Oosterdam Cruise Review by mandapanda12
- Sail Date: July 2006
- Destination: Alaska
- Cabin Type: Signature Superior Verandah Suite
EMBARKATION: We arrived in the port of Seattle and were happy that there were no lines. I was traveling with my dad (50), great aunt (84) and grandmother (81). One tip for future HAL traveling, fill out your immigration form online or before you get to the port because you DO have to fill it out before you go up to the desk. (Something we did not do). We got there at about 11:15 and they were actually not allowing people to get on yet. There weren't a lot of people there anyway (maybe 70?) and they said the wait wouldn't be much longer.
SHIP INFO: The ship--even with being 900 ft. long and with 1800 people--seems rather small when you are on it. The Promenade and Upper Promenade deck can get very confusing but you can find your way easily. The elevators were very slow on our ship and I usually ended up running up 8 flights of stairs instead. The ship has 2 pools, one is really an "adult only" pool but I still saw kids in it. The pool with the closing roof really helped especially in Alaska where it was raining everywhere except for Ketchikan.
DINING: The Vista Dining room is a very lovely atmosphere and the lower ceilings made it seem like a smaller room. We were in the very back on the first floor, and we had a window looking out at the stern of the ship. Gorgeous place to eat meals. The Lido Restaurant has anything and everything and the crew working there is very friendly. The morning breakfast rush could get congested but once you found your table and started eating, it died down. I have eaten in the Pinnacle Grill once before, not on this ship (though my family did) and they enjoyed it extremely. It's a very nice restaurant with good, fast service and great food.
activities: I will confess, I'm a Bingo dork. I've won 5 times on 4 different cruises so I've had my share of luck. But I always love to play. The Bingo with Everett (senior assistant cruise director) and Stephanie (cruise activities staff) was VERY enjoyable and fun. (Sadly, I didn't win anything). The daily program did really have choices for anyone and I was never bored without something to do. The cruise activities staff were all very nice and lovely to talk too.
SERVICE: I've been on a lot of high-end cruise ships where the service was a little more then outstanding. Like where the waiter will carry your tray every single step of the way during the buffet...I love that but sometimes you just want to do it yourself. The men who worked in the Lido would help you if you needed it and that is just enough for me. The room steward that we had was exceptional and did his work very fast. Our dining room waiter was very nice at recommending and making exceptions. All of the Filipino/Indonesian crew were always smiling and they would always want to please you. Service was very good.
SHORE EXCURSIONS: We did not take any shore excursions on this cruise but I will tell you about the ports of call.
First was Juneau...rainy Juneau...I'd been there before and it didn't blow me away. It had some very nice shops and of course we went to the Red Dog Saloon. It was still a very nice town. After Juneau, we cruised by Hubbard Glacier. That was absolutely gorgeous...we got 3/4 of a mile away from it (which sounds like a lot but it really isn't) and saw eagles, otters, and bears all from the ship. They opened all of the forward decks of the cabins (which are usually closed) so you could see it from about everywhere. Next was Sitka. I had never been their before but it was really boring. There were 3 other cruise ships that day but it still wasn't very crowded. Very cold, very wet, and nothing exciting. After Sitka was Ketchikan. I was there 3 years ago on 4th of July during a parade which stole a little of the atmosphere of the town. It was probably the best port that we went to in Alaska, only because it was a clean town, good shops, and nice people. We left Ketchikan early and so we had a long day at sea for the rest of that day and the next night ( 6 PM) we arrived in Victoria, B.C. We didn't have time, energy, or mood to do really anything so we went out to dinner at an Italian restaurant in an alley, about a 7 minute cab ride from the Empress hotel. (The ship provided shuttles to the hotel so that you were more in town).
STATEROOM: My mom was our travel agent and guaranteed us a verandah room. Little did we know until we had arrived at the embarkation counter, that she had upgraded us to a suite! It was very exciting and the extra room really helped. (I shared a room with my dad). The balcony was large and the bathroom space was a lot better. We had a separate shower and bath, something you wouldn't get in a verandah cabin. Their wasn't a lot of closet space however, but that didn't matter too much.
CHILDRENS CLUB: Kids/Tweens: I knew there were many kids onboard but I didn't see too many of them running around like mad. The kids counselors did a GREAT job keeping them entertained and having fun.
Teens: The last time I was on the Oosterdam (in April, to Mexico) I went with my best friend. We went to the information meeting the first night but she wanted to leave, so I went with her. I never went back so I was hoping at this cruise that I would make some friends and go to it a lot. I was wrong. The group of kids weren't extremely welcoming and the counselor wasn't good at getting the group to do something.
ENTERTAINMENT: I'm a theatre buff so I always enjoy the broadway shows. They were the same ones I had seen in April but i still LOVED them. "Rockin' Road" is a different type of show but "Escape" is by far my favorite show. I love the music in it. It's like a tropical show in Margaritaville. Very, very good. The stage is very cool as it has many different elevations and the lighting was great...as were the costumes. The first night they had a comedian and he was very funny but the second night, were these 2 guys who were jugglers/comedians. ABSOLOUTLY AMAZING. They had amazing talent and were very funny. The next night was a Neil Diamond fan that did his tribute and I heard nothing about it. (I didn't go but I stood outside listening...I wasn't that impressed.) They also had a ventriloquist who was apparently exceptional but I didn't go to that either. Oosterdam Superstar (karaoke competition) was one of my favorite things from the last cruise. They made it very, very funny and enjoyable. The Newlywed-Not-So-Newlywed Game was a big hit as it was last time. They picked 3 couples and asked them questions (just like the TV show) and the outcome was hilarious. The whole entertainment crew were amazing. The cast was delightful to talk to as you would run into them in the elevators or public rooms. The cruise activities staff was still exceptional and the cruise director, Jimmy Lynett was sensational. He did so much and made the cruise so much more fun just with his personality.
DISEMBARKATION: This process went very smoothly and started at about 8:00 AM I believe. A nice thing was them allowing us to stay in our rooms until we had to leave. We got off at about 10:30 as they wanted everyone off by 11:00.
OVERALL: My second time on this ship was still an amazing experience. I defiantly would like to go back on this ship again as it met my expectations on just about everything. This was my 10th cruise, my 3rd on HAL, and my 2nd time on the Oosterdam. I was still impressed as I was the first time (when we went to Mexico) but I had higher expectations then last time on the things that I didn't like.
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