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This was my first (and last) cruise. It's my own fault, I suppose, that I was ill-prepared for the experience. Somehow I imagined the salt spray in my face, the smell of the sea and so on. We stayed overnight in San Diego the night before embarkation to ensure an early arrival. By 11:30 a.m. we were being quickly moved through an enormous room, credit card info and photos taken and my first glimpse of cruise life, being "nickel-and-dimed" to death. Before even boarding we were induced to spend $20 to buy a "soft drink card". I had not expected to be charged for sodas, bottled water and so on, being used to Club Med type inclusive vacations. We sprang for a veranda room at the very back of the ship. This was about the only fresh air available, (or would have been if every gentleman in all the surrounding staterooms had not been on Their verandas day and night puffing on Cuban cigars.) This is not Holland America's fault, of course. What WAS their fault was having our verandah soaked with filthy water being hosed down from the Lido deck three times in 6 days; the first time at 3:00 a.m., the second time as we stepped outside in our formal diner attire at 7 pm, and the third time 12 hours later, at 7:00 a.m. Yes, we complained each time and were given a plate of chocolate covered strawberries in recompense. Of course, each time it happened, the steward had to come in, remove all the soaking furniture cushions, mop down the verandah and replace wet towels (we stopped leaving books and swimsuits outside). The ship is beautiful, the service is perfect. But if you haven't cruised before, and thought a trip to the Mexican Riviera would in any way resemble being on the Mexican Riviera, think again. A cruise ship is a hermetically-sealed 10 story floating hotel. Every hallway is packed with people, standing sideways to let others pass. The Lido deck's sliding roof is usually closed, making it hot and stuffy. The adults only pool outside is so windy I hardly ever saw anyone in it. Unless you enjoy casinos, dressing up for dinner, cheesy entertainment and being herded like pampered cattle from one excursion bus to the next, you probably won't enjoy being on a cruise. The only thing that lets you know you are on the ocean was the neverending rolling from side to side. We finally stopped being nauseated about 4 days into the trip. Also, it was disconcerting to find out that many of the employees earn no salary, but rely on tips for their income, and on "Perfect" guest evaluations for a day off. All in all, I'll pick a resort by the sea under a palm tree for my next Mexico vacation.

Oosterdam - Mexican Riviera

Oosterdam Cruise Review by Marianne

Trip Details
This was my first (and last) cruise. It's my own fault, I suppose, that I was ill-prepared for the experience. Somehow I imagined the salt spray in my face, the smell of the sea and so on.
We stayed overnight in San Diego the night before embarkation to ensure an early arrival. By 11:30 a.m. we were being quickly moved through an enormous room, credit card info and photos taken and my first glimpse of cruise life, being "nickel-and-dimed" to death. Before even boarding we were induced to spend $20 to buy a "soft drink card". I had not expected to be charged for sodas, bottled water and so on, being used to Club Med type inclusive vacations.
We sprang for a veranda room at the very back of the ship. This was about the only fresh air available, (or would have been if every gentleman in all the surrounding staterooms had not been on Their verandas day and night puffing on Cuban cigars.) This is not Holland America's fault, of course. What WAS their fault was having our verandah soaked with filthy water being hosed down from the Lido deck three times in 6 days; the first time at 3:00 a.m., the second time as we stepped outside in our formal diner attire at 7 pm, and the third time 12 hours later, at 7:00 a.m. Yes, we complained each time and were given a plate of chocolate covered strawberries in recompense. Of course, each time it happened, the steward had to come in, remove all the soaking furniture cushions, mop down the verandah and replace wet towels (we stopped leaving books and swimsuits outside). The ship is beautiful, the service is perfect. But if you haven't cruised before, and thought a trip to the Mexican Riviera would in any way resemble being on the Mexican Riviera, think again. A cruise ship is a hermetically-sealed 10 story floating hotel. Every hallway is packed with people, standing sideways to let others pass. The Lido deck's sliding roof is usually closed, making it hot and stuffy. The adults only pool outside is so windy I hardly ever saw anyone in it. Unless you enjoy casinos, dressing up for dinner, cheesy entertainment and being herded like pampered cattle from one excursion bus to the next, you probably won't enjoy being on a cruise.
The only thing that lets you know you are on the ocean was the neverending rolling from side to side. We finally stopped being nauseated about 4 days into the trip.
Also, it was disconcerting to find out that many of the employees earn no salary, but rely on tips for their income, and on "Perfect" guest evaluations for a day off.
All in all, I'll pick a resort by the sea under a palm tree for my next Mexico vacation.
Marianne’s Full Rating Summary
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