person, and was included in a wine package that we ordered. The food, as always, was wonderfully prepared, and worth the upcharge. The Mariner’s Lunch on the last sea day was not good at all. We had to wait about 15 minutes to get into the Vista Dining Room, and seated ourselves. It was very disorganized. The Captain came in and thanked us for coming and invited us to cruise Holland America again. The food was delivered quickly, and tasted bad. We sat there until everything was served, but were the first to leave. We probably won’t go to a Mariner’s Lunch again. Service Room Steward, Ohli, was awesome. He was efficient, and very attentive to our every need. Service at the bars and other areas of the ship were great. Our favorite hang out was the bar in the Crow’s Nest. Happy hour was every afternoon from 4:00 to 5:00. I highly recommend this venue, as the bar tenders (Bong and TJ) were awesome and went above and beyond in everything they did. Complimentary Tapas were served at this bar, along with nuts and occasional goldfish. This is our first HAL cruise where the ship’s officers maintained a very low profile. I never saw any of them out and about walking the ship like I usually do. Entertainment The entertainment on the ship was average, except for BB King. They were amazing! I highly recommend seeing them if you are on a ship on which they are playing. We didn’t take the opportunity to attend any of the other entertainment events on the ship, because even as we walked by, they did not appeal to us. The daily entertainment on this ship needs an overhaul for sure! Since the Super Bowl was during the cruise, HAL offered four location options to watch it. The first was the Screening Room. For this venue, there is a $100 per person charge, and butler service is provided. (We didn’t do this, even as Bronco fans) The second option is to watch it in the Vista Lounge. This does not cost anything, and most folks went there to watch the game. They showed the game on a huge screen on stage, and there was a big half time party with trivia and games, and a buffet was set up with hot dogs and nachos. The third option was the Sports Bar, which is where we watched the game. To get a seat at the Sports Bar, we arrived early, as seating is limited. There was no charge for this. The final option was to watch the game in your stateroom. It aired on ESPN. Per the agreement between the NFL and HAL, there were no commercials, but they did air the half time show. HAL does a good job with this event, and we enjoyed watching the Super Bowl on board, especially since our team won. Ports \ Excursions Our first port was Half Moon Cay. We did not plan an excursion, but tendered to the island for the BBQ lunch that was provided. Our second port was Grand Turk Island. This port is not a tender, so we could leave at our leisure. We didn’t have big plans, but I wanted to go to one particular place for lunch. We took a cab to a small restaurant on the beach called The Sandbar. I had been there several years ago, and enjoyed it. What a neat place to eat! The restaurant is right on the water, and the surf crashes up on the deck, where you feel the mist as you are enjoying lunch. It was great and brought back memories. I would highly recommend eating here. They are closed on Saturday’s, due to their religious beliefs, so it is open everyday except Saturday. The next port was a tender port, Samana, Dominican Republic, and we chose not to go on shore. The Zika virus was prevalent there, so we stayed on the ship. After a day at sea, we went to Bonaire. Bonaire is known for pink flamingos, salt flats and shore diving. Our cab driver, Saab, took us to a lake on the north part of the island, which consisted of brackish water. There were 100’s of flamingos in the lake. When flamingos are born, they are white, and then as they age, they turn pink. Next, he took us into a village where we had lunch of chicken and cheese pastries. They were actually pretty good, but would have been better if they were warm. They were not freshly cooked, so were a little cold. Next Saab took us to was the south side of the island. Bonaire has one export, and it is salt. We saw the salt flats and where they “mine” it. After it is mined, the salt is placed onto a belt straight to ships that come to haul it away. It was very interesting. Bonaire is also known for shore diving. This side of the island is more recently developed. There are 1,000’s of divers that come to this island monthly to dive the reefs and sunken ships. The taxi ride was about 3 hours and was well worth the $30 each to tour the island. The next morning we arrived in Curacao. We had an on-board tour (Behind the Scenes Tour) scheduled, so did not get off. Our last stop was Aruba. We did not have an excursion planned for this day, so jumped into a cab and went to the lighthouse. It is under construction and surrounded by scaffolding, so we ate at an Italian restaurant by the lighthouse and took a taxi back to the ship. I would highly recommend this restaurant. The food is great, and the view is awesome! Disembarkation We were to disembark at 7:45. We took advantage of the Luggage Direct program that HAL offers. We placed our luggage outside our stateroom door after the Super Bowl on Sunday night, and it was waiting for us in Denver, CO the next evening when we arrived at the airport. This is a great service that is offered for $20 per person. Final Thoughts This was, without a doubt, another Holland America cruise. The ship was in great condition, the crew was wonderful and very service oriented, and the itinerary was perfect for us! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
For us (ages 68 and 66), this was our 20th cruise (with various cruise lines). For most cruises over a week in duration (and especially upon Holland America) the average passenger age is quite “senior”. We found ourselves much below ... Read More
For us (ages 68 and 66), this was our 20th cruise (with various cruise lines). For most cruises over a week in duration (and especially upon Holland America) the average passenger age is quite “senior”. We found ourselves much below the average age. We have never seen more walkers, motorized scooters, wheel chairs, and canes used on any other cruise. That is NOT a complaint. It impressed us that people far beyond our ages still participate in, and enjoy, cruising. A passenger noted that it was better to cruise most of the year than to be in a retirement home. The cost is similar and the crew takes much better care of you. We became convinced that cruising may be in our future for many years to come. But, don’t expect a young “party” environment (or many young children) on a cruise such as this one. Embarkation was a problem. The ship was late due to assisting in a sea rescue effort. Waiting passengers patiently understood, but (during the 4 to 6 hour wait) the cruise line could have: i) sent us text messages and/or emails to advise us in advance of the delay so we could have postponed our arrival into a boring waiting room; and ii) furnished us something to drink and eat while waiting. Based upon the fact that the Oosterdam is scheduled for substantial renovation in a few months, we had feared that we would face deteriorating conditions. That was not the case. Certain things were outdated (which will be addressed by HA with the renovation). But, the ship is still well maintained and the crew focused upon keeping it clean. Our cabin (a signature suite) was well maintained, and our cabin stewards were attentive to our requests. But, as with most of the crew, they were not as friendly or engaging as with our past cruises. At times, their service was also slower than in the past. Perhaps this was attributable to the average age of passengers and a perception by the crew that most passengers therefore preferred to be left alone unless assistance was clearly needed or specifically requested? I rely upon wi-fi to continue business during our cruises. The service is costly ($250 for 1000 minutes, $100 for 250 minutes, etc.) just as with other cruise lines. Cruise ship service is also slower than land based service. However, Oosterdam provided about the best cruise ship wi-fi service that we have experienced. For our cruises, we have most recently chosen several Holland America Vista class ships because of their cabin sizes and choices. Our suite (of which there are many on the ship) was comparably priced to a cabin (with an outside veranda) on most other lines. Yet we had luxuries like a roomy bathroom with: i) a two sink vanity; and ii) both a shower and a whirlpool bathtub. I had a desk for my laptop computer (and my work) while my wife had a separate desk/vanity for her “make-up” activities. We especially like the retractable roof over the main pool. Even in rainy or cool conditions, the roof can be closed and the pool environment enjoyed. Also appreciated is the fresh water in the pools, rather than salt water which other cruise lines sometimes instead have in their pools. We never had a problem finding pool lounges in “prime” areas --- perhaps a benefit from having so many “seniors” that did not seem to be attracted as much to those facilities? We like the 3rd floor/deck promenade that goes “entirely” around the ship for jogging/walking. Many ships do not have this; or, if they have a promenade, it may only go partially around a deck. Since our 1st cruise, we have noted that food on cruise ships has been improving over the years. Everywhere on the Oosterdam, the food was quite good --- but they still have room to reach the “outstanding” level. Dining room portions seemed smaller, but that was welcomed by us as we fought to keep from gaining too much weight. Also, there was nothing to prevent you from ordering multiple dinners or desserts if you so desired. We did not like that fact that we booked some excursions months before the cruise, yet learned upon embarkation, or only shortly before the excursion, that most of our early bookings were cancelled. If excursion options are not going to be reliable, then HA should not offer them. The array of ports varied and gave a different option and perspective for whatever passengers might have liked or wanted. St. Martin and St. Thomas are larger with a lot of shopping and more options of things to do. St. Lucie is beautiful, but small and with not much shopping or other attractive options. Half Moon Cay (although the beach for this cruise was badly eroded from a recent storm) is still the best cruise ship private island that we have visited. We docked in Martinique on a Sunday, and the few stores and things that were there were closed --- so that was really a wasted stop. Since we have already been to most of the Caribbean islands several times, we are beginning to welcome the slow/relaxing days at sea, and this cruise had three such days. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
After reading some less than favorable reviews I felt compelled to write this review. First off and seriously, this may be THE best vacation Holland America has ever delivered. We cruise quite frequently and exclusively with HAL. HAL is ... Read More
After reading some less than favorable reviews I felt compelled to write this review. First off and seriously, this may be THE best vacation Holland America has ever delivered. We cruise quite frequently and exclusively with HAL. HAL is consistently meeting and exceeding our expectations. The ship may be up in years but she is still beautiful and mighty! Super clean! You can not beat the crew! Talk about being spoiled! We were celebrating the New Year and our son being admitted into Medical School! Eleven wonderful days of celebration at sea! The cruise director, Hamish was the best we've ever experienced. He was everywhere! So much energy, so much fun and never passed by without a huge hello. The captain was very visible and very friendly. He was out and about which was nice and he kept us well informed. We took the Behind the Scenes tour with Glen Cowely, who was sensational! So much information and so much fun! The tour was extensive and well worth doing. Don't miss it! The shows were fun and the comedien was hilarious! We ate most of our meals in the main dining room and found the food exceptional. Everything was hot, delicious and beautifully presented. Always a great selection to choose from. We had open seating and all of our dining stewards and wine stewards were superb! We found the food in the Lido also delicious. The Dive In and Taco bar by the Lido pool area are also a MUST! Delicious burgers! Delicious tacos! We also ate several meals at the Pinnacle Grill which NEVER disappoints. Scrumptious! The ports were beautiful, some familiar some new yet always a thrill. We were in cabin 8019, a verandah suite. Our cabin stewards kept the room impeccably clean. They even outdid me! We couldn't have asked for anything to be better! Overall, great family time, wonderful service, delicious food and a wonderful ship! Vacation is what you make it! Make it great and enjoy! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
This was our ninth cruise and 5th with Holland America line. After reading some of the reviews I was a bit worried but HAL did not disappoint. Yes to start the ship is older and could use some maintenance here and there but so is most ... Read More
This was our ninth cruise and 5th with Holland America line. After reading some of the reviews I was a bit worried but HAL did not disappoint. Yes to start the ship is older and could use some maintenance here and there but so is most of her guests. Average age was 70+ with a few families and children on board. And yes there have been several changes which HAL have instituted like eliminating the midnight desert extravaganza but when you ask questions it makes sense why it was eliminated. With all the work effort and food that went into it no one ate it but still the service is top of the industry and their wasn’t a time that I walked through the ship where I didn’t see someone cleaning or polishing. Oosterdam may be old but the crew keep every part clean and they take pride in what they do. Embarkation was smooth and fast. HAL team members were pleasant to deal with and our cabins were ready as soon as we got onboard. Food was excellent. Breakfast and lunch was on the Lido deck with a wide variety of choices and cook to order eggs, omelets and eggs benny. Crew was exceptional, friendly attentive and pleasant to talk to. Lunch was on the Lido as well and at the Dive In, Burgers were made fresh to order and tasted great, Buffet was varied and there was something for everyone. My sister in-law commented that she had a different salad each day for lunch during the cruise. Dinners were in the MDR and we prefer an early seating. Anytime dinning is ok if you want to eat and run but a specified time lets you get to know your waiters and wine steward and for us this makes the difference. They get to know what you like and will provide you with great suggestions for dinner. We also find that they become more attentive to you requests and it really makes the cruise. Never did go to any specialty restaurants but with food this good in the MDR there was really no need. As mentioned the ship is older and has some wear but I expected that when I booked. The Oosterdam was built in 2003 with thousands of guests if you don’t expect to see some wear and tear after 12+ years well…… I’ll leave it at that. Our cabin was 6145 Veranda and out stateroom was always clean and looked after by our cabin stewards. There wasn’t once that we didn’t get a greeting when passing them in the halls. They were professional and wonderful to deal with. We took three excursions from HAL, a beach break in Samana and Catamaran Snorkeling in both Bonaire and Aruba. We prefer to take excursions from the ship and we know there is a premium for doing this but it gives us peace of mind. We have seen to many dock runners and have been witness to several people missing the ship due to a cab getting lost or breaking down but that’s us. What I can say is that all of the excursions we took were top notch, well organized and we loved them Disembarkation was smooth and we were at the airport 20 min from the time we walked off the ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
This was our third Holland America cruise, our first to the Caribbean. Although the Caribbean isn’t my favorite itinerary, Holland America is DEFINITELY my favorite cruise line! We flew in a day early and stayed at the ... Read More
This was our third Holland America cruise, our first to the Caribbean. Although the Caribbean isn’t my favorite itinerary, Holland America is DEFINITELY my favorite cruise line! We flew in a day early and stayed at the "Cruise and Fly" Ramada. It was adequate but you could probably find a better value elsewhere. It did include a shuttle to the cruise dock though so that was good. Embarkation in Ft Lauderdale was crowded but organized. We were sailing on Oosterdam and we got on the ship at about 12 noon. The Oosterdam was my first and I’ve got a soft spot for her. She’s a great ship. Our stateroom (6092) was ready and our luggage was already there! We dropped off our carry-ons and headed straight for the Dive-In bistro at the forward pool. The food was great as always. In addition, the taco bar they set out next to the Dive-In is exceptional. I ate many a taco out there. After that, we went back to our cabin to unpack and settle in. We always get a Signature Suite because we like the double sinks and two showers. The balconies are great too, with four chairs and two tables, one tall and one little short one. We were traveling with another couple and instead of getting adjoining cabins, we just opened the partition between the two balconies. It worked out great and we didn’t lose the cabin space that would have otherwise been taken up with the pass-through door. Although extra perks do come with the Neptune Suites and we have been in them, we have never felt the need to upgrade to one because for just the two of us, Signature Suites have plenty of room, amenities and storage space. As always, the bed and linens were superb. The TV’s are a little on the small side and somewhat outdated but I’m sure they will be upgraded soon. The only trouble with the cabin that we did have was a strong exhaust smell one night out at sea. The crew was VERY attentive about it and it was resolved to our satisfaction. Whatever they did to fix it worked because it never came back. 6092 is a great location. Very quite and pretty convenient to mid and aft elevators. Of course, our cabin stewards were fantastic as always. The gym and spa area on the Oosterdam is very nice. I did the morning stretch class a lot and hit one of the numerous treadmills quite often. I only had to wait for a machine one time. All of the equipment was well maintained and working. There were plenty of lounge chairs available on both pool decks on most days but shade is a little tough to come by if you don’t know where to look. There was always plenty of bar staff roaming around and it was very easy to get a drink when you needed one. Our cruise fare included the Signature drink package which allowed you 15 drinks a day. That sounds like a lot and it is but you gotta remember that includes premium coffee, sodas, smothies and hot chocolate etc. I drank A LOT and still never went over the 15 but I’m sure I came close on most days. My DW on the other hand never came close to maxing out. One bone of contention though, the drinks have to be priced at $8,00 or less each and most of them are but one night we ate in the Pinnacle Grill and wouldn’t you know it, the cheapest glass of wine was $8.50! Come on now, you’re telling me that you can get a glass of wine anywhere on the ship for less than $8 bucks but in the Pinnacle the cheapest is $8.50 and therefore not eligible to go on the drink package? It is a blatant and disingenuous attempt to squeeze a few extra dollars out of someone who is ALREADY paying a premium just to eat in there. I was a little ticked at that and refused to order anything other than water. To tell you the truth, the Pinnacle was good but I don’t think I got $29.00 worth of better than the rest of the ship. The food in the Vista dining room was very good on most nights and I have to say, the soups were consistently EXCEPTIONAL. On the second gala night we were served surf and turf and the lobster was great. The steak was pretty good too. We choose anytime seating and very rarely had to wait for a table. The service in the Vista Dining Room was consistently good and efficient. One thing though, and maybe it was the itinerary, but it seems that more and more people have no qualms about showing up for dinner in shorts, sandals and tee shirts. Even in the Pinnacle Grill there were people in polo shirts and jeans. Come on people, if you don’t want to get dressed for dinner, eat in the Lido or order room service. Sheesh! The service in the Lido was very good. I personally witnessed a lady ask for a soft boiled egg and the server went in the back, brought out a boiler, scrambled around to find a place to plug it in and then proceed to give the lady what she wanted. Another server went and retrieved all the food for an elderly gentleman who had mobility problems. He even got chocolate milk! Where did they get that from? They did all this with a smile and good humor. Even the pizza was pretty good and I know that it has had some issues in the past but not this time. Well done Holland America! I went to all the main stage shows and they were very good. The Oosterdam dancers and singers were first class. The lead female has an awesome voice and the numbers were very entertaining, even a little risqué at times I might add. BB King’s Blues Band was entertaining. The lead singer was the same as we had seen last year on Eurodam but the lead female was different. This band had one less horn player than the previous one as well. I’d have to say that the band we saw on Eurodam beat this one. The piano bar entertainer (Barry from Boston) was a disappointment. Even though we had seen him on Eurodam last year I didn’t remember him being this unentertaining. Too much talking and not enough crowd participation. The piano bar was virtually deserted all cruise and this is unheard of on most ships. I gave him several tries but just couldn’t stomach it and always left quickly. On the other hand, Adagio, the piano-violin duo, was beautiful. I made it a point to catch them every day before dinner. It was wonderful. The Band (Otherwise known as the HalCats) was pretty good too. They were a five piece and every time we would walk by it seemed like they were playing a song we wanted to dance to so we would drop everything and hop on the floor for a whirl. It was a great time! I myself didn’t do many shore trips except Half Moon Cay which was nice and St. Kitts for a taxi tour we booked on the pier. $90 for just the four of us in a large air conditioned van for 3 hours. The guide was a native and very knowledgeable. It was nice tour and she got a $10 tip. My travelling companions went on several shore trips, always booking on the pier and they all said that St. Lucia was their favorite. One of the ship activities was making luggage pom-poms. This was fun and they came in handy for the trip home. Disembarkation in Ft. Lauderdale was pretty smooth. A lot of people but the line moved quickly. Plenty of taxis waiting to go to the airport. It was less than $20 for all four of us and lots of luggage. We had a van and it was an easy trip to the airport. Even though the Caribbean isn't my favorite itinerary, Holland America made sure I had a wonderful time. While we were onboard we booked our Panama Canal cruise! Read Less
29 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
This was our 4th HAL cruise and 2nd time to Alaska. We had done the route out of Seattle the last time so wanted to try the inside passage out of Vancouver. This was the last cruised for the year out of Alaska and was a little worried ... Read More
This was our 4th HAL cruise and 2nd time to Alaska. We had done the route out of Seattle the last time so wanted to try the inside passage out of Vancouver. This was the last cruised for the year out of Alaska and was a little worried about weather and shopping being out of stock but the weather was wonderful and the shops had great specials going on. Many people we talked to were leaving a day or two later as it was the end of the season. We got a great deal upgrading from a Neptune suite to the Pinnacle suit and it was impressive. Embarkation was smooth. Being Pinnacle suite guests, we were escorted by HAL employees straight past any lines through customs and to our suit. The ship appeared to be in great shape and the service was top notch. HAL has never let us down as far as service goes. Everyone went out of their was to make sure we had a great time. We had the 8pm seating for dinner and the food was delicious and plentiful. I couldn't do dessert as I was too full. We had a great time with the waiters and they all seemed happy and willing to please. We mainly cruise to relax so we didn't take in too many onboard activities. We went to a couple of wine tastings and that was very fun. We participated in one of the dance lessons and it had a great turn-out. We only went to one musical show in the evening and it was very good. Our 1st "stop" was cruising Glacier Bay and it was amazing. We even saw a glacier calving. It was really nice to see the Glaciers up close. The park rangers on the cruise did a great job informing us about what we were seeing. Our 2nd stop was Skagway and we rode the White Pass Summit Scenic Railroad. It was a nice train ride with breathtaking view and lots of great scenery. Our next stop was Juneau where we did the Mendenhall Glacier & Whale Quest excursion. I would have been happy to see any whales but we saw about a hundred. Truly a must-do when in Juneau. Our last port was Ketchikan and it was great. We did an Alaska Rain Forest excursion. The Rain Forest is amazing and we saw Bald Eagles in the wild right up close. The guide was very informative. Overall, it was probably the best cruise we have been on and look forward to the next one. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2015
After my 3 day land tour and torture of the 10 hour bus ride from Denali I was looking forward to just relaxing on the ship. I was not disappointed. The cruise was everything I wished for - relaxing, good food and plenty of things to hold ... Read More
After my 3 day land tour and torture of the 10 hour bus ride from Denali I was looking forward to just relaxing on the ship. I was not disappointed. The cruise was everything I wished for - relaxing, good food and plenty of things to hold my interest. We landed in Anchorage and spent an extra day before heading to Denali. Stayed at the Hilton which was very nice. The train to Denali was wonderful- make sure you wait and eat breakfast on the train. Our guide was very entertaining. Our only issue was that my husband and brother in law booked a jeep excursion at Denali and we arrived at the hotel (Chalet) only 15 minutes before the excursion. 8 hours on the train and then a 4 hour jeep tour made a long day for them. The next morning was the 8 hour Tundra tour. Remember to order a box lunch at the lodge the night before the tour. 2 people can actually share 1 lunch as the wraps are large and filling. Sunday morning it was back on the bus for the 10 hour ride to Seward. This was torture. 10 hours with very few stops and the air conditioner in the bus died. We had no trouble getting onto the cruise ship and all our luggage was there waiting for us. After a nice meal we explored the ship then settled in for a well deserved sleep. We opted for breakfast most mornings on the Lido deck. One of the servers, GoGo became a fave. What a personality! My husband found the Exploration Lounge on the 10th deck and really enjoyed sitting there looking at the ocean while reading or doing his crossword while having a coffee or beer. I enjoyed the short films in the screening rooms on the ports in Alaska. I also enjoyed listening to the native speakers who came aboard. The casino was a fave for my in laws as well as the piano bar. We participated in a few of the games they had after dinner. What fun! The BB King band was wonderful. We did a whale watch in Juneau after seeing the Mendenhall Glacier. What a wonderful day - so many whales. We also did the Bering Sea Crab Tour in Ketchikan. That was so much fun. Our own "deadliest catch". The meals were good in the main dining room. I did find however if you do not drink wine it was sometimes quite a while to get someone to bring you an ice tea. We did the open seating making reservations each morning as we let breakfast. We never had a problem getting the time we requested. Disembarking went quickly. We were spending an extra day in Vancouver so we left the ship, went through customs and then walked across the street to get our rental car. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
My wife and I arrived at the Vancouver Airport at 11am. Were met and welcomed by a HAL rep who arranged for a cab to the Pan Pacific. The Pan Pacific allowed us to check in immediately and our luggage was taken to our room. Nice ... Read More
My wife and I arrived at the Vancouver Airport at 11am. Were met and welcomed by a HAL rep who arranged for a cab to the Pan Pacific. The Pan Pacific allowed us to check in immediately and our luggage was taken to our room. Nice accommodations and we had the afternoon to explore Vancouver and Stanley Park. Enjoyed a dinner and drinks overlooking the Lions Gate Bridge and Bay. The next morning we headed to Victoria BC and two nights at the Empress Hotel. Great location and they provided a complimentary larger room on the 2nd floor. Buchart Gardens, Dragon Boat Festival, Harbor, Irish Pubs, BC Museum, and Fisherman's Wharf made for a great weekend in Victoria. Arrived back in Vancouver about noon on the 16th and boarding was painless and fast. Some folks seemed confused going through customs, etc. but HAL reps were there to assist. Found our luggage in our cabin, explored the ship and found a lounge for a relaxing drink while everyone else seemed to head immediately to the Lido deck for lunch. We were very impressed with the friendliness and helpfulness of the HAL staff. The organization of the trip and receiving a packet with keys, etc. was perfect throughout our two week trip. The variety of entertainment venues and activities on the cruise provided for just about any interest. We enjoyed a few shows in the Vista Lounge especially the Marriage Game where the Cruise Director and an elderly couple celebrating 64 yrs. of marriage provided a very inspirational show for all in attendance. Alaska speaks for itself. While on the cruise portion of our trip we enjoyed the Navigation Deck, the Pinnacle Lounge and the Piano Bar where three talented fellow travelers provided some wonderful music with the pianist. Enjoyed dining in the Vista Dining Room, Pinnacle Grill and room service. Also enjoyed a Salmon Bake on the Lido Deck. Open dining allowed us to meet and dine with fellow travelers from around the world. The coach trip to Denali was long as we had expected but well worth the trip. Some great stops along the way to see Beluga Whales, Iditarod Headquarters and the Veteran's Memorial broke up the long trip. Enjoyed Denali Tundra Tour and our stay at the McKinley Chalet in the Cottonwood. We had purchased meal vouchers as part of the land / cruise package and enjoyed the McKinley Chalet restaurants and the McKinley Explorer. Ended our trip at the Anchorage Hilton which was ok for Anchorage but when we went to the Hilton's restaurant we were given a Holland America Voucher Menu that was a lunch type menu. Luckily we had a very good waitress who spoke with her manager and we were then given a Dinner Menu. When I purchased the dinner package HAL assured me there were no menu restrictions. I expect fellow travelers found this to be an issue and would suggest HAL speak with Anchorage Hilton management. Other than this small issue we had great weather and a excellent trip to BC / Alaska. Also, the Alaskan Summer Ale was superb. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
After spending a glorious week weatherwise in Vancouver, we boarded the ship at 12.30. Our stateroom was ready and our luggage arrived soon after. In the meantime, our cabin stewards knocked to welcome us aboard and introduced themselves, ... Read More
After spending a glorious week weatherwise in Vancouver, we boarded the ship at 12.30. Our stateroom was ready and our luggage arrived soon after. In the meantime, our cabin stewards knocked to welcome us aboard and introduced themselves, during the whole week they always greeted us by name whenever we met and provided a first class service. We took breakfast in the Lido each morning, never had a problem finding a table, the food was served hot and tasty. On sea days we chose to have lunch at the Dive-in, the burgers, fries and hot dogs were delicious. We had all our evening meals in the Vista dining room, open seating, never had a problem getting a table for two and no waiting either, we would reserve a table for the following night as we left each night and always got one in the same area so we had the same waiters each time, they were rushed off their feet but coped wonderfully, there was a varied selection on the menu and the usual steak, chicken and ceasar salad was on offer every night if the fancier fare wasn't to your liking. Everything was served hot with minimal waiting in between courses. All our excursions were with HAL, at Ketchikan we took the float plane over to see bears in their natural habitat - worth every penny. In Juneau we did the Tracy Arm fjord and glacier explorer, it was a long day, and, in my opinion, the whole area was much more spectacular than Glacier Bay, probably due to the fact we were on a small boat which could take us a lot nearer the waterfalls and stop or slow down when wildlife was spotted, also our guide was so full of enthusiasm and information about her area it was hard not to be carried away by the experience. We had another long day in Skagway where we took the White Pass rail and Yukon expedition. We boarded the coach on the quay and followed the road up through the White Pass summit, sadly the fog was so thick at the top it was impossible to see anything but it cleared on the way down. We drove over the Canadian border into the Yukon, stopped for lunch then made our way to the train for an amazing ride back to Skagway. I can certainly recommend all of the above excursions, the drivers/guides all knew their stuff and the scenery was amazing. The next day was Glacier Bay, had I not been to Tracy Arm first I would have found it awesome - and it was - but to me, Tracy Arm had the edge. Two local guides joined the ship in the morning and were on hand all day giving out information and answering questions.The weather was gorgeous, sunny and warm making it the perfect day. I would definitely sail with Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
We began our cruise tour in Fairbanks. I must say that the land and sea portion were done very well by Holland. We stayed at the Westmark in Fairbanks, the McKinley Chalet and the Westmark in Anchorage. All of the accommodations were ... Read More
We began our cruise tour in Fairbanks. I must say that the land and sea portion were done very well by Holland. We stayed at the Westmark in Fairbanks, the McKinley Chalet and the Westmark in Anchorage. All of the accommodations were very comfortable and well maintained. We had good service and good food if you eat in their places that are available. Loved the Riverboat tour and lunch tour in Fairbanks. The wilderness tundra tour in Denali was fantastic! Some our group enjoyed white water rafting in Denali. Transportation from Fairbanks to Denali was on a coach, had a great driver and guide. The ride on the McKinley express from Denali to Anchorage was such a great and fun train ride. The ride from Anchorage to Seward was alright, a very long ride and it is not very comfortable. Make note on the train rides you are assigned a seat or table to sit at. Make sure that you go out and stand on the outside platforms, it is a lot fun! Once we boarded the ship in Seward we had two days to cruise and relax and one of the days we enjoyed the amazing National Glacier Bay Park. We attended some of the on board ship activities, many to choose from. Then we had 3 straight days of ports. Loved all 3 ports--Haines (took the fast ferry to Skagway for the day), Juneau and Ketchikan. The food on the ship on the lido deck, main dining room were very good. We ate at the Pinnacle grill, it was alright. We had the drink package included which was a very nice addition. This included coffee, hot cocoa, soda, beer, wine and mixed drinks. Entertainment on the ship was very good--singers, dancers, comedian, illusionist, bands, and piano player. We had no problem with embarkation or disembarkation. One nice thing to note about Holland, when you arrive at each destination before you get off the bus or train you are given a packet of information that contains your itinerary, important information and your room keys. Holland is doing something new--if you ride the train to Seward the register you on board the train. You get packet and stateroom keys before you get off the train. Your bags are waiting for you in your room. Our shore excursions I personally chose to book them independently with private companies. We did not have children with us, but there were several on this cruise. They seemed to be very happy and well entertained by the clubs they had available for their age groups. The entire staff on the Oosterdam were wonderful. They went out of their way for everyone! We loved our wait staff and stewards!!! We highly recommend this trip for anyone. Loved Alaska and love the Ooosterdam!!! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
We had a wonderful trip. Went to Vancouver and stayed in a super hotel, the Fairmont Waterfront. They parked the ship right in front of our hotel. Boarded the Holland-America's Oosterdam on Sunday the 19th and sailed at 4pm. Next ... Read More
We had a wonderful trip. Went to Vancouver and stayed in a super hotel, the Fairmont Waterfront. They parked the ship right in front of our hotel. Boarded the Holland-America's Oosterdam on Sunday the 19th and sailed at 4pm. Next day was a sea day and Formal Night. I wore my tuxedo and went to the B B King show - the band was good. Tuesday we went to Ketchikan, AK and had Dungeness Crab Feast and Wilderness boat trip. After they pulled up the crab trap, we picked up the big, live Dungeness crabs for photos. Saw many Eagles. They lured an Eagle to the boat with a fish and he swooped down to the water right in front of us. Then we went back to the Lodge and ate as much crab we could eat. Wednesday - Juneau, AK. Went to the World Famous Red Dog Saloon. In PM we went on a whale watching boat tour with Capt. Larry of Orca. Saw eleven whales diving over and over again. They were doing "Bubble net feeding" maneuvers. (See Google for interesting explanations and videos). Skagway, AK, and went on the trip on the railroad that the 49ers built over the mountains. Spectacular scenery. The track rose 3,800 feet in 14 miles. We could actually see the trail the gold prospectors had to use to get to the mines - still 600 miles away! The food and service was excellent on the cruise! It's a beautiful ship. Capt. Bos is a superb leader. We departed to Seward, AK., and took a TEN hour bus ride. I wish we hadn't gone the 4 day trip to Denali (Mt. McKinley). Alaska is just too big to go by bus. The weather was cloudy or rainy and no way I was going up in an airplane or even see Denali. Of course, the mountain scenery all over Alaska was spectacular. The next day we took another 8 hour bus ride into the Denali National Park (same size as Massachusetts!). Saw lots of animals, but they were very far away. The next day we had a day of rest, so we went to see the amazing Jeff King, the 4 time Champion of the Iditarod dog sled race at his Husky Homestead. Very interesting place and lecture, and the we loved holding the puppies. Then a very nice 8 hour dome car train trip back to Anchorage. Our ankles were the size of tree trunks from the 27 hour bus - train "legs hanging down" caused edema. The highlight of the trip, for me, was going to the Crows Nest restaurant on the 20th floor of the Capt. Cook Hotel, in Anchorage, AK and celebrating the 50th anniversary of my trip with my Dad to Anchorage in 1965. We ate in the same place 50 years ago and I vividly remember eating my very first Alaskan King Crab Legs. The Crows Nest manager, Kristen Park, made a big deal about our visit. She made us feel like royalty. She gave us a premier table overlooking the city and mountains. This was the 50th Anniversary of the hotel itself, too, since the old one was destroyed in the big 1964 Alaska earthquake, and the hotel was brand new when Dad and I went there. Kristen gave me two actual 1965 menus! (King Crab Legs - 1965 price $5.95 - 2015 price $58) . I had lots of fun and many wonderful memories with my Dad. It was an amazing, amazing trip of a lifetime. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
This was our 24th cruise and we've been on 5 different lines. This was without a doubt the best. The crew was stupendous. The ship was great and the food was exceptional. The sights and scenery on the inland waterway was beyond our ... Read More
This was our 24th cruise and we've been on 5 different lines. This was without a doubt the best. The crew was stupendous. The ship was great and the food was exceptional. The sights and scenery on the inland waterway was beyond our wildest imagination. Our cabin was always made up and immaculate. We wanted for nothing on this cruise. There were ZERO glitches or errors made. Wow! The entertainment was Broadway class. Embarkation and Disembarkation was smooth and extremely professional. On any of our cruises in the past my wife and I averaged taking about 300 digital photos.... this trip we were over 1600. The rail trip up to Denali was fun and wonderful. In the park we saw Caribou, Fox, Moose, Grizley Bear, Bald Eagles etc. Holland America you really outdid yourselves. Thank you for a fantastic vacation! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
We loved this cruise! Food everywhere, main dining room, Canaletto, Pinnacle Grill, and the Lido were outstanding. Staff everywhere very friendly. We took 5 side trips and they were excellent. Our signature suite was lovely. Quite large ... Read More
We loved this cruise! Food everywhere, main dining room, Canaletto, Pinnacle Grill, and the Lido were outstanding. Staff everywhere very friendly. We took 5 side trips and they were excellent. Our signature suite was lovely. Quite large and the beds are like sleeping on clouds! McKinley Chalet was very nice, and we had a nice room in building R where you hear the stream running. Food was very good in the Main Lodge also. Take the Jeep Excursion, you will not be disappointed! I did not rate the items below we did not use. Wonderful vacation; thank you HAL! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
We did a 14 day cruise tour to Alaska and as usual Holland did not disappoint us. We stayed in a Neptune Suite and the service and accommodations were outstanding. Our room was beautiful, very clean, spacious - the Neptune Lounge was a ... Read More
We did a 14 day cruise tour to Alaska and as usual Holland did not disappoint us. We stayed in a Neptune Suite and the service and accommodations were outstanding. Our room was beautiful, very clean, spacious - the Neptune Lounge was a real treat and we enjoyed having access for morning coffee and light breakfast options as well as afternoon tea and canapés. We were spoiled! The shows on the ship were good, however this was Alaska so who needs shows? We did attend a couple of the music numbers, Dancing with the Stars finale, the comedian and the illusionist show. Pinnacle Grill and Canaletto were exceptional as always. The service in Pinnacle was outstanding - we were seated at the same table each evening and really enjoyed our dining room steward. Once on land all of our accommodations were well appointed - Alyeska was magnificent and a stand out along with the Westmark Fairbanks. The Chalet at Denali is rustic but clean and nice - what you would expect in a national park lodge - it's no frills but comfortable. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
This was our second Holland America cruise in less than a year as last year we did a magnificent 24 day Mediteranean Cruise on the Noordam. The Oosterdam is the same size and with an almost identical layout,so we felt at home as soon as we ... Read More
This was our second Holland America cruise in less than a year as last year we did a magnificent 24 day Mediteranean Cruise on the Noordam. The Oosterdam is the same size and with an almost identical layout,so we felt at home as soon as we were on board. Embarkement in Sydney was a little slow,but this was beyond the control of HAL due to unusual circumstances. The ship had to contend with cyclones Pam and Nathan while we were on board, but our Captain Peter Bos,did a fine job of keeping us away from rough waters. We did have to miss Port Vila,which was devastated by the Cyclone and we also missed Dravuni Island as we were unable to tender due to damage to the pontoon. We did however,go to Isle of Pines,which was beautiful. However, we were quite content to stay on board and enjoy the facilities. The food was consistently delicious and plentiful and service was always friendy and efficient. The Oosterdam is very well maintained and well laid out. Entertainment on board was very good with the highlight being the incredible BB King Blues Band which appear in the Queens Lounge most nights. We never missed their show and these guys & girl are world class performers. A special mention of Ping Rose,Poyee Yancy and Michael Holt from the band who are great friendly guys and incredibly talented. We have been so happy with Holland America on our 2 cruises (38 nights) that we wouldn't consider travelling with anyone else and have already prepaid a deposit for our next cruise. Thanks Holland America for some of the best experiences of our lives! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
We are retired and decided to do a cruise on the Oosterdam. My fault that I didn't check the weather in January in this area (cyclone season) or the fact that it was school holidays. We were lucky though with only about 3 roughish ... Read More
We are retired and decided to do a cruise on the Oosterdam. My fault that I didn't check the weather in January in this area (cyclone season) or the fact that it was school holidays. We were lucky though with only about 3 roughish days but nothing inconvenient. The children were well behaved and they were well entertained by the Children's Club that they provide. Our cabin was great! Right at the back with a huge balcony on the 5th floor. We loved everything except the Ports of Call which were disappointing because we don't snorkel and there is not much on any of the New Caledonia or Fijian Islands that interested many people. We only got off at the bigger ports of call and did our own tours. I have read many negative reviews and also listened onboard to complaints. Our trip was great! I would like to add a few things that disappointed us though, as constructive criticism. I bought a drinks package pre cruise which was great, but once on board, I noted that they offered the same package cheaper!! The seated dining was not suitable because of the times. 5.30 pm (too early) and 8.00 pm (too late). We therefore had to line up each night for about 15 minutes usually to be seated and although you can sit alone, we preferred to sit with other people. Unfortunately, we didn't get to know anyone well, because each night is another group!! The gratuities is also unacceptable!! All the crew should get service fees. HAL charge $23.00 per day for tips! This is US and becomes quite a large expense $320 US for the 14 days! HAL should include the gratuities into the cost of the cruise but at a reasonable rate per cabin. Whilst going around the ship, I heard many people complaining and then heard that it was optional and that many cruisers wouldn't pay the tip. We tipped our cabin boy, food waiter and drinks waiter and opted to pay $100.00 gratuities. I think it is okay to charge gratuities but they should be compulsory for everyone and reasonable! OR HIDE THEM IN THE COST OF THE CRUISE! Also whilst talking to others, the cruise prices for the same rooms with balconies ranged from $1500 to $3200 per person which is very disappointing. Then to charge an extra $320 for gratuities is not acceptable. The librarian on board was not very helpful either which was disappointing for many people. Not pro active at all!! No Mahjong on board either!! Other than that we loved it. Others did say that the Princess and other cruise liners were better but we loved the cruise and were not perturbed about petty things like waiters tapping you on the shoulder instead of saying excuse me!! Many people were too snobby in that area. Our cabin was wonderful!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
Wow, what a fantastic holiday my family of four had. Two 50 + parents and two older teenage boys all sharing a quad balcony room. Could have been a disaster, but the best holiday ever!! Older age group on board but enough younger people to ... Read More
Wow, what a fantastic holiday my family of four had. Two 50 + parents and two older teenage boys all sharing a quad balcony room. Could have been a disaster, but the best holiday ever!! Older age group on board but enough younger people to keep our boys entertained. Amazing food, attentive, efficient crew, beautiful islands, fantastic entertainment...more amazing food, spotlessly clean and a very well run operation. A few little hiccups, here and there but brilliant all round, couldn't stay home for the $$ we paid!!!! Some whingers, but there always will be. Did I mention the fantabulous food.!!! OMG best holiday. Thank you HAL we'll be back!! ....Very grateful Aussies..oh, and thanks for the awesome food!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We had heard that the food on the Holland cruises was very good. Check. Lots of options, beautifully presented and spot-on services in the dining rooms. We were fortunate to have a waitstaff that was extraordinary - attentive, of good ... Read More
We had heard that the food on the Holland cruises was very good. Check. Lots of options, beautifully presented and spot-on services in the dining rooms. We were fortunate to have a waitstaff that was extraordinary - attentive, of good cheer, and always trying to please. Be warned, however, as we had heard as well, this is an "older" group of cruisers - generally 60's, 70's and 80's. The entertainment is not the reason to go - it was mediocre. And the amenities not that great - not a great gym, not much on-board musical entertainment, not many "games" at night to get involved with. The Cruise Director, Shane, seemed to be everywhere and was a lot of fun and the staff (whether it was the room stewards or the staff in the buffet area) seemed to always be smiling and doing whatever they could to make the cruise as enjoyable as possible. Overall, a great experience, but don't look to be wowed onboard with the after-hours fun. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
While I have read mixed reviews about the Oosterdam and this particular cruise in November in New Zealand and Australia, my wife and I can only say we enjoyed the trip. We flew from Sydney (our home) to Auckland the day before and enjoyed ... Read More
While I have read mixed reviews about the Oosterdam and this particular cruise in November in New Zealand and Australia, my wife and I can only say we enjoyed the trip. We flew from Sydney (our home) to Auckland the day before and enjoyed the city ahead of embarking on the 14 nights cruise on the Oosterdam. HAL offered us a paid upgrade to a Neptune Suite which we took to experience the larger cabin and additonal on board facilities. It is a great way to travel if you can and we did not regret the extra cost. The Neptune lounge is a great facility and the Neptune staff were excellent and were always there to assist with dinner and excursion bookings, and went out of their way to assist us when bad weather caused a change of itinerary during the cruise causing cancellations of shore bookings. However the ports of call were great in New Zealand and the extra day and night In Melbourne a bonus to those of us who love the city. While a number of pasengers complained about the change of itinerary due to bad weather, the Captain and crew made the correct call to alter the cross Tasman passage and reduce the discomfort due to heavy swells. On that issue the Oosterdam was impressive slicing through the swell with ease and was very smooth considering the 7 metre seas. The Oosterdam was in great shape during our cruise. Spotless and very pleaseant crew made the trip enjoyable. Having travelled with Holland America on several occassions this ship is of a high standard. Dining generally up to the usual good HAL standard. A couple of issues - embarkation procedure in Auckland was very poor and long delays caused irritation to some passengers and amusement to others as the ship was going nowehere until we all got aboard. The coffee at the Explorations Cafe was shocking. HAL still don't know how to make a good cappucino or expresso on their ships. More barista training please! A large number of passengers (including us) could not wait to get off the ship when in port to find a good coffee.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
This is our 6th cruise with HAL and as always a wonderful experience. The quality of service on this cruise line is next to none. Stateroom attendants are in a class all by themselves always smiling, service oriented, quick and efficient. ... Read More
This is our 6th cruise with HAL and as always a wonderful experience. The quality of service on this cruise line is next to none. Stateroom attendants are in a class all by themselves always smiling, service oriented, quick and efficient. Many thanks to our attendants Suni and Kumar. Neptune lounge concierges Roxy and Kristin were a pleasure to travel with. Always helpful, efficient and professional. Stateroom big with tons of storage space, all areas of the ship clean and in good condition. I had read previous reviews that made it sound as though the ship was in need of upgrading but we did not find this. Yes it's true that some other cruise lines may have bigger and more outlandish decor but we like the style of HAL as you always feel you're on a ship rather than on a floating resort. Food was excellent as always but occasionally we found the breakfast fare in the dining rooms to be warm rather than hot (Pinnacle and MDR) - never ate at the Lido). The Cellar Master evening was OUTSTANDING and I would highly recommend this event even more than the Cirque night. No opinion on entertainment as we attended few but went to Karaoke once only as the equipment failed and this was therefore cancelled for the rest of the cruise. We did however have a better option which was to sing with the Halcats one evening and that was wonderful, even better than Karaoke. Hopefully they could do this activity on more sailings. All ports of call were excellent although we skipped Hobart and Milford Sound due to bad sea conditions. As a compensation we had 2 days in Melbourne instead of one. Many thanks to Captain Draper for making difficult decisions but keeping passengers safe and comfortable. Embarkation: somewhat painful in Auckland due to inadequate terminal. We were kept waiting in an u heated hangar on a somewhat chilly morning. Disembarkation: fast and efficient but would have appreciated if HAL had warned us that the Sydney terminal was under construction and we could not remain inside. We were immediately forced outside to wait for transport. Thankfully it was a hot sunny day. Excursion organization: my one irritant was that on this ship if you were on a ship excursion, you got your excursion sticker given as your excursion was called and as you exited the show lounge. In our 5 previous cruises, stickers were given as you entered so you had the option to disembark and wait outside. If you were unlucky enough to have a departure at 8:45 am and the ship was docked at 7:30 am you had to wait onboard the whole time. Passengers doing non-ship excursions had a better deal than those paying the premium price. Passengers with priority disembarkation were equally penalized.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
This was our first cruise. We decided, with the recommendation of Charlene, our AAA travel agent in Minneapolis. to do the D3C "Double Denali" sea/land tour and were not disappointed. I was a bit concerned at first after reading ... Read More
This was our first cruise. We decided, with the recommendation of Charlene, our AAA travel agent in Minneapolis. to do the D3C "Double Denali" sea/land tour and were not disappointed. I was a bit concerned at first after reading some of the reviews about the Oosterdam a couple of weeks before our trip but have nothing bad to say, in fact, I found the ship, captain and crew to be outstanding! This is a two part trip. First a sea cruise from Vancouver to Seward and then land tours via bus or rail through Denali and ending in Fairbanks. Holland America takes care of their guests. You and your luggage will not fear of getting missed or lost. Outstanding stateroom stewards, great food, outstanding scenery and in our case, good weather. Probably there was not a critter we didn't see. Saw feeding humpbacks, Orcas, Grizzlys, otters, eagles, seals, i could go on and on. Take a look at their website and you will see what is possible. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
We did the sea and land package, there were 8 of us in our group. Before we left there were a few changes in our transfer and then our flights were moved ahead a whole day. I CANNOT stress enough the importance of booking your air through ... Read More
We did the sea and land package, there were 8 of us in our group. Before we left there were a few changes in our transfer and then our flights were moved ahead a whole day. I CANNOT stress enough the importance of booking your air through the cruise line if you do not plan on arriving a day or two early. HAL took great care of us and we also had the additional help of our travel agents in Michigan. HAL Representatives communicated with us every step of the way and met us at the airport to help guide us to our 5 star accommodations that were conveniently located in downtown Vancouver. I do not look forward to any cruise ship dining experience I just don't love food that much, and quite honestly it all begins to taste the same after about day 3. The Pinnacle Grill was excellent (it costs extra, we had a free dinner and lunch). I liked the 48 hour rule of not allowing the guests to self serve themselves in the Lido dining room. If I could offer one suggestion it would be to learn how to keep the food warmer, nothing ever seemed hot. When we got to the land portion I was amazed at how well organized it was. All in all, the trip was wonderful the scenery spectacular the weather better than we expected and the overall experience priceless. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
We arrived in Seward a few days early and took advantage of the many amenities offered. Stayed at the Windsong Lodge, highly recommend eating at Chinooks, Used Exit Glacier Guides for a Helicopter Ice Hiking trip and did the 6 hour fjord ... Read More
We arrived in Seward a few days early and took advantage of the many amenities offered. Stayed at the Windsong Lodge, highly recommend eating at Chinooks, Used Exit Glacier Guides for a Helicopter Ice Hiking trip and did the 6 hour fjord tour. Embarkation was absolutely painless. Took about 5 minutes just to walk through the cavernous building and get to the ship. There were no lines and we arrived around 4:00 p.m. Our balcony room was great. Offered a full shower and spa level toiletries. My only complaint about arrival is administrative. We wanted to use the unlimited laundry feature and you had to go in person to the front desk to sign the paper. (Even though the ticket indicated a box you could check for that feature.) Then, if you wanted to drink anything in the mini fridge, you also had to go to the front desk to activate that feature! Entertainment was good. Only made a few nights due to busy schedule on port days. Food was excellent. Service excellent. We had a meet and greet from our Cruise Critic roll call which was lovely. Unfortunately, not very many showed up for that and the ship laid out teas, coffees and light snacks. In addition, we met the Captain and most of the heads of department for the ship that night. One unsung gem that we completely enjoyed was the spa pass for the hydro whirlpool, heated/tile loungers and sauna. Totally worth the investment. We prepurchased a soda card at a discount...you can't use it for canned soda, only fountain. However they are also only $1.50 per drink, so the money went a long way. We encountered some rough seas (typical) and bad weather (fog), but the captain was good to slow down when the sun came out or the fog cleared. The ship also did a great job bringing any whales/wildlife to our attention and slowed for us to watch as well. We ate one evening at the Pinnacle Grill (Upcharge restaurant) and it was definitely worth the money. Our waiter even snuck us a small portion of one of the Vegetarian entrees for us to try. Dessert souffles were picture and taste perfect! Small nightclubs and piano lounge seating areas. Wasn't uncommon for us to sit in a less desirable place and move to more desirable as people left. Definitely an older crowd on the ship. There were some teens and younger children, but they were few and far between. Excursions: Haines - Wilderness adventure safari, Eagle preserve float Juneau - Taku Glacier Flight Seeing and Meal Ketchikan - Snorkeling I would give all of them excellent ratings. Debarkation was smooth as well. Not the cattle call at the dock that I am used to seeing and experiencing. It appeared that passengers actually waited for the tag to be called before they left their rooms. I would definitely sail Holland America again! 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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