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Background Information: Gay Male couple 40 and 50, professional and executive. 50th birthday celebration-- 2nd sailing on Holland America 4 cruises in 18 months. We enjoy cruising very much and found that Holland America is typically a good value for the price point. If you're looking for 5-star accommodations, food and entertainment, you'll have to pay for it. This is an affordable enjoyable line with a very friendly and efficient staff who try to do their best. Travel To Port of Embarkation: Dallas Fort Worth International to San Diego Stateroom: 8095- We typically sail in this category or the one just below it. The cabins for the most part are comfortable and spacious for a ship and the verandas on this ship are fairly large for the cabin size. That's where the positive ends. This is the "Bacon/Sauerkraut" cabin. It has a direct vent to the kitchen and many times the air flow is such that when you wake up in the morning you think that breakfast has been set in front of you-- but at 4 a. m. when they begin preparing it. Remember what I said previously-- this ship is staffed with very friendly and efficient staff that will do everything to appease you if they can. Unfortunately-- we arrived home with luggage, clothes and ourselves wreaking of food odors. They were unable to abate the problem. Their idea of compensation however, was to offer us dinner at the Pinnacle Grill their upscale dining room. Did I mention that we already smelled like food--? Ship Info: The ship is in okay condition-- Unfortunately, on the larger ships when they are on short turnarounds things break down. The Oosterdam is a relatively young Vista Class ship and the thermos spa was in disrepair and minor things like that. Overall the ship is not as "Glitzy" as a Celebrity cruise Millennium class but it still has all of the same amenities. The ship is kept impeccably clean any time of the day or night there is someone cleaning something. We don't think we found a place that wasn't kept immaculate at any hour of the day. Dining: It is always miraculous how many meals can be served without insult or injury. If you're looking for an exotic menu-- this isn't the ship for you. The cuisine is average catering hall fare with a nice presentation. What makes it more acceptable is the fact that the staff serves it with pride and makes you feel as one of these 6,000 plates was especially made for you. If you're looking for lobster shooters with caviar and vodka-- this is NOT the line for you. We typically enjoy the food on this line. Gone are the days of ordering "off" the menu though-- so if there's nothing on the menu that you want-- you can call room service and get something else or try to get into the Pinnacle. Activities: Unlike many of the onboard revenue schemes that are on most lines Holland America does a good job keeping it contained so that you don't feel like you're being nickeled and dimed for everything once on-board. Many of the activities are free and those that aren't are very affordable and make sense to pay for. Service: The staff on the Oosterdam and the Westerdam we find to be more friendly then their counterparts on Celebrity-- Our ideal cruise line would take the food and the ships of Celebrity and the staff from Holland America. The staff are not intrusive and do their best to assist you any way that they can. Often times they are bound by the corporate office in what capacity they can assist. In our case their offer of compensation was to put us in a lesser room and comp a meal. I am typically very brand loyal and will avoid a company if I feel that I've been slighted. American Airlines has now lost over 149,000 in revenue from me not flying their airline for the last decade-- and this is their hub. I will do anything to avoid them. Do they care? Probably not. But, I spend my dollars where I'm treated fairly and with dignity. Entertainment: If you cruise regularly-- the entertainment is what it is. If you're used to Broadway or Vegas type entertainment this is it's cheapest cousin Minnie Pearl! The shows on Holland America run typically from 3 to 5 years before they're changed and so what's on one ocean-liner is the same on all of them with in the line. They have a group of young talent who typically do the best with what they've got. They often hang out at the disco off of the casino and are great to talk to after the show. Again if you're looking for Broadway or Vegas-- Go there-- if not then enjoy. It's amazing to see what they're able to produce on probably a community theatre's budget and amusement park talent. They do okay. If you're looking for the next Streisand-- not gonna happen. Shore Excursions: Like all cruise lines these are designed mostly for the over 60 set or the 9-11 set. However, Holland America does have some gems mixed in there that are well worth the money to take. Swimming with the Dolphins-- although it says "it's a life changing experience" it's more of a memory with pictures that no one should be without. It was great fun and one of the more active excursions. We like to take the Kayak tour and the mountain biking tours. These are made for weekend warriors like ourselves and we find them just enough exertion to make us feel like we've earned the prime rib we're about to eat for dinner. If you get to Cast Away Cay-- GO! It's a beach that only the Walt Disney Company could replicate. Great service, white sand, and swimming with horses! Great fun. Disembarkation: Easy and unrushed. Holland America triumphs over Celebrity in people moving. This is an art form and Holland America could use a little polishing here-- but when you think of the number of passengers-- This is well orchestrated. Summary: If you're looking for top of the line marble bathrooms, and white glove service-- this isn't the line for you. Cruising has become more relaxed-- and as far as bad puns go-- that ship has sailed. If you're looking for an affordable, relaxing vacation with a wide range of middle class folks from the US-- this is your cruise.

Oosterdam - Mexican Riviera

Oosterdam Cruise Review by cjc56001

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: April 2005
  • Destination: Mexican Riviera
  • Cabin Type: Signature Superior Verandah Suite
Background Information: Gay Male couple 40 and 50, professional and executive. 50th birthday celebration-- 2nd sailing on Holland America 4 cruises in 18 months. We enjoy cruising very much and found that Holland America is typically a good value for the price point. If you're looking for 5-star accommodations, food and entertainment, you'll have to pay for it. This is an affordable enjoyable line with a very friendly and efficient staff who try to do their best.
Travel To Port of Embarkation: Dallas Fort Worth International to San Diego
Stateroom: 8095- We typically sail in this category or the one just below it. The cabins for the most part are comfortable and spacious for a ship and the verandas on this ship are fairly large for the cabin size.
That's where the positive ends. This is the "Bacon/Sauerkraut" cabin. It has a direct vent to the kitchen and many times the air flow is such that when you wake up in the morning you think that breakfast has been set in front of you-- but at 4 a. m. when they begin preparing it. Remember what I said previously-- this ship is staffed with very friendly and efficient staff that will do everything to appease you if they can. Unfortunately-- we arrived home with luggage, clothes and ourselves wreaking of food odors. They were unable to abate the problem. Their idea of compensation however, was to offer us dinner at the Pinnacle Grill their upscale dining room. Did I mention that we already smelled like food--? Ship Info: The ship is in okay condition-- Unfortunately, on the larger ships when they are on short turnarounds things break down. The Oosterdam is a relatively young Vista Class ship and the thermos spa was in disrepair and minor things like that.
Overall the ship is not as "Glitzy" as a Celebrity cruise Millennium class but it still has all of the same amenities. The ship is kept impeccably clean any time of the day or night there is someone cleaning something. We don't think we found a place that wasn't kept immaculate at any hour of the day.
Dining: It is always miraculous how many meals can be served without insult or injury. If you're looking for an exotic menu-- this isn't the ship for you. The cuisine is average catering hall fare with a nice presentation. What makes it more acceptable is the fact that the staff serves it with pride and makes you feel as one of these 6,000 plates was especially made for you. If you're looking for lobster shooters with caviar and vodka-- this is NOT the line for you. We typically enjoy the food on this line. Gone are the days of ordering "off" the menu though-- so if there's nothing on the menu that you want-- you can call room service and get something else or try to get into the Pinnacle.
Activities: Unlike many of the onboard revenue schemes that are on most lines Holland America does a good job keeping it contained so that you don't feel like you're being nickeled and dimed for everything once on-board. Many of the activities are free and those that aren't are very affordable and make sense to pay for.
Service: The staff on the Oosterdam and the Westerdam we find to be more friendly then their counterparts on Celebrity-- Our ideal cruise line would take the food and the ships of Celebrity and the staff from Holland America. The staff are not intrusive and do their best to assist you any way that they can. Often times they are bound by the corporate office in what capacity they can assist. In our case their offer of compensation was to put us in a lesser room and comp a meal. I am typically very brand loyal and will avoid a company if I feel that I've been slighted. American Airlines has now lost over 149,000 in revenue from me not flying their airline for the last decade-- and this is their hub. I will do anything to avoid them. Do they care? Probably not. But, I spend my dollars where I'm treated fairly and with dignity.
Entertainment: If you cruise regularly-- the entertainment is what it is. If you're used to Broadway or Vegas type entertainment this is it's cheapest cousin Minnie Pearl! The shows on Holland America run typically from 3 to 5 years before they're changed and so what's on one ocean-liner is the same on all of them with in the line. They have a group of young talent who typically do the best with what they've got. They often hang out at the disco off of the casino and are great to talk to after the show. Again if you're looking for Broadway or Vegas-- Go there-- if not then enjoy. It's amazing to see what they're able to produce on probably a community theatre's budget and amusement park talent. They do okay. If you're looking for the next Streisand-- not gonna happen.
Shore Excursions: Like all cruise lines these are designed mostly for the over 60 set or the 9-11 set. However, Holland America does have some gems mixed in there that are well worth the money to take. Swimming with the Dolphins-- although it says "it's a life changing experience" it's more of a memory with pictures that no one should be without. It was great fun and one of the more active excursions. We like to take the Kayak tour and the mountain biking tours. These are made for weekend warriors like ourselves and we find them just enough exertion to make us feel like we've earned the prime rib we're about to eat for dinner. If you get to Cast Away Cay-- GO! It's a beach that only the Walt Disney Company could replicate. Great service, white sand, and swimming with horses! Great fun. Disembarkation: Easy and unrushed. Holland America triumphs over Celebrity in people moving. This is an art form and Holland America could use a little polishing here-- but when you think of the number of passengers-- This is well orchestrated.
Summary: If you're looking for top of the line marble bathrooms, and white glove service-- this isn't the line for you. Cruising has become more relaxed-- and as far as bad puns go-- that ship has sailed. If you're looking for an affordable, relaxing vacation with a wide range of middle class folks from the US-- this is your cruise.
cjc56001’s Full Rating Summary
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