Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise for our 25th wedding anniversary. This was also our 25th cruise. We had never cruised to Alaska before and over the years many fellow cruisers had recommended it. It was our 3rd time on the Oosterdam and our 2nd ... Read More
We chose this cruise for our 25th wedding anniversary. This was also our 25th cruise. We had never cruised to Alaska before and over the years many fellow cruisers had recommended it. It was our 3rd time on the Oosterdam and our 2nd Neptune suite so we knew what to expect as far as accommodations. We stayed in Seattle at the Marriott waterfront for two days prior to embarkation and had a nice time there exploring the city and doing the usual touristy things. We rode the Light rail for the experience and ate at two notable places in Seattle: Belltown Pizza, and the Biscuit Bitch, both within walking distance from the hotel. Embarkation was easy but different from any others we’ve experienced. We arrived at 11:00 and walked right into the terminal but were not directed by anyone to the proper stations for check-in. There were signs of course, but with so many people walking around at once it seemed a little confusing not to have a person directing traffic. We expected to complete a health check first as we usually do but surprisingly that was not required for this cruise. We found our way to the proper line and were checked in quickly and were instructed to wait for our number to be called. The waiting area was combined with Princess and Holland ships, a first for us. We began boarding about 45 minutes later and walked right on to the ship without any greeting at all. We expected at least a greeting and maybe the usual mimosas as suite guests but nothing. We went straight to our cabin (5190) and found it ready for us but without luggage so we went exploring a little and had lunch in the Lido. Our luggage had arrived by 1:00. Our steward, Toni, took very good care of us. The room is a nice size and the balcony is amazing as we remembered. We stayed in the same cabin 18 months earlier. It’s perfect for Alaska viewing. Dinner in the main dining room was routine— food satisfactory, service good. With one exception, it remained that way throughout the cruise. We had dinner in the Pinnacle Grill one evening and it was considerably better than the Main Dining Room, as expected. Breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill was very good each day. We avoided the Lido as much as possible. It’s crowded, difficult to get a seat, long lines, and mediocre food. Hundreds of people in there at once, many wandering around, stopping and turning without notice, breaking in line. It’s a madhouse. Some use it as a place to sit long after eating rather than a place to eat and leave, contributing to the shortage of places to sit and eat. There are so many other places on the ship to sit; I don’t understand the desire to use the Lido. On the first night we began to have a lot of ship movement which got steadily worse throughout the night and into the next day. The captain announced at noon that the winds were gale force in excess of 40 mph which had not been forecast which were causing the significant motion. He predicted it would improve later in the day but it didn’t until after midnight. Many got sick including crew. Fortunately my wife and I did not. We did the Mendenhall Glacier guided hike in Juneau, which was strenuous but very nice. We walked around town in Sitka, visiting the historical museum with totem poles, native artifacts, and artisan presentations, and a stroll through downtown shopping. We found it a very pleasant place. In Ketchikan we watched the Great Alaskan Lumberjack show. It was a little corny, but entertaining. The Hubbard Glacier cruising was spectacular, especially from our enormous wrap around verandah. Lastly, we got off in Victoria, walked to the Fisherman's Wharf Park about ½ mile from the dock. Lots of places to eat and to see unusual houses built on the water. As for entertainment, my wife attended a couple of shows but didn’t find them interesting enough to stay the entire time. I like to play blackjack but not unless the table is at least 4-6 people. Many times there were just one or two at a table so I didn’t play as often as I like. We did like the Lincoln Center musicians and the two piano players just across from the casino. The group playing at the B.B. King club sounded great but we did not go in. We had a good time, and we’re glad we went but doubt we’ll ever visit Alaska again. Once was enough for us. In fact I think we realized something on this cruise. Our enthusiasm for cruising has diminished over the years. The past two cruises with a Neptune Suite have been nice upgrades from previous cruises and a must for future cruises but at a cost that now competes with some other pricey getaways. I think we’ll try something different for a while. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We are back, mostly unpacked and exhausted. We have been on cruises to Alaska 4 other times, 3 of them on HAL. We picked this one since it docked in Sitka where most others do not, preferring Skagway. It was well worth it. Embarkation ... Read More
We are back, mostly unpacked and exhausted. We have been on cruises to Alaska 4 other times, 3 of them on HAL. We picked this one since it docked in Sitka where most others do not, preferring Skagway. It was well worth it. Embarkation was the easiest we have ever experienced. It all went smoothly and we were on the ship much earlier than the time we had been assigned (since we transferred from a hotel). We went right to our cabin where we found the scooter and oxygen concentrator I had ordered already in the cabin. There was more than enough room for the rented scooter, my own scooter and walking around. The Lido beckoned and lunch was good. Then, there was one hitch...the drink card I had ordered was nowhere to be found. Down to Guest Services where I was promised it would be delivered in 9-10 minutes. It wasn't. It took 2 more contacts with Guest Services before they printed it for me at the desk. The only other problem was, one evening while trying to watch a movie in the cabin, there was a pop and the electricity on one side of the room was out. There was a maintenance man at the cabin in 15 minutes and it was fixed. Probably a breaker needed to be thrown. We ate in the dining room most of the time since my husband has trouble walking and the Lido is hard on him. I found, however, that the selection was not as good as on past cruises. The food was good, just the selection was poor. The main dining room was very good although, here as well, the selection wasn't up to previous cruises. The table staff and hosts were wonderful. Adi (host) and Von (wine steward) were especially wonderful. We had open seating and had the same table every evening with different companions, all fantastic people. We are not night people and only attended one show. The ports were wonderful. We only did one excursion (since we'd done this so many times before) and it was good. There was some confusion as to an ADA bus, but that got cleared up pretty quickly. The rest of the time we just wandered around...exactly what I wanted to do. There was one particular shop on Creek Street in Ketchikan (Perfect Partners) that I wanted to visit and it had just opened. I was thrilled. Disembarkation was as smooth as glass. We were on the bus before the time we were scheduled to leave the ship. Then there was the airport..... This may be our last cruise due to medical reasons. It was a wonderful week. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We selected this cruise because it was raining in San Diego the week after New Years and we decided to treat ourselves. We were on a family vacation and it was too rainy so we did the illogical thing and jumped on an Alaskan cruise in May, ... Read More
We selected this cruise because it was raining in San Diego the week after New Years and we decided to treat ourselves. We were on a family vacation and it was too rainy so we did the illogical thing and jumped on an Alaskan cruise in May, the rainy season. We live in Eastern Washington so a Seattle departure and a short trip were the most critical elements. Sunday to Sunday works. We both had been on Alaskan cruises before so this wasn't about anything other than a nice boat ride in spring. We knew we wouldn't be taking any excursions because only flight related ones appealed and the weather is not predictable enough to spend that kind of money for marginal ceilings. So we rode the boat for the experience. And we had a great time. While not night owls, we spent every evening moving back and forth between the BB King venue and the pianos in the Billboard Onboard section. Made it worth the trip. Stage shows were fine, but we don't care much for magicians, even though the young lady was good, and dance troupes don't grab our hearts, and again they were good. The comedian did a great job with audience participation, but that meant he picked people from the crowd, so we absented ourselves. Our travel agent suggested an aft cabin and picked one for us on the stern. Loved it. Yes, there is motion. Yes, it is the ocean. Decks are slightly larger on the stern. Had it been warmer, this would have been even better, but we had some chilly times so indoors was the choice. Liked the stern so much we booked another one for our next adventure. Ship was in great shape, clean, constantly being cleaned, and bright and reasonably cheery. (Day before our departure the Oosterdam bumped another Holland ship in Vancouver, slight damage, but just below our room) We were contacted when the crew was going to be working below to repair the cosmetic damage to the ship, great communication. Public areas were great, as well. Service wonderful with attentive, positive folks everywhere, except maybe the guy at the dining room check in. Tough job. No big deal. Food was great when it was great, okay part of the time, and never lousy. Gala nights were the best food. The Lido was more hit and miss. Best food was generally anything Asian. Might be comfort zone for staff. American breakfast was okay, step above Best Western free breakfast, but not a full flight better. Lots of other options. Our last Holland cruise was through the Panama Canal so longer cruise. That trip did not have a huge number of ball cap, ragged jeans, with Jack Daniels shirts. We had some of these. (sorry for the stereotype) Things like lines, personal space, and gentle conversation weren't what I was used to, but this was only apparent on the Lido. Crowd management was a bit rough there as far as seating went. Too many large tables with one person sitting while unseated guests were searching for a table. In defense, this was the first Alaska cruise of the season and was a sell out, so maybe some ramping up. Same was true for first destination. Disembarking was rough with some frustration. Later ports were better. We had a great time, met some wonderful folks, enjoyed wonderful entertainment and signed up for more, just on a different ship going elsewhere. No knock on the Oosterdam, just wanted something different and smaller. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
It's been a few years since we've cruised on Holland America. Our last cruise on Royal Caribbean was not good so for our next cruise we chose HAL. Overall HAL provides good value for the money. Everyone has different cruise ... Read More
It's been a few years since we've cruised on Holland America. Our last cruise on Royal Caribbean was not good so for our next cruise we chose HAL. Overall HAL provides good value for the money. Everyone has different cruise expectations and HAL checks many of our boxes, though not all. We will continue to experience different cruise lines. For us, we cruise to spend time with our family. We enjoy the food, the destinations, shore excursions, and to be at sea. We do not care for drinking, partying, and childrens entertainments. For us, HAL is a good choice. This review is of the Oosterdam May 5 Alaskan Explorer cruise from Seattle. The Ship: The Oosterdam was in good shape, though I wish the last refit had kept more of the old Dutch Masters feel. The public areas were spacious and well appointed (I think the HAL Vista class ships have the highest area per passenger rating of all the majors). I like a full promenade deck, and it was the place to be during the cruise down the inside passage from Ketchikan. The card room(s) were well used by groups playing all kinds of games together. One plus of the Vista Class of ships is the retractable dome over the Lido Pool area. This is very helpful in Alaska as it can rain at any moment, and can be quite chilly at times. The Exploration Cafe was my favorite public area. The gym was well used and I thought the class instructors were quite good. I did two yoga classes on the 7 day cruise and worked out daily. The Food: I was especially impressed with the Lido Market (buffet) which we used for breakfast and lunch. There were special selections from around the world daily, and all manner of offerings for every taste. Some of our party really enjoyed the Dive In for burgers and fries. We ate at the Pinnacle Grill one night ($35 surcharge but ours was a gift from the travel agency). The food there was very good. Not quite as good as Ruth's Chris or something like that, but better than Outback for sure. The main dining room was pretty good for the MDR on a major cruise line. Some of the menu selections weren't that great and so it was hit or miss if you picked the right thing. One night I chose a fish (not great) and my spouse chose the deconstructed pot roast (good). Service started out a bit shaky, but I learned many of the staff had just joined the ship as our cruise was the first cruise of the Alaska season. They got better as the week progressed. Destinations: Juneau, Sitka, Hubbard Glacier, Ketchikan, Victoria. We were on a Coral Princess Southbound cruise from Anchorage to Vancouver a few years ago. We chose that cruise because it went to Glacier Bay. On this cruise we were looking for value, as we were cruising with relatives and cost was a concern. If I was only going on one Alaska cruise in my life, I would want to do Glacier Bay. And I would cruise later in the season. That said, Hubbard Glacier was worthwhile. Despite the rain and lots of ice in the water our captain was able to get us a pretty good view of the glacier face. It was a fun day, and a lot of us went out to the bow to take photos. I spent some time on the promenade as well. And a secret spot - Deck 9 Forward in front of the Gym was a good and mostly empty spot for viewing, though you are further up from the water. Shore Excursions: Good excursions overall. We did the Mount Roberts Tramway in Juneau as we had been to Mendenhall previously. It is worthwhile. We were not in Juneau long or else we would have probably gone up to Mendenhall again. We did Birds, Bears, and Barnacles in Sitka. Fun excursion. The bear place is still under renovation. We went to see the Totem Poles in Ketchikan. I would like to spend more time in Ketchikan someday. We were only in Victoria for 5 hours so we didn't do much. We have been there several times in the past. It was evening so options were limited. I would like to see Bouchard Gardens in the spring, though. At Sea: I like the feeling of being at sea. I am not looking for the floating hotel experience. I think a lot of the newer ships (ahem Royal) are very inward focused. The Oosterdam is very much in the vein of a classic cruise ship. I like hanging out outside, playing cards with family, enjoying good food, relaxing. Passengers were a good mix. HAL has a reputation of being the cruise line of choice for elders. I have not found this to be true. Though there were few children, most age groups were well represented, with a diversity of passengers from mostly North America and Asia. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because we live in the Seattle area and love not having to deal with air travel at the conclusion, also because my husband can only walk with a walker. We were familiar with all the ports (only one tender port), and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we live in the Seattle area and love not having to deal with air travel at the conclusion, also because my husband can only walk with a walker. We were familiar with all the ports (only one tender port), and we like longer cruises. We booked the Signature Suite. We needed extra room for the walker and no accessible rooms were available. The first glitch we encountered was that there were only 3 people available to get the wheelchair passengers to their rooms so we waited an extra hour to board. Upon eventually arriving at our suite, we were distressed to find that they have scaled down their bathroom doors below standard size, so it isn't possible to get a standard sized walker through the door. He had to grasp the counter and walk the length of the room holding on to reach the toilet. There was a full sized bathtub--useless to us--and the shower was so small with only one grab bar that he could barely use it. It was just about impossible to shower without flooding the bathroom. After having paid a couple of thousand dollars extra for a suite, this was a disappointment. The balcony door is very heavy and the thresh-hold very high. The good: the showroom, The Main Stage, is great for the disabled; one could put another row of seats between the row of seats on the lower floor and access is great. They have UHD huge televisions in the staterooms and a fair assortment of late movies to choose from. However, we couldn't get enough volume to be able to understand the dialog in the movies, while on all other channels you could have blasted it high enough to hear for a half block in either direction. The Main Stage did blast all their shows that loud. We had to go through immigration twice and had a serious issue with getting wheelchair assistance to get on and off the ship. We were misinformed both times by Guest Services. Phone contact, and even personal contact with Guest Services was poor due to lack of fluent English on the part of staff and difficulty hearing them on the phone. We had a dinner in Canaletto's which wasn't any better than in the main dining room. We had lunch in the Pinnacle which was very good, except that they served instant coffee with our dessert. The "worker bees", as always on HAL are wonderful. Food was acceptable, if not great. Over all, I think many cruise lines are subtlety (sometimes not so subtlety) trying to discourage disabled passengers, while trying to appear welcoming for good public relations. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My husband and I have cruised on Holland America a few times. The last two were to the Caribbean although our previous trip was on a different ship. This cruise was wonderful. We loved the ports, the excursions, the crew, the other ... Read More
My husband and I have cruised on Holland America a few times. The last two were to the Caribbean although our previous trip was on a different ship. This cruise was wonderful. We loved the ports, the excursions, the crew, the other passengers, and the relaxing atmosphere. We remember the food being much tastier and more exotic in the past. This cruise had good food, but not fantastic food which is usually a large topic of our conversation when we come home. The souvenir glasses we received with the cordials (very tasty!!) offered in the dining room were high quality and the perfect size keepsake! We have never seen this option before and we loved it! The Oosterdam is on the older side as ships go and had areas of sewerage smell. Our room, thankfully, wasn't in those areas. The only thing we didn't like about our Verandah room was that the pillows really smelled. I slept with towels wrapped around mine. Other than that the rooms were great. The movie options on the television were top notch! Loved that option. During our visit to Holland America's island in the Bahama's we visited their bar only to be told that our drink package didn't include drinks on the island. We were very flabbergasted as this is Holland America's property. That was very disappointing and we left without purchasing a drink. I visited the spa and purchased "The Perfect Day" package which included a facial and massage. The facial was merely a face wash and mask. The massage focused mostly on the back and head. I was told afterward that my shoulders needed a lot of attention and I should book another appointment. Also, there was a lot of pushing of product. Not sure I would pay for that again. I've enjoyed massages at other locations during vacations that were far better. Onboarding was quick and easy. Disembarkment was easy, but the line through customs was extraordinarily long. For us it was no problem, but for anyone who has difficultly standing that long or someone who has to be somewhere quick, this is not ideal. All in all we enjoyed the cruise and would definitely sail with HA again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
It has been several years, cruises and cruise lines since we were on board a HAL ship, 2016 to be exact. We chose this trip primarily because of the time frame, pricing and lazy itinerary. Had not been on the Oosterdam, and it did have Key ... Read More
It has been several years, cruises and cruise lines since we were on board a HAL ship, 2016 to be exact. We chose this trip primarily because of the time frame, pricing and lazy itinerary. Had not been on the Oosterdam, and it did have Key West in the itinerary, always a favorite stop for us. We departed from Port Everglades, utilizing a nearby parking lot not directly on port property to save a few bucks, and I have to say, the embarkation process was one of the fastest and smoothest of our 20+ cruises. No issues, we walked right on board are were able to go directly to our cabin without any wait at all. And, after the cruise, disembarkation was also a really quick and painless process. We were permitted to remain in our cabins or any of the public areas, and we got off right on time in a logical and unhurried but steady manner. What a treat! We selected a forward balcony cabin on the Observation Deck (10010) and found it to be smaller than expected. The balcony was apparently an afterthought add-on and was extremely narrow in both depth and width. The 2 chairs had to be placed just so before the door could be opened and unless you sat far left you had to get up to let a second person out of the door. Room for more than 2 not possible. Disappointing, but spent many hours enjoying the views, and the weather was great for our 7 days. Had excellent port views from here also. Cabin location suited us well. We do not suffer from any sea sickness issues and actually love it when there some rocking. While others might complain, we have never had a "too rough" cruise. Guess we have good sea legs. It was very quiet with only 25 cabins and getting an elevator never seemed to take long. We were told the ship was full, but it sure didn't seem like it, except on the Lido Deck at key dining times. The only other public area on our deck was the EXC/Excursion Desk/Observation Deck/Crow's Nest that housed a library, meeting room, coffee shop / bar and wonderful comfortable chairs to read and watch the sea from. Our cabin did have great shower pressure, plenty of hot water, great bed, and an air conditioner that actually worked really well to keep us comfortable. The ship itself, together with our cabin and balcony, were immaculate. Our room steward did a wonderful job for us and also kept us fully stocked with ice at all times. He was a joy and very unobstusive, popping in and out while we were out and about. Clearly an older ship, she was in good repair and literally sparkled. Rugs in public areas were clean and some parts of public areas were shampooed every day, especially port days. I had read criticism of her fittings being old and decrepit. Perhaps given my age, early 60s, I felt more at home than younger counterparts, but it felt warm, comfortable and a bit homey to me. I prefer the smaller ships to the new, slick & glitzy mega liners as they are easier for older legs to navigate and miss none of the action. Except....there wasn't much action. Oh, there were activities, but not much that we found suited our taste. We don't gamble, play trivia, bingo, board games, Bridge, Mahjong or assemble puzzles. We don't like Blues or jazz music much either. So that left us longing for more classical, piano, or some soft rock (nope, none of that). We liked the Test Kitchen seminars, and wished they would let us sample some of the things made, but they said they "could not for health reasons"? Made no sense. We also thoroughly enjoyed the BBC Planet Earth offerings and the live orchestral performance with one of the movies was delightful. The main stage entertainment was OK, nothing special, with the usual comic, magician and one musical dancing/singing show. Meh, the movie offerings were better than the live performances for us. The shore excursions we took were fine, and we have no complaints of the city tours taken. The food was the biggest disappointment of all. Everything looked yummy, but was lacking in taste and seasonings. Very bland. Rubbery chicken, tough steaks (even in the famed extra-cost Pinnacle Grill the Tenderloin just wasn't), the fish was fish-y tasting. Nothing was served hot, just lukewarm at best. HAL of old dining is no more. The lone exception seemed to be the breads and rolls and cookies. Coffee was plentiful and nicely stronger than average. The chocolate extravaganza looked so enticing but the reality was there was not much taste to any of it. Too many corners cut I guess. Lido Deck breakfast offerings and sandwiches and salads kept us the happiest, but only if we waited until the crowds died down. Very disappointed in the food offerings, for sure. The very best thing about this sailing was the crew and staff. Every single person we encountered seemed genuinely happy to be aboard and strived to please. That part was just remarkable! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because the itinerary fit our spring break schedule. The ship was very nice and well maintained. Customer service was excellent. The food was very good and dining staff were excellent! The waiter was very ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the itinerary fit our spring break schedule. The ship was very nice and well maintained. Customer service was excellent. The food was very good and dining staff were excellent! The waiter was very accommodating to our 8 year old grandson and even made him an origami animal each night, showed him magic tricks and made sure he had something to eat from the kids menu that he liked at each meal. Our grandson adored him! The ventriloquist and comedy shows were very good and we enjoyed the Discovery Earth production (warning - if you don't like snakes, don't watch the first segment - could be scary for young children - our grandson did not attend). My husband enjoyed the Lincoln Center performances. The other music shows were fair - we passed on the second performance. BB King's nightclub and performances were very enjoyable. The "chocolate surprise" evening was very disappointing. It lasted about 3 minutes and if you were not in the right place at the right time you didn't get anything! Club Hal for children was fair - there were games and arts and crafts. There were video games available and my grandson enjoyed that. He attended about 3 times but quickly became bored and stayed with us the rest of the time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Our family (children and grandchildren) & friends eagerly anticipated HAL with its elegant charm and service for us oldies. HAL did extremely well on service, food, cabins, and efficiency on board. Our group enjoyed the cruise and our ... Read More
Our family (children and grandchildren) & friends eagerly anticipated HAL with its elegant charm and service for us oldies. HAL did extremely well on service, food, cabins, and efficiency on board. Our group enjoyed the cruise and our expectations were exceeded. We had a wonderful table and staff on Deck3 and Rudy's Fish premium dining to celebrate our 52 Wedding Anniversary. Compared to Norwegian, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Viking it was at least equal. Our balcony suite on Deck8 was larger than expected. The cabin steward was very friendly but unobtrusive, keeping our cabin spotlessly clean every day. We had our breakfast served in our cabin each day at no extra cost so we could eat in our pajamas and avoid the crowds in Lido. All this would have earned a 5*. Now the negatives. Poor communication between Call Center staff on shore and ship staff resulted in our group of 6 being split up for dinner if I had not escalated it, and then we got a nice table together. Poor organization resulted in a very late start of our Cozumel shore excursion and then we were rushed through the Chocolate, Glass bottom boat and Rum part of the tour. We had wonderful fellow passengers except for a couple of weird ones who showed up 20 mins late for a shore excursion and then demanded their money back when the only seats left were in the back of the bus. Another situation was when a family with 5 children considered it OK to let their kids aged 3 - 6 monopolize the BB King dance floor at 9 pm. preventing adults from dancing. They said there were no signs that said no kids! Another family seated their 3 young kids in the first row at the Comedienne show when they knew she would be telling adult jokes. There is no accounting for poor taste and lack of common sense. Apart from these examples, the fellow passengers were very urbane and cultured. In general the shows were OK - not as good as Norwegian. But I guess the bigger ships can afford higher quality/cost entertainers. I have yet to see any shows like "burn the floor" The Jersey Boys, Beatles, etc that we saw on Norwegian. But we prefer the quieter and more cozy atmosphere of smaller ships. So bottom line, a 4* experience! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We are a 50 something couple travelling with my 80 something parents. I chose this cruise because my elderly parents find it easier to get around the smaller ships of Holland America and the stops were different than stops I have made ... Read More
We are a 50 something couple travelling with my 80 something parents. I chose this cruise because my elderly parents find it easier to get around the smaller ships of Holland America and the stops were different than stops I have made before. I was pleasantly surprised that the passengers were not as old as on previous HA cruises. Service was excellent except at Lido, which was crowded, slow and difficult to maneuver. Food in main dining room okay, not great. Wine service in Main dining room terrible. Many of the wines on wine list were not available, some wines had turned and other wines were not kept at proper temperature. Pinnacle good, but probably not worth the money. Canaletto fantastic and worth every penny. Would have gone twice if I could. Minimal activites though what they had was good. BB Kings performers were terrific but their sets were short and over early. No place to dance after they finished. Billboard also very fun. Main stage shows mediocre. Key west fun. We just explored on foot independently. Had a surprisingly good time on catamaran snorkel in DR. Crew fantastic. Had a terrible fishing trip in Turks. I felt unsafe on the boat due to their reckless driving. Only one fish was caught but I suspect we would have been more successful with live bait and sonar, neither of which they had. HA should seriously reevaluate their relationship with this provider. Private island absolutely beautiful. I personally prefer Celebrity because of the wider range of entertainment but the food and service were better on HA. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We needed a warm reprieve from the Canadian cold, and this was the perfect cruise. We loved the ports -especially Half Moon Cay. It helped that we had good weather! We took the conch trolley in Key West which was informative and fun. ... Read More
We needed a warm reprieve from the Canadian cold, and this was the perfect cruise. We loved the ports -especially Half Moon Cay. It helped that we had good weather! We took the conch trolley in Key West which was informative and fun. Otherwise, we enjoyed the pools and beaches onshore. The service onboard was friendly and attentive. We chose to read and rest, so we had no experience with the entertainment. The Main Dining Room food was good, with some items better than others. We enjoyed our dinner in Canaletto. Food choice in the Lido Market was varied and good. Of course, one should not expect mass-produced meals to be gourmet experiences! Like some others, we found our Verandah Stateroom to be comfortable, but the bathrooms do need to be updated. We are looking forward to our July cruise from Rotterdam to Boston and appreciate our contact with fellow CC cruisers for tour arrangements and advice. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
This was my 2nd Caribbean cruise and we brought 2 friends who had never cruised before. We wanted a smaller ship and also the likelihood of less young children, hence the choice of Holland America and the Oosterdam. I must say that the ... Read More
This was my 2nd Caribbean cruise and we brought 2 friends who had never cruised before. We wanted a smaller ship and also the likelihood of less young children, hence the choice of Holland America and the Oosterdam. I must say that the staff made the holiday the best, from the room service, sommelier, waiters, barkeeps, most of the folks were friendly, helpful and always willing to please - of course there's always a few exceptions so we just didn't go where we weren't treated the best! Overall we enjoyed the amenities onboard but a few things could be improved upon. The evening show entertainment while very good was VERY SHORT!!! I realize there's 2 shows most nights but each show was less than an hour which fell quite short of a really entertaining event. We also found many of the daily activities somewhat bland - there was no events during the day by the pool, which we had experienced on our other cruise which was very enjoyable and entertaining. As well on the other cruise there were nightly, adult interactive games - like a newly wed game etc etc. which gets everyone involved. I did miss this sort of activity onboard. So if you are looking for a really relaxing, laid back atmosphere, with little excitement, good food, drinks, and lots of rest - you will very much enjoy the Oosterdam. I would likely specifically give a shout out to our room attendants - Astrid and Ali, our wonderful wait staff - Von and Tre, bartenders - Junar (Jose), Paula, Ryan; all lovely to deal with and deserve a big hand! Our cruise director Becca also deserves a shout out as she too certainly went above and beyond the duties of a 'traditional' cruise director!! The signature beverage package was very useful and the Pinnacle Grill dinner was fabulous!! Overall a lovely holiday really - very enjoyable. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our second cruise with Holland America and we were impressed with the Oosterdam. The embarkation was the best we have ever experienced. After processing our boarding passes and receiving our room card we waited in a large area ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Holland America and we were impressed with the Oosterdam. The embarkation was the best we have ever experienced. After processing our boarding passes and receiving our room card we waited in a large area with a card number. When our number was called we walked on the ship and went straight to our cabin where we left our carry on stuff and headed for lunch in the Lido Market. The decor in our cabin was new, pleasant and well done. Our attendant Mardi did a great job checking on us and keeping the ice container filled. The Lido Market also is decorated beautifully. When we saw it at night it really was quite upscale looking and gave me a new appreciation for its attractiveness during the day. Food was simply outstanding in the Lido Market. Servers behind the buffet served us. We usually ate breakfast and lunch there and their coffee was the best. Our evening meal was 5:30 in the Main Dining Room 3. We were seated right on time at a table for 8 and had pleasant dining companions. We were able to enjoy several gorgeous sunsets while we were there for dinner. The Christian band Mercy Me had about 900 guests on this cruise so the overall age appeared more diverse. The band brought their families for a time of R&R and the actor in the movie "I Can Only Imagine" , J. Michael Finley was on this cruise with his family. The pool area had plenty of lounges and most of the time there were empty ones in the shade. The Lido pool was a good size and I was able to do my lap swim one of the days we were in port. Some things are out of our control and the weather in the Caribbean that week was one of them. We could not stop at Half Moon Cay for our picnic because the high winds made tendering dangerous. The next day was At Sea. Both days were sunny and pleasant. We also were able to see most of the lunar eclipse of the Blood Moon. Right at the last minute a cloud cover moved in and poof - it disappeared. On Tuesday we were diverted to Samana, Dominican Republic because of high winds and tendering issues at Cap Cana. The ship offered a few excursions but we enjoyed a walk around this port. Samana is where the whales spend time during the months of January through March although we didn't see any. Wednesday was spent in San Juan, Puerto Rico rather than Grand Turks due to high winds. I was disappointed about this because I enjoy the beach that is near the port where the ship docks. On Thursday we did dock at Amber Cove. This is a great place to play. We enjoyed the water slide and the pool area. This area has been developed nicely for the cruise ships. There is really a lot to do on this ship. BBC Earth Experience shared several good shows about nature in diverse parts of the world. The area called Billboard Onboard has two piano players that presented music and songs from Great Standards, On request (excellent) The 1970s etc. We stopped at their 7:30 shows after dinner. Mainstage performers were Tim Kaminski and Derek Floyd. Our cabin was 5136 with a balcony. There were no rooms across the hall from us and it was very quiet and pleasant. There is plenty of storage room. The beds, sheets and pillows were comfortable and clean.We were disappointed there was no night light in the bathroom. We enjoyed seeing Fox News on the TV in our cabin. One thing we really liked was the Navigator for our mobile device. We were able to check our phones for information on the ship, view our onboard statement, etc . We were invited to the Captain's lunch during one of our days at sea. It was very nice, well attended and Captain Rens van Eerten and the entire crew did a fabulous job to make our cruise safe and interesting. We chose to carry our luggage off the ship ourselves at the end of the cruise. This was so easy and well organized. Our shuttle to the Park and Cruise was waiting for us when we walked out. And just like that we were home! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Hollard America Oosterdam Jan 19-26, 2019 Great Cruise! -Had a beautiful cruise on the Oosterdam and lots of sunny, warm days! Embarkation was the best ever! We arrived shortly after 1:00 with no lines or waiting to board the ... Read More
Hollard America Oosterdam Jan 19-26, 2019 Great Cruise! -Had a beautiful cruise on the Oosterdam and lots of sunny, warm days! Embarkation was the best ever! We arrived shortly after 1:00 with no lines or waiting to board the ship. We went right to our balcony stateroom on deck 4 and were soon greeted by our wonderful cabin steward Yumus who took great care of our room and kept our ice bucket filled. I was thrilled that we had a bathtub, though it showed signs of age. -We joined our 4 friends on the Lido deck for cocktails, then the Muster drill, followed by dancing at our Sail Away party. We had “anytime dining” which worked well with little or not waiting at the main dining room. -Shortly after boarding, we learned that the Christian band Mercy Me was on board to give several prepaid concerts. We heard toward the end of the cruise that staff considered this group of passengers as a whole to be among the most courteous and kind. -We did not see more than 10 children, all of whom were well behaved. Most of the passengers seemed to be our age (early 60’s) and older. -We loved that there was a Happy Hour daily in the Billboard Lounge at 4:00 with buy one drink, get the second for $2. They brought appetizers and had Trivia hosted by our Cruise Director Becca. We had wonderful Whiskey Sours, Chocolate Martinis, Mudslides, and Bourbon and Diet Cokes. All refreshing! -At 6:00 daily in the Gallery lounge, they featured three $4 drinks which varied from day to day. They had Lemon Drop Martinis, Manhattans, Blue Margaritas, Appletinis, Classic Martinis, and Brandy Alexanders. They brought olives, bread stick crackers, potato chips and nuts. There were comfortable couches, wing back chairs and warm lighting where we felt like we were in our own family rooms with delightful servers to attend always with a smile. -The Lido buffet dining area was lovely with perfect lighting including lamps, nice upholstered chairs, and cloth napkins. Loved the made to order pasta bar and made to order salad bar. Pizza was also available. Food was served by the servers on request as you went through the line. There was a dessert and scooped ice cream area with toppings available. I was disappointed that they were out of waffle cones the three times I went there. At breakfast, there was a made to order crepes and waffle area. I loved the blueberry crepes. By the pool, there was a taco and hamburger bar. -Many mornings, we ordered room service including omelets, fruit, coffee, cereal, and rolls. Service was prompt and courteous. We were given a form to fill out nightly if we wished room service and place on our door knobs. -I was glad that I’d read the reviews and the Holland America policy ahead of time and knew we could carry on a carton of soft drinks, bottled water, and 1 bottle of wine per person. -The dining room was nice. I found the food okay, though a couple in our group loved it especially the onion soup, noodles and beef, and Weiner schnitzel. We liked that a cheese plate was available each evening for dessert. Dessert varied each evening. I especially loved the chocolate lava cake and key lime pie. -The public restrooms were all warmly lit, and I LOVED the rolled-up wash cloth to use to dry hands. So luxurious! -We heard the comedian Tim Kaminsky several times. He was clean and very good. One night there was to be a dancing show early evening but it was cancelled due to accident a performer had, so Tim was asked last minute to do another performance. He did a fine job. -We were to stop in the Bahamas our first day on Sunday, but had to cancel due to not being able to dock safely. We attended Mass at 5:00 pm. We were pleased a Mass was available but would have preferred a morning time. It was well attended with no extra seats available. -One morning, my husband and I attended a cooking demonstration at America’s Test Kitchen, but were disappointed to discover there were no samples available. Blueberry pancakes and artichoke and salmon omelets were featured, so it seems basic enough to provide small samples. I’ve attended shows on other ships and always had delicious samples. -We were to stop in Turks and Caicos, but due to weather stopped in Samana, Dominican Republic. We did not book excursions through the ship. We met a man who offered to take us on a motorcycle pulling a four person cart on a tour to a waterfall and a beach for $25 each. It was a bumpy ride seeing many small houses, some with dirt floors, and all with bars on the windows. We arrived at the path to the waterfall with locals telling us of the “5 minute walk” to the waterfall. It was really 20 minutes with many rocks and hills. Most of us were in flip flops crossing rock streams. Locals were along the path selling jewelry, paintings, and drinks along the way. One fellow climbed a tree yelling, “Monkey Man” and quickly descended the tree as we walked past with his hat out looking for tips. When we got to the falls, 3 young men were jumping off the falls as a guy counted to three, then passed the hat for more tips. We hiked back to where our motorcycle had dropped us off and rode to a small beach. We stayed about an hour anxious to return to the ship. It was an interesting adventure. -Our second stop, which was not scheduled due to weather was in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We went to a restaurant, did some shopping, and the guys walked around the fort. We found some wonderful Michael Kors purses at a good price. -Our final stop was in the Dominican Republic. We went to a large pool and had a wonderful day of swimming, water sliding, and hanging out at the pool. -My husband liked the casino and found the Craps Table attendants friendly. -We went to the BB King lounge a couple of times and the band was terrific! The sets were somewhat short. Overall, we found limited opportunities to dance. -Loved that liquor purchased in the onboard store was delivered to our room the morning of our last day at sea. -We would have liked an aerobics class and exercises in the pool. We’ve cruised Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian and were a bit disappointed that the Oosterdam didn’t feature gleaming brass staircases and a tiered balcony atrium with entertainment. I missed the entertainment crew led dancing opportunities, the hairy man contest, and Newly Wed Game. -Overall, the cruise was great! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Chose this cruise for ports as we have done several Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. This was to be Half Moon Cay, Cap Cana DR, Grand Turk and Amber Cove DR. Have wanted to see Turks & Caicos and DR. I was somewhat ... Read More
Chose this cruise for ports as we have done several Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. This was to be Half Moon Cay, Cap Cana DR, Grand Turk and Amber Cove DR. Have wanted to see Turks & Caicos and DR. I was somewhat concerned about the Oosterdam as far as updates and refurbishment. It was in good condition with no particularly worn areas. The cabin was at least partially updated. Not sure if more to come. Hallways look slightly dated. Dining was prompt with good service. No complaints on food. Unfortunately we had to skip Half Moon Cay as tenders could not pick up passengers due to waves. This was then a sea day. We were unable to stop at Cap Cana for the same reason and they substituted Samana DR. We didn’t get off the ship. Grand Turk was also cancelled for weather/safety reasons and they substituted San Juan. They did dock at Amber Cove. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Embarkation went well, we were aboard at 11:30. Dining and cabin was excellent. MDR food was terrific PG was ok nice venue not sure it's worth the surcharge Had a retreat cabana booked which was great but windy. ... Read More
Embarkation went well, we were aboard at 11:30. Dining and cabin was excellent. MDR food was terrific PG was ok nice venue not sure it's worth the surcharge Had a retreat cabana booked which was great but windy. Ship needs maintenance we got stuck in the elevator going to cabanas on embarkation day ...stuck for about 1o minutes and working on and off for balance of our cruise. This made it difficult for staff to provide all perks. Aft pool was closed majority of our 14 day cruise. As stated the weather was very windy so did not get to Halfmoon Cay, Grand Turk and Cap Cana...we instead went to Samana DR, and San Juan again. Would be nice if they changed locations of happy hour, same time and places every day. We have been to these ports before and mostly disappointed about missing HMC and Grand Turk Just nice to get away. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
Charter cruise for music fans. Delbert’s cruise is always a people pleaser. Arrived the day before cruise and stayed at Westin. Great beach location and great nearby restaurants. Ship was fine as well as the food. Friendly staff. This ... Read More
Charter cruise for music fans. Delbert’s cruise is always a people pleaser. Arrived the day before cruise and stayed at Westin. Great beach location and great nearby restaurants. Ship was fine as well as the food. Friendly staff. This cruise is like no other. Not your typical cruise. Non stop music from morning until the wee hours of the night. Our fourth time to do this cruise. Plan to return next year and will encourage friends to join us. We have done this cruise four times in the last six years. Although this is somewhat of an expensive cruise, it is worth it. The excursions to Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic were great. We especially enjoyed our time on the beach in the Dominican Republic - a 45 minute drive to Cocony Cove beach. The food and drinks were good and we did the all inclusive which was worth it. The Puerto Rico craft cocktail excursion through old town was the best. Our guide Rocio who is a native of Puerto Rico was great - along with our bartender Carlos at la factoria. Highly recommended excursion. Just be prepared to walk up hill. Lots of food and drink with this one and a good value for what you get. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Service st pinnacle grill has a lot to be desired very slow we canceled future dinner reservations and had free Neptune suite breakfasts and only went to two because of the same service problem What made this worse was HAL CEO onboard ... Read More
Service st pinnacle grill has a lot to be desired very slow we canceled future dinner reservations and had free Neptune suite breakfasts and only went to two because of the same service problem What made this worse was HAL CEO onboard and this happens. First Neptune suite and it was awesome and the concierge ladies Ari and Diane were outstanding and graciously worked things out. Lido was good as always as was the Dive in. When we left the Captain was awesome with his toots way too many that he even gave the pilot three little ones for his goodbye. Weather was awesome throughout the week. IMO Falmouth should be changed to Ocho Rios which would make it much better itinerary. The hydro pool was good but too many items breaking down for which they gave us $31 OBC still enjoyed it very relaxing Neptune suite had toilet issues and leaking pipe outside veranda area but they were fixed Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We have only sailed once before (with Princess) and were looking for a holiday cruise that wasn't overrun with kids on winter break. We love kids, but as teachers, we needed a little break ourselves! Although there were kids on ... Read More
We have only sailed once before (with Princess) and were looking for a holiday cruise that wasn't overrun with kids on winter break. We love kids, but as teachers, we needed a little break ourselves! Although there were kids on board, they weren't the focus of the cruise and seemed polite, in control, and even "cultured". We enjoyed seeing kids reading books and appropriately enjoying the entertainment. Most positive aspects of this cruise: *The food was outstanding! *The service was amazing - many attendants and servers were from Indonesia and we found them engaging, positive and hard working. We gave above and beyond our planned gratuities because we were so impressed with the people who can easily make or break a vacation. *The entertainment was clean and fun. We went to the Main Stage almost every night and enjoyed all of the shows. Billboard On Board was our favorite nightly club event and we were impressed with the performances at the small Lincoln Center Stage. A few things to improve on: *internet access... In this day and age, internet should be easily accessible, if not completely free. Without paying an entire day's fee, we couldn't even check into our flight home. Just being able to connect with our family on board was difficult as well. *The daily buffet closed at 9:30 pm with a few (old, dried out) leftovers available for the starving ones. As a diabetic, I needed access to snacks and meals on a regular basis. Room service menus were very limited and honestly, a little pathetic. It usually took an hour or more for food to arrive. It was such a contrast to the amazing dining room meals, that we were confused as to the purpose of this neglected area of service. We felt like we didn't get the memo... *Sales pushing - although they weren't as overt as Princess in pushing sales for jewelry, alcohol and future cruises, almost half of the activity offerings on the daily agenda were sales pitches. At least this time, we recognized them for what they were and could avoid them. Overall, we were pleased with our experience and would consider booking another cruise with HAL. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Love it , peaceful, quiet , relaxed , loved . Amazing food , lovely crew members , excellent manners , impecable ship, classic , in excellent shape for it age . As a handicap person using an electric scooter , I never found any person on ... Read More
Love it , peaceful, quiet , relaxed , loved . Amazing food , lovely crew members , excellent manners , impecable ship, classic , in excellent shape for it age . As a handicap person using an electric scooter , I never found any person on the elevators , my cabin SY8081 was not accesible cabin and I found a lot of space for my scooter . I recommend it . Not many places to go at night , BB king, the piano guys and the main stage But for us is more than enough . I start to realize that mid size ships are the best . The cruise director Nathan dance amazing , he has such a lovely personality who light up the room and attract younger people . All the meals were fantastic no matter where it was The lido or the main dining room . Everything was amazing , the consistency , the flavour The quality of the food . It’s hard to describe everything . You need to try by yourself .. everything was perfect . They are detail oriented . Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Great trip – Senior Citizens will love this cruise! My DH (65ys old) and I (63yrs old) boarded Holland America’s Oosterdam on December 8th, 2018 for a seven-day Western Caribbean cruise from Fort Lauderdale. This is an older ship, ... Read More
Great trip – Senior Citizens will love this cruise! My DH (65ys old) and I (63yrs old) boarded Holland America’s Oosterdam on December 8th, 2018 for a seven-day Western Caribbean cruise from Fort Lauderdale. This is an older ship, that caters to an older clientele – the average age on the ship was 75+. DH and I felt like teenagers! We only saw two or three families with young children. This cruise is perfect for the older age group. Embarkation at Port Everglades was easy and very well organized. There were a lot of people in wheelchairs and scooters, and the agents made sure they were well taken care of while boarding. Upon arrival at the terminal around noon, we were quickly registered and given a “Group Number” Boarding was done by Group number and was done very fast. This was one of the best embarkation experiences we’ve ever had. We had one carry on full of water bottles and four bottles of wine. Two of the wife bottles were taken away, we were told only one bottle per person was allowed (they were returned the night before disembarkation). Once on board we were able to go to our room immediately, which was very nice. Our luggage was delivered by 2:00 pm. Food on board was good. They do not have buffets like other ships, this is more of a Cafeteria style service, where food is served to you by an attendant as you walk down the line. They will give you a small portion, but you are welcomed to ask for more if you desire. There was not a lot of selection, but what was available was usually good. Breakfast had ommlete station, waffle station, and even an egg benedict station. There is Grill by the covered pool where you can get Hamburgers, hotdogs, etc. made to order – they’ll give you a beeper, so you can pick up food when ready. For Dinner we only used the Main Dining Room and found the service to be excellent. The open seating option was great, we rarely waited more than five minutes for a table for two. We had a balcony cabin 6121, which was a nice size. The bathtub was a nice surprise, much better than the very tiny showers in most other cruise lines. Our cabin stewards were amazing, my DH and I would make bets on how long we would be out of the cabin before we returned to a fully made up bed – I miss that at home LOL. Entertainment was scarce, but very good. They only have three venues, the BBKing Night Club, two Pianos by the Casino, and the theater. They also have a stage that offers classical music most nights. Unfortunately, most of the time only one of the venues has performances, so if you don’t like what is going on you have no choice but to stay there or go to the next venue and wait for the next presentation. Because of the demographics of the group on board, this works well most of the time, but if you want variety, you will not get it. The best think about the Oosterdam is the service. Everyone on board was efficient and very pleasant. If you are a Senior citizen with limited mobility, this is your cruise ship! If you are looking for a cruise with lots of on-board activities, or you have children, try a different line. DH and I decided we are too young for this ship, but we are perfectly willing to come back in 10 or 15 years Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This was my first cruise on HAL. I was looking for a relaxing, no stress cruise and I got it! The only reason this is a four and not five star rating is because the ship is an older one and shows some signs of wear. But beyond that, ... Read More
This was my first cruise on HAL. I was looking for a relaxing, no stress cruise and I got it! The only reason this is a four and not five star rating is because the ship is an older one and shows some signs of wear. But beyond that, everything was superior. We had a balcony room, and it was larger than what I’m accustomed to on a ship.The food was the best I’ve had on a cruise in a long time. The entertainment, especially the selections of music each night, was excellent! Best entertainment I’ve ever had on a cruise ship. The staff is consistently excellent. Very friendly and helpful, great attitudes. I am a young 64-year-old, and was initially concerned about how many elderly people were on the boat, but that too ended up being a lovely experience. It was a quieter, More peaceful cruise than I’ve been on before. One of the best parts for me was not having to watch people pile up and consume ridiculous amounts of food. These cruisers are polite, quiet, and good dinner table partners. Highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
It was a good deal on a week that worked well for us. We like HAL. The room was adequate, our room steward excellent, and the location was right smack in the middle of the ship which made it easy to get around. I went to trivia twice every ... Read More
It was a good deal on a week that worked well for us. We like HAL. The room was adequate, our room steward excellent, and the location was right smack in the middle of the ship which made it easy to get around. I went to trivia twice every day, swam in the pool every day and attended a couple of the American Test Kitchen presentations which were very good. My husband's foot was bothering him so we did not go off of the ship except for San Juan. He seemed to be ok that day so we ventured out to Starbucks to retrieve our emails and phone calls. We were unable to dance which was too bad since we love to dance. We would have liked to dance in BB King's. WE were unable to attend any of the Lincoln Center presentations as the times did not work out for us. The food was wonderful. The salad that is prepared for you according to your choice is the BEST!! I miss it already. The Pinnacle Restaurant was excellent as usual and the dining room food was really good. One night I ordered all of the desserts!!! The ice cream was good. The no sugar added desserts were also delicious. The salmon and steak were prepared properly, as was the lobster (not overcooked). The onion soup is so so, however. We found that to be the case on the Konigsdam as well. The other soups were very good. The omelets were excellent as were the Eggs Benedict which I ordered in the dining room one morning. We met some very nice people on board as we always asked to share in the dining room. The pool had enough chairs in the shade which is what we like. The pool was not too cold. The Dive is terrific. All in all, we had a really good time! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We picked this cruise because it was very inexpensive and wanted to try out Holland America. We were a bit disappointed about 1-2 weeks prior to our cruise. We received an invite to upgrade to a suite for a very decent price. However, ... Read More
We picked this cruise because it was very inexpensive and wanted to try out Holland America. We were a bit disappointed about 1-2 weeks prior to our cruise. We received an invite to upgrade to a suite for a very decent price. However, within a short time, our travel agent called in, all suites were gone. The ship itself is a bit rundown and could use some updates. It was not "state of the art" and the ambiance is a little conservative. Service was really good. I felt at times that staff were "correcting" me when I wasn't doing things exactly as they would prefer. For example, on my last day, I went to the coffee bar at 6 AM and the person there snapped at me, informing me that they wouldn't be open until 6:30. Food was great, especially the vegetarian menu. Although you have to ask for the vegetarian menu, the selections art outstanding! The entertainment was amazing, especially the Lincoln Center Stage and Billboard On Board! We went to at least 7-8 "recitals" and saw the Billboard On Board most nights before dinner. Our excursions were outstanding. We went to go see the rainforest in Puerto Rico and took tours of almost every other port except for Grand Turk. Our last day at Half Moon Cay (Holland America's private island it shares with Carnival) was outstanding. We had such a good time on a tour and then a barbecue that was free to guests. All in all, it's pretty decent for the amount we paid (approx $950 per person) for a balcony. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
2018_11 Holland America Oosterdam Caribbean cruise Our first cruise and we were excited in the weeks before but once we boarded, we were awed way beyond expectations by the ship and our cabin. Everything was fantastic ! I think our ... Read More
2018_11 Holland America Oosterdam Caribbean cruise Our first cruise and we were excited in the weeks before but once we boarded, we were awed way beyond expectations by the ship and our cabin. Everything was fantastic ! I think our Signature Suite 8055, which was way larger than we expected, was largely responsible. There was *nothing* wrong with this cabin - wonderful air conditioning around the clock, the most comfortable beds ever, 3 lockers, a shower and jet tub in the bathroom, and a generous balcony - it was fantastic and we loved every minute of it. I guess the one issue was - we were under the pool deck (I think) and there was a lot of sound from lounge chairs being setup in the morning - but it did not bother us - and I am someone who is sensitive to sound. The fitness center was fantastic - large with lots of machines and great views over the bow. I stuck to dumbbells and the Precor upright bikes which offered lots of resistance. The $20 "fill a bag" laundry service was fantastic - I thought they would just wash and fold - but they pressed - and well! Pinnacle Grill was great - beautiful decor and great food although my steak was a wee bit overcooked. Lovely service. Cannaletto - the other premium restaurant - seemed like it was just a money grab. It's merely a carved out section of the Lido Market - not a separate restaurant - and TBH I think they're serving the same food you'd get in the Market. Get a salad and a build-your-own-pasta from Lido Grill instead - there I just saved you $15. Speaking of Lido Market - we thought it was pretty good generally but there were some real misses such as the filet mignon which was quite a disappointment, and the soups which never were that good. The salad bar was great, the "build your own pasta" was great, the asian section was great. Here's the thing tho - HAL mentions "legendary service" on their website. When it comes to the eating and drinking areas, I'd call it "questionable service". We were served water/tea only about 30% of the time in the Lido Grill. The bartenders were noticeably not pleasant - not angry or anything - just sort of procedural. In the 'fancy' dining room, I watched waiters traverse back and forth by our table for 15 minutes before I raised my arms to get one to stop for a bread refill. (Apart from that, we did enjoy The Dining Room on 3 different nights including Thanksgiving dinner which was quite good). Our cabin stewards were delightful and never failed to greet us by name from the moment we boarded. If all of the mandatory daily tip went to them, I would be ok with that. We didn't attend much on-board entertainment - we were too tired by 9pm! The trivia games were fun, and the casino, tho small, was enjoyable. The lounges / bars / common areas were mostly gorgeous. The Lincoln Center venue was good, tho small, and there were only brief performances here and there. The Digital presentations were pretty good - good instructor. The "Onshore Shopping" presentation was merely a diamond sales pitch, I'm willing to bet by employees of the diamon sellers. The shops were meh. The pool areas always seemed to have chairs and pool space available. I thought they would be chock-full but they weren't. We bought the thermal suite 7-day pass for $219/couple (we paid $250 in advance but they reversed the charge to $219 altho as I think about it they may have double-charged us - need to check). Thermal pool is great but wish it was a degree or two hotter. Never crowded. We enjoyed the Thermal Suite altho we used it only 4 or 5 times so next time, maybe just pay the daily fee. Couple gripes I have with their Navigator smartphone app. Missing/Incorrect information is a pet peeve of mine, especially when it is so easy to get it right, to everyone's benefit. - it says there are no ATMs onboard. This is wrong. There is one adjacent to customer service. Which I learned after waiting in line at customer service. BTW customer service charges 3% for cash advance, the ATM is flat $6. - I had to go to Infirmary one day. Navigator says *nothing* about infirmary. Turns out, it is open only certain hours, and you have to go to the *front* of the ship to get there. Navigator offers all sorts of ways to buy dining and excursions, but zero about a possible necessity like the infirmary. Disembarkation was annoying (is it ever not?) - the printed instructions were not clear - and we did not appreciate seeing a HAL employee bark at everyone, roll his eyes and shake his head at guests (who were paying his salary), when they failed to follow the routine, quite likely due to the poor/incomplete printed instructions. 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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