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I was 52 and my wife 37 while our son was 22 months when we sailed the week after Thanksgiving. The Oosterdam is not a ship for parents traveling with toddlers. One example sums it up - the gift shop sells diapers for incontinent adults but none for children. HAL charges fees for children but provides little for it. Waiting 30 minutes in the Lido casual restaurant while they sent someone seven decks below to look for a highchair in a week when they only had 17 children onboard is another example of how HAL has not recognized that they must provide services for children if they are going to solicit families to travel with them. EMBARKATION : The boarding process was smooth, efficient and a model for other cruiselines to emulate. Unfortunately, once onboard, we had to wait until 1:45 pm to gain access to our stateroom. In the interim, we were crowded into the Lido casual restaurant where there were not enough seats because passengers used them for carry-on luggage rather than checking it. The HAL staff did nothing to help. CABIN : Our cabin was an oversized suite of almost 400 square feet. The bathroom had a tub and shower as well as lots of storage. The stateroom itself was well organized. The balcony, at almost 70 square feet was perfect. Unfortunately, our steward was a disaster who substantially detracted from our experience during our cruise. Only one champagne glass at sailing despite the presence of two champagne bottles on ice that had been delivered by HAL staff. It took a visit to the front desk and several reminders to the steward before this situation was remedied. The steward also failed to make the sofa bed on two of the seven nights despite knowing that there were three people in the room and having been requested to make the bed. He also failed to deliver breakfast room service order forms on several says. It also took several attempts to get laundry bags and order forms. In addition, we were one deck below the casual restaurant and were awakened at ^:#) am every morning by the sounds of crew members dropping off glassware at serving station. He was so bad that we spoke with the hotel manager on the third day and conditions did not materially improve with the steward. RESTAURANTS: The Pinnacle Grill is worth the surcharge - we dined there twice during the cruise. Excellent food and wonderful service. The beef entrees and the seafood appetizers were best in our opinion. We had babysitters with our son on both nights which gave us some valued time together. The main dining room was good at breakfast but less so at dinner. Despite requesting a large table of eight, we were isolated from other guests at a table for four. We had to wave to get served. The wine steward was excellent. The waitstaff less so. After we met with the hotel manager, the dining room service improved significantly. ENTERTAINMENT: The energy and skill of the entertainment staff was excellent. Every show was well performed with wonderful use of the space and scenery. SPA SERVICES: My wife really loved the Swedish massage , facial and Frangipani Scalp Massage at the spa. The personnel were very friendly and capable. As a young mother at home with a child, she really deserved some private time and pampering that is not available as often as deserved at. The Steiner spa service did not disappoint. GIFT SHOPS: The staff was very helpful and we purchased about $700 in gold jewelry onboard. The selection of merchandise was very good, although some items disappeared from view from day to day. PORTS: We were very disappointed that they dropped Key West from the itinerary without prior notice to us or our travel agent. In fairness, Grand Cayman had been the scheduled port prior to the hurricane damage, burt that was not the case when we booked about a month prior to the cruise. Grand Cayman had five ships that day and was overwhelmed by the number of tenders. It took over 20 minutes to get ashore after we boarded the tenders for what should have been a five minute journey of a few hundred yards. It was also overwhelmed ashore. Ocho Rios was very enjoyable - we had been to Jamaica previously and enjoyed returning to an island that welcomes tourists with warm hearts and open hands. A garden tour, some shopping in town and wonderful jerk chicken and pork at an open air restaurant filled our day nicely. Cozumel was a delight. My wife and I had met in Mexico and it was a nostalgic return. The lunch at Pancho's Backyard in town ( not the one at the port) provided great Margaritas and authentic, freshly prepared food with the accompaniment of three musician/singers. HAL's private island - Half Moon Cay was also very pleasant for a day at the beach. DISEMBARKATION: Allowing guests to remain in their cabins until time to disembark was very convenient and enjoyable. If they had not destroyed one piece of luggage, it would have been a success. Unfortunately, there was no one present to settle the claim on the spot. Ultimately, HAL paid me for the bag less their calculation of depreciation. POST-CRUISE and HAL: Given our dissatisfaction with the steward and dining room staff , we requested HAL to refund part of our fare. HAL steadfastly refused to do so even though both the hotel manager and HAL acknowledged that they had not lived up to their own customer standards. Not even an offer of a credit toward a future cruise. We will try many other cruiselines before returning to HAL. They year before, our experience aboard Royal Caribbean's Adventurer of the Seas was far better - even with our then even younger infant along for the ride.

Oosterdam - Western Caribbean

Oosterdam Cruise Review by John Flood

Trip Details
I was 52 and my wife 37 while our son was 22 months when we sailed the week after Thanksgiving. The Oosterdam is not a ship for parents traveling with toddlers. One example sums it up - the gift shop sells diapers for incontinent adults but none for children. HAL charges fees for children but provides little for it. Waiting 30 minutes in the Lido casual restaurant while they sent someone seven decks below to look for a highchair in a week when they only had 17 children onboard is another example of how HAL has not recognized that they must provide services for children if they are going to solicit families to travel with them.
EMBARKATION : The boarding process was smooth, efficient and a model for other cruiselines to emulate. Unfortunately, once onboard, we had to wait until 1:45 pm to gain access to our stateroom. In the interim, we were crowded into the Lido casual restaurant where there were not enough seats because passengers used them for carry-on luggage rather than checking it. The HAL staff did nothing to help.
CABIN : Our cabin was an oversized suite of almost 400 square feet. The bathroom had a tub and shower as well as lots of storage. The stateroom itself was well organized. The balcony, at almost 70 square feet was perfect. Unfortunately, our steward was a disaster who substantially detracted from our experience during our cruise. Only one champagne glass at sailing despite the presence of two champagne bottles on ice that had been delivered by HAL staff. It took a visit to the front desk and several reminders to the steward before this situation was remedied. The steward also failed to make the sofa bed on two of the seven nights despite knowing that there were three people in the room and having been requested to make the bed. He also failed to deliver breakfast room service order forms on several says. It also took several attempts to get laundry bags and order forms. In addition, we were one deck below the casual restaurant and were awakened at ^:#) am every morning by the sounds of crew members dropping off glassware at serving station. He was so bad that we spoke with the hotel manager on the third day and conditions did not materially improve with the steward.
RESTAURANTS: The Pinnacle Grill is worth the surcharge - we dined there twice during the cruise. Excellent food and wonderful service. The beef entrees and the seafood appetizers were best in our opinion. We had babysitters with our son on both nights which gave us some valued time together. The main dining room was good at breakfast but less so at dinner. Despite requesting a large table of eight, we were isolated from other guests at a table for four. We had to wave to get served. The wine steward was excellent. The waitstaff less so. After we met with the hotel manager, the dining room service improved significantly.
ENTERTAINMENT: The energy and skill of the entertainment staff was excellent. Every show was well performed with wonderful use of the space and scenery. SPA
SERVICES: My wife really loved the Swedish massage , facial and Frangipani Scalp Massage at the spa. The personnel were very friendly and capable. As a young mother at home with a child, she really deserved some private time and pampering that is not available as often as deserved at. The Steiner spa service did not disappoint.
GIFT SHOPS: The staff was very helpful and we purchased about $700 in gold jewelry onboard. The selection of merchandise was very good, although some items disappeared from view from day to day.
PORTS: We were very disappointed that they dropped Key West from the itinerary without prior notice to us or our travel agent. In fairness, Grand Cayman had been the scheduled port prior to the hurricane damage, burt that was not the case when we booked about a month prior to the cruise. Grand Cayman had five ships that day and was overwhelmed by the number of tenders. It took over 20 minutes to get ashore after we boarded the tenders for what should have been a five minute journey of a few hundred yards. It was also overwhelmed ashore. Ocho Rios was very enjoyable - we had been to Jamaica previously and enjoyed returning to an island that welcomes tourists with warm hearts and open hands. A garden tour, some shopping in town and wonderful jerk chicken and pork at an open air restaurant filled our day nicely. Cozumel was a delight. My wife and I had met in Mexico and it was a nostalgic return. The lunch at Pancho's Backyard in town ( not the one at the port) provided great Margaritas and authentic, freshly prepared food with the accompaniment of three musician/singers. HAL's private island - Half Moon Cay was also very pleasant for a day at the beach.
DISEMBARKATION: Allowing guests to remain in their cabins until time to disembark was very convenient and enjoyable. If they had not destroyed one piece of luggage, it would have been a success. Unfortunately, there was no one present to settle the claim on the spot. Ultimately, HAL paid me for the bag less their calculation of depreciation.
POST-CRUISE and HAL: Given our dissatisfaction with the steward and dining room staff , we requested HAL to refund part of our fare. HAL steadfastly refused to do so even though both the hotel manager and HAL acknowledged that they had not lived up to their own customer standards. Not even an offer of a credit toward a future cruise. We will try many other cruiselines before returning to HAL. They year before, our experience aboard Royal Caribbean's Adventurer of the Seas was far better - even with our then even younger infant along for the ride.
John Flood’s Full Rating Summary
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